Hello, hello! I am very pleased to be bringing you an interview with my good friend, Sam. I really like his name for some reason. A talented artist, a cat dad, and an all around upstanding guy, I’ll have his Instagram account linked at the end of this post.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Sam Taylor and I’m from Annapolis, Maryland.
What type of crafts or art forms do you do?
I like to create things from paper. Thus far I have endeavored to make photo-realistic crepe paper flowers and plants, houses and villages made out of paper, and I have just started experimenting with cards and tags.
What do you enjoy most about making things with paper?
I like being at a point in life where it is both fun and challenging to learn new skills. I like that I can choose what I want to do based on my whims alone.
How did you get started with paper crafting?
About 1.5 years ago I saw some photos of well made crepe paper flowers. Something about it resonated with me and I embarked on a new learning “journey”.
Have you always been creative?
Yes. I used to paint rocks with my sister when we were little and sell them to my parents. I guess that means that I have always wanted to be a well compensated artist!
After going to college to be a 3D animator I then went on to work as one for a long time. However it was only recently that I came to the realization that although I had always worked creatively as part of my job it had never been for pleasure.
It is so nice to finally be able to create things just because I want to make them; either for myself or for someone that will enjoy receiving something that I have made.
Card making is considered by some to be a hobby in which only females participate. Have you ever experienced any judgement or discrimination based on this outdated stereotype?
It appears to be a statistical truth. The vast majority of card and journal crafters and makers I have encountered are women and this is similar to the crepe paper flower making industry. That does not bother me at all. As a straight guy with a girlfriend who also appreciates the things I make I certainly get the occasional side-eye when I pop into Michaels. Especially when I try to make small talk in the ink aisle.
However, I do think that crafting and making is becoming more mixed as new technologies emerge. I think that there will always be card makers, knitters, and woodworkers but we are creating a new mutation of the traditional crafter or artisan; the makers who embrace a much wider variety of tools and mediums to create cool stuff regardless of genre.
What has been the highlight of your paper crafting journey thus far?
It has been exciting to see all of the amazing tools that can be used to make things with paper. The highlight for me is seeing the flowers, cards, and houses that I have made for family members and friends bring them actual happiness. They overwhelm me with accolades and while I act embarrassed I totally eat it up! I love challenging peoples’ expectations of me and then exceeding them.
What changes, if any, would you like to see happen in the paper crafting industry?
Here is my geek out moment. I love new tools and toys. The tried and true gadgets are always appreciated but I also love seeing new equipment come out that lets me do things I had no idea I even wanted to do.
I had never made a crafty item for real until 1.5 years ago. I started with crepe paper flowers and then fell into “mixed media”, cards, and other paper art from there. There is so much stuff out there for makers to learn and discover that it was overwhelming at first.
I found websites like Lia Griffith’s that made getting into the world of making things much more manageable. I really did not know anything. The ability to see something I thought was cool and wanted to make along with what I needed, why I needed it, and where to get it was very helpful.
I also liked the fact that the videos to show you how to do it were there and that most of the time there was a written guide paired with the video which was vital. The videos also tended to be concise and well edited which is important because a lot of the “making” videos I have seen tend to be unnecessarily long.
Then I discovered Tim Holtz and his product lines. First, they work incredibly well. The real joy here is that in an industry that seems to focus on the next great thing for about ten minutes before moving onto the next, the Tim Holtz line of tools is meant to work with the other products in the line. The biggest piece for me though, is that Tim Holtz does a thorough job of explaining what the tool does and how it can be used with other tools to create something new. I have watched a plethora of his videos and I wish this level of explanation existed in every aspect of the makerverse!
Knowing how things were made, what they are made of, and how they interact is huge. You then can go out and either mimic the amazing things he and his designers have demonstrated or, having the foundation laid, go on to try all sorts of experiments on your own.
I hope that more companies realize that a solid base of product instruction mixed with making products meant to grow and evolve is a better path forward. I also hope to see more of the new breed of maker tools start bridging the gap into the traditional craft arenas; things like 3D printers and laser cutters.
What changes, if any, would you like to see happen in the paper crafting community?
I think it always helps when people openly discuss their crafting experiences and share those experiences with others; through asking and answering questions via social media, etc. I think that that sharing of information is the biggest factor in growing as an artisan.
There are very few truly original ideas. Imitating something you have seen and making it your own is totally cool as it is how we learn and grow. Giving credit where it is due is important, but I have encountered very few times that sharing and communicating with your peers does not help you learn.
What is the best thing about being a male paper crafter? What is the most challenging?
The best: serious upper body strength and a complete lack of being afraid to make a fool out of myself when something I’m doing fails spectacularly. The worst: fingers like little sausages. (😆)
In all seriousness though, as a male in a female-dominated industry, it can be a real challenge to have “crafter pals” to meet up with, to make things with, and to talk shop with. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to make the acquaintance of a lot of really talented people online.
Sam, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and am so proud to call you my friend. You are creative, bright, and have such an infectious passion for all things paper crafting. Chatting with you regularly inspires me to go and try a new technique or just create something in general. Keep being awesome.
You can find Sam on Instagram. You will not want to miss all the amazing things he’s created and all the things he’s going to make in the future.
Until next time,