Nancy Fisher is a genius with paper goods. She hand crafts greeting cards and other paper creations which she sells via her etsy shop Nouveau Nancy. She infuses her cards with her passion for Art Nouveau style. I’ll be honest–until I saw Nancy’s work, I had no idea greeting cards could be so beautiful (shame on me!). She’s a gifted crafter and I’m delighted to host her on Gypsy Mind.
Out of which city/state/country do you work and live?
I live and work in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with a yard full of flowers for one half of the year and snow the other half. (Some of my garden beauties show up as props in my card photos!)
Have you been formally trained as an artist? (If so, where, and which degrees do you have?)
I’m not formally trained, but I was fortunate to grow up in a home with creative parents and constant access to fabric, paint, paper, and anything else I felt inspired to create things with. I actually have a degree in Textile Science (all about fibers, fabrics, and finishes), but I’ve never been employed in the field.
Have you always loved making things? What do you love most about it?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making things. I love the process–finding inspiration, solving problems, trying new things, handling and combining the materials, and getting lost in the moment. AND I love the products (most of the time anyway!) and the sense of “Wow, I made that!”
For a couple of years I made model quilts for a national quilting publication. I discovered that following directions and doing something exactly the way they wanted me to was NOT the kind of “making things” that I loved. That made me realize how important the process piece is for me. If I’m not making it up as I go along, it really isn’t fun. I cook the same way, never following a recipe exactly!
How did you embark upon a career as a crafter? Do you have a “day job” too?
A few years ago, changes in my family’s life led me to want to 1) find a way to make my craft “habit” at least self-supporting and 2) re-invent myself. That’s one of the layers behind my Etsy shop name, “Nouveau Nancy,” and my screen name “NewNanc.” In addition to giving my love of Art Nouveau design a nod, this venture represented the “new” me, or at least one of the paths to take me there.
I’ve had a part-time day job all along as a technology paraprofessional in an elementary school. It’s been the perfect balance of getting out and being with people and then getting to come home and create. That job sadly ended in June, so I’m trying to figure out what’s next in my employment journey.
What do you love about Art Nouveau? And, may I ask the same for Jane Austen?
I was lucky enough to get to live in Brussels, Belgium from 2004-2006. I absolutely fell in love with the Art Nouveau art and architecture I saw in Belgium and France, and went to every exhibit, house, and gallery I could while I was there. I love the fluidity, the grace, the Asian influence, the ties to nature and history, the color palette, etc., etc. And I have to admit I like the fact that so many of the women were painted with red hair!
My appreciation for Jane Austen is relatively recent. I adore the fact that even though her characters can be in an absolute muddle mid-book, I know that by the time I reach the last page, everything will be worked out. Her women, faced with the constraints of their time and place, live life with passion and compassion. I love getting lost in their world–a bit of escapism to be sure. And now, as I work with her words to create cards and other paper items, I find myself smiling as I see the name of a character or a bit of a story pass by.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Layered. Not just in the sense that I layer elements in my collages, but that I work hard at using elements with layers of meaning. I also want whatever I create to bring some positive energy into the world–to delight, encourage, and support.
Much of your work is a combination of vintage elements, different papers, and stamping — how do you decide which elements work well together and work them into a particular design?
That’s back to the process piece… I have so much fun pulling things together. A lot of it is trial and error, but I love that moment of finding the absolutely perfect paper or bit of ephemera within my collection. I went to a quilt class once where the teacher told us that not all of the fabrics in a quilt have to “match,” but that each fabric needs “someone to talk to at the dinner party.” I’m often thinking of that when I’m pulling things together for a paper collage. I do have one “art nouveau swirl” stamp that I use frequently–I’m lost if it ever falls apart! I love the line and motion it adds to any design.
Name three things that inspire you…
Artistic women, nature, and the goodness of life
What are your hobbies and interests outside of your work?
Reading, gardening, quilting, cooking, singing in two women’s groups, and delighting in watching my grown daughter and son become such incredible people.
Ok, you’re stranded on a desert island. Which five things can’t you live without?
Pen and paper (for my to-do lists! ha!)
My glasses (boring, but I’m blind without them)
I love to hear what people are reading…so, what is the most recent book/magazine, etc. you’ve read? Did you like it?
I’m reading a delightful book right now–one I didn’t read as a child. It’s The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I love his playful use of language and plays on words. My latest “grown-up” book was At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. I really enjoy his jaunts into how things work and why we do or say things the way we do.
Thanks so much, Nancy. It was such a pleasure! Check out more of Nancy’s beautiful creations over at Nouveau Nancy.