Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Passion of Shannen and a Happy Elephant

“Happy Elephant Designs is my passion,” says Shannen. Her creativity is also her passion. While I was scrolling down her Etsy page, I noticed that she is not afraid to use many techniques. Her use of embellishments makes each one of her creations unique.

I could not pick out my favorites from her shop because I really admired each piece. The photos I picked are some of the most colorful, therefore they would look good on an online blog. That’s what I had to narrow it down to.

After you have learned more about Shannen, leave a comment here and let her know how her art makes you feel.


How did you get your start in the world of art?
I’ve always been surrounded my art. My mom was an artist, so we were always doing something crafty. I’ve never had any formal classes though. I’ve always been compared academically to my older brother and sister, and because of my dyslexia, came up short. So I was afraid of getting my heart broken by someone saying I wasn’t as good as they were in art. One day I would love to take some classes though.

Do you have a ritual you perform before you start creating?
My space needs to be neat and tidy before I can create. So as soon as I sit down, I get back out all my tools that I use every time (cutting board, scissors, bone folder, 3M adhesive gun…). Then I sit there and see what colors come to mind and start grabbing paper!

What do you like best, the creative process or the final creation?
The final creation. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing something that was in my mind come to fruition. It calms my soul.

What are your favorite art media, tools, and supplies?
Paper is my favorite art medium. My favorite supplies are buttons, metal words, metal buckles, brads, and ribbons. And my favorite tools are my Xyron machine and my paper cutter.

When a creative block happens, what process do you go through to get the creative juices flowing again?
I have a little idea book that I continually fill up with magazine ads that catch my eye, cards that I like from my PaperCraft Magazine, and ideas I’ve come up with in the middle of the night. So I grab that book when I need some inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just grab some paper and embellishments and keep moving it around the card until it feels right.

What do you hope your art says about you?
I hope my joy and love of making cards comes through my cards. I want you to smile when you look at my cards. I hope my love of simplicity and color comes through also.

What is your greatest dream and greatest fear as an artist?
My greatest dream is to own my own shop with my sister. A hodgepodge, kid friendly shop that moms and girlfriends will want to come to get their creativity out. It would be a mixture of paint your own pottery, scrapbooking and card making, and a place you could purchase one of my own cards!

My greatest fear is to disappoint a client or not to come through for them.

What are your goals in art, and in life?
My biggest goal in my art is to one day make a decent living off of my cards. Of course I want to continue to grow as an artist.

My goal in life is to lead a balanced life between my family and friends, my art, and God.

Tell us a little bit about yourself—where you grew up, your life now, other creative pursuits, other interests and hobbies.
I grew up in the country in a small town in Ohio about 30 minutes from Cleveland called Grafton. I went to college at Mount Union College (in Ohio) where I met my husband my freshman year. We married right out of college in 1996 and moved to Michigan due to his job. After 10 years of infertility, we were finally blessed with our daughter, Molly, who is now two and a half. I got to move back to my hometown 1 week after Molly was
born (yeah, that was some month!!).

I was a preschool/Early Fives teacher/Assistant Director for 12 years, but am now a stay at home mom who’s trying to make a go at making and selling cards.

I love to paint when I get the chance, but never took a formal class (I hope to remedy that someday!). I’ve tried knitting, which I love too, but only learned how to cast on and do a normal stitch…so for now I have a really long scarf!! Lol! I would love to learn to knit properly someday too! As you can see, I’m not formally trained in anything, but that doesn’t stop me from trying something creative everyday.

Do you have more than one shop(s), and/or a blog?
Yes, I have two shops, one on Etsy and one on 1000markets. They are and

I also have a blog at

Thanks for reading and learning more about me!

I'm Moving!

I am moving my blog to my website at AJ's Design Artz . I hope you stop by!