Thursday, January 17, 2013

Diagnosis Design #4: JJ Bolton

First an intro...

In medicine, we document using SOAP notes. It is an abbreviation to help keep consistent format when logging information. 

S=Subjective. What does the patient report. Subjective Data. This also includes the Chief Complaint (CC) which tells what the patients main problem is and History of Present Illness (HPI) a history of what happened to bring them in.

O=Objective. What exam findings do you gather. Objective Data.

A=Assessment. What is your Diagnosis, what differentials could there be (alternative diagnoses)

P=Plan/Education. What is the plan for the patient. What do you want them to learn?

This is the format I will use also.

Now lets begin. This is JJ Bolton...uhhh...*at work*, sportin' goggles and a lab coat.

I asked her to send me a unique picture of herself. This message was in the email with the picture. She is a funny gal.

"What you can see in the pic = stylish (not!) safety glasses. What you can't see in this pic = my coworker around the corner asking me what the heck I'm doing." 

She does this for us folks, she does it us! 

How much does your profession play into the way you design? 
My day job is as a quality assurance officer for a laboratory.  Very detail oriented stuff.  And lots of techy stuff.  So I guess that translates to my card making too!     

This is a picture of JJ with the lab parakeet. They keep him in the break room. Pretty unique pictures eh?

CC: She has an addiction to die cuts, it's serious. It's BAD, so bad, it's good...(remember when being bad was good ;)

HPI: JJ is a mother of fraternal twins, Brady and Ryan who are 13. She has been married to Dave for 17 years this fall and together 19 years. They met at work. He was younger and only an intern! She has worked in labs since college except for 5 years when she stayed at home to be with the boys. During that time she ran a ribbon design company with her sister.

one of JJ's favorite photos of her family taken a few years ago

touring the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

She has been blogging since May 2011. The first post says goodbye to the business she and her sister started. (Hence the name Ribbon Girls).  From then on, JJ took over the blog as her own and began creating her magic. 

When did your design aesthetic become clear to you?  
Has it become clear?  I must have missed it, lol!  All I know is that I’ve always been drawn to clean, graphic, and colorful design.      

If you could interview someone in blog land who would it be and why? 
I would pick Cath Edvalson from PC/Moxie Fab World.  I would love to pick her brain on what she considers good design and what she sees on the paper crafting horizon.  

Who do you feel has a strong design aesthetic and why?  
Joscelyne Cutchens comes to mind.  Her cards and layouts all have that Joscie feel.  Until recently, I never knew there was a name for that style, but recently I heard it described as “freestyle/collage” (think it was Windy Robinson on the Paper Crafts site).  I think Joscie’s style is heavy influenced by the fact that she was a scrapbooker first.  Love her fun and cute style!

What is one supply that has changed the way you design?  
Die cutters (electronic and manual)!  Searching the web on how to use my electronic die cutter (Silhouette) is what led me to the wide world of card-making.  I’m probably the only person who got a Silhouette first and then moved on to a manual die cutting systems.  I love all my die cutters!  (Don’t ask me how many I have;)

What music do you listen to?  
I love all types of music, but my go-to is reggae/island/mellow/beach hippie music. Bob Marley, Big Mountain, Jack Johnson, UB40, and Hawaiian bands.  I’ve also been known to play 80’s music and old school R&B/funk.  

What are your favorite manufacturers?  
I’m an equal opportunity buyer, but the stamps that I reach for the most are from Avery Elle, Mama Elephant, Hero Arts, Waltzingmouse Stamps, PTI, Paper Smooches, and Lawn Fawn.  For cardstock, I favor Avery Elle (especially white) and PTI.  For dies, I love Memory Box/Poppystamps, Lifestyle Crafts, Spellbinders, and PTI.  For inks, I prefer Fresh Ink (pigment inks from Impress) for stamping and Distress Inks for blending.

What is your favorite color this year?  
Gold, no joke!  I don’t really even wear gold jewelry, but it seems to have crept into many of my cards lately.  

What is your favorite card you ever made?  
If I had to choose just one card, I’d probably choose this one.   From conception to execution, it went exactly as I had envisioned.  (it is the deconstructed Chevron card seen below)

The perfect blogger is one who? 
Shares.  Anyone who shares techniques, supply sources, tips, inspiration, failures/victories, etc. is tops in my book. 

What is most important in creating a card? 
Supply-wise you mean?  Good quality cardstock.  Never underestimate good white cardstock.

how long does it take you to make a card? 
I am pretty slow.  I rarely have long stretches of time to craft, so I grab time here and there.  It ends up taking me longer, but many times, the extra thinking time helps me work out the kinks.  

what is on your crafty wish list for 2013?  
I’d like a Silhouette Cameo just for the larger cutting space.  My Silhouette SD is fine, but I’d like to try some bigger projects like party favors.    

where do you go for inspiration?  
For some reason, I prefer looking for inspiration in pics/sites that are not card related.  Home decorating, letterpress, photography, and graphic design sites are my favorites  

Is there one technique out there that you want to try but haven't? 
I’d like to try letterpress!  It requires more/different supplies, so that may not be in the cards for me this year.  (May not be in the cards for me, get it?  Yes, I’m a dork.)
Who is your blogging idol?  
I have a few idols.  Betsy Veldman is definitely one because she is off the charts creative!  I learn something new from her  Another is Jocelyn Olson.  She has an eye for design and I’m in awe of her digital/hybrid talents!  I wish I could watch her create a card start to finish.  Of course, Jennifer McGuire, Kristina Werner, Cristina Kowalczyk, Claire Brennan, Nichole Heady, Kim Kesti, and Julie Ebersole are amazing.  
Can I also list the bloggers I admire the most?  Laura Bassen, Christina Maclaren, Laurie Willison, Jackie Rockwell, Jen Rzasa.  More recently, I’ve been taken with the work Pamela Ho, Kelly Griglione, and Chrissy Larson.  (Sorry if I misspelled a name!)

What makes you laugh?  
Almost anything.  Most of my friends and family would say that I’m a joker.  A sarcastic joker;)

Worse blogging moment?  
None that I can think of!  It’s been a fun ride!  

The best way you can see a persons style is through a body of work. Let me show you what JJ can do. These are some of my most favorites...

Do you notice:
  • the graphic feel of her cards?
  • the use of solid color, and LOTS of it?
  • the interactiveness in her cards? Her work always seems to have movement either literally or through design.

Her creative space, in the basement of her home:

Die Cuts with a View
I have loved JJ's work for a long time. Back in March of 2012, I gave her a Liebster award and here is what I said, "Her cards are just plain unique. She looks at the same supplies you and I do and makes magic with them. She has me thinking and drooling...and not necessarily in that order. " 

I still feel this way about JJ today. She is innovative and I believe a forerunner in starting a new genre of cardmaking by bringing die cuts front and center. 

In asking the community what makes JJ stand out amongst the rest and what they like about her work...

LAURIE WILLSON ( on Casual Fridays Challenge Design Team, Paper Crafts Magazine Gallery Idol Finalist 2011, 2012, Stamping Royalty 2011, World Card Making Day Winner 2011): "JJ is an amazing card maker. She has the most gorgeous designs and uses color in so many great ways. I love her use of die cuts. She comes up with fun uses for them and the layouts of her cards are always so original. I love seeing a new post come through from her on my reader! She is so creative and so very inspiring!"

JENNIFER MCGUIRE (Paper Crafts Magazine Go To Gal, Education Director Hero Arts, Ranger Industries Contributor): " JJ Bolton... where do I begin? Her cards always cause my jaw to drop. She combines colors in amazing ways and comes up with one-of-a-kind designs that impress every time. And she also achieves what I find very difficult: incorporating techniques into a clean and simple look. I am a fan. A BIG fan!"

JAMIE GRACZ (Owner of Avery Elle Company, JJ is on the design team): "I asked JJ to be a part of the Avery Elle design team because her cards are bold, fresh, modern and just plain creative! I have never seen anyone use dies like she does. There are two cards in particular that stand out in my mind and best represent why I asked JJ to join the Avery Elle design team."
"I love the bold and modern design of this first card. The mix of shapes and textures is amazing."

"This second card is graphic, fresh, fun and pure genius!"

(this was chosen by me as well for the Top 12 Cards of 2012)

Think you want to join this genre? 
  • Cut the...die. Electronic, battery operated, manual, any and all types. JJ is a BIG user of die cuts and she is constantly using them in new and magical ways. 
  • Think outside the circle. Anyone can take a die cut shape and use it as it was intended. Either as a label or to stamp on, but JJ takes that same die and transforms it into something your eyes have never laid eyes on...ALL THE TIME!

    • Shape Up! JJ loves to create shapes and layer shapes. She really enjoys more abstract design. Its graphic and modern.

    If someone wanted to design like you, what would they need?  
    Good quality cardstock and ink, some kind of die cutting machine, and an open mind  OK, that came out goofy.  By open mind I mean, looking at your supplies in unconventional ways.  I’m a big advocate of finding new uses for supplies I already have in my stash.

    Last craft purchase? 
    Sequins from Etsy, water color pencils, and inkpads from Stampin Up.

    How many hours do you craft a week?  
    A good week, about 3 hours.  Some weeks, none!  

    If I had to pick a song that represented JJ to ME, it would be this one:

    She is Hawaii (even if she lives in Virginia), she has turned the crafting world upside down with her designs and aesthetic view!

    Thank you JJ for taking the time to answer the questions and giving me full access to your blog RG RIBBON GIRLS.

    Next Diagnosis coming January 31!


    1. woot!!!! i've been looking forward to this post all week!!!!! now to wait till Jan 31!

    2. Great post! I can relate to JJ as I worked in a laboratory as well!

    3. LOVE! The pictures are hilarious! Thanks for sharing more of JJ with us!

    4. How fun! Love this way of "getting to know you."

    5. Another of my top five! The Queen of Die Cut. Like you've never seen 'em before. Yep, that's JJ. And there is always a totally positive vibe to her work. Know what I mean?

    6. You have me HOOKED on Diagnosis Design! I LOVE this in depth look at these AMAZING designers. I am a big FAN of JJ's work - she's always doing something fresh and fun! I love reading her thoughts and learning about who inspires her! THANKS for putting the time into this feature on your blog!!!

    7. sigh, JJ rocks. really lovin' this feature...keep up the fab work!

    8. I love JJ's creations. Her work is so unique and inspirational. It was fun to see what JJ looks like at her day job, with her family and her craft room. Great interview! Loved hearing her answers.

    9. This is just fabulous! I love JJ's work! It is always inspiring and yet encourages me to do things my way all at the same time! AND...she is super duper sweet to boot! She pretty much ROCKS. Just sayin'.

    10. JJ is amazing, and such a great encourager...totally came through in the interview!

    11. Wida, what a fantastic interview of the super sweet and ULTRA talented JJ! Every one of her cards is an inspiration to me.


    12. JJ is such an inspiration...her cards are some of my favorites (ever). She's so sweet and gracious, too. JJ, thanks for the shout-out (it's freaking me out to be in the same paragraph as those folks, but thank you!). :) Wida, I love what you're doing. What a fun series!

    13. Love JJ's cards, designs and her sense of humor! What a fun interview!

    14. Wida - I should have know you and JJ were pals!!!! She is one of my favorite people in the whole world! JJ has the most interesting approach to design - always so clever and unique. I love seeing the world through her eyes. Your interview was awesome - I feel like I got a peek into her world - how about that clean and neat crafty space? And gotta tell you - if there is anything better or more beautiful than her cards - it's JJ herself. She is the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet!

    15. Loved this interview, and all the pics and the music choice. I have that CD! Love JJ! She's an outstanding designer!

    16. First of all, Wida, thank you again for these articles. I can't even imagine how long it must take you to interview multiple people, bring it all together, format it, put the links in, etc., etc. I REALLY look forward to them. So I was super-excited to see one posted today, and then when I saw it was JJ, I was beyond thrilled! LOVE the "real life" photos in the lab and with family. Love reading about her favorite supplies, seeing her space, and of course the cards. I remember them all! Totally fell over with her shout-out ... she and Laura Bassen are my first card-maker crushes. Well done, Wida, well done!

    17. JJ is simply one of the most talented people I've met through blogging - and she is so kind & generous to boot :) I love that girl! This was a super-fun peek into how she works - thanks so much for drawing her out for us, Wida!

    18. Loved getting to know JJ better - your DD feature is jam packed with info, lovely pictures and jaw dropping projects!

    19. As usual, this was so much fun to read, Wida!! I love JJ and her style, it was so great learning more about her!

    20. I absolutely LOVE JJ and loved reading this interview. I must say Wida, you constantly impress me with the depth of your articles.

    21. I already loved JJ! And now I love her more! Thanks for another fabulous DD, Wida!

    22. I adore JJ and her fantastic crafty style. LOVED this interview!

    23. What a great feature! Love these posts, they must take a lot of work.

    24. This has been an amazing journey into knowing JJ better. Love this post!

    25. These posts are so amazing and informative. I adore JJ and her work. I think I end up stuck on her blog the most because I'm always trying to figure out where she got that idea or how she did that technique. What a fun look insider her home, family, and mind. LOVE it!

    26. Great job Wida! So loved reading and getting to know JJ better!

    27. Excellent post, Wida, and feel like I just met JJ since it was so detailed. Truly love her work and enjoy her blog also.

    28. JJ......Woot Woot!!!! You Rock, girl!!! Awesome interview, Wida!!!

    29. Loved getting to know JJ...admire her work...thanks Wida!

    30. Hooray for JJ! What fun getting to know her a little better, and as a fellow lab rat I appreciate the candid shots of her at work, too. :) Thanks for sharing this with us, Wida!

    31. Awesome interview, Wida!! Such a delight to read about this talented card-maker!

    32. Love these posts, Wida! Thanks for the insight into another of the crafty world's greats! oh, and I just noticed you're now at 200!!

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