Growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains
gave me a sense of place and remains my life force. My work is rooted in nature, always
reaching for home.
I've never really considered myself an artist.
I've always been "creative;" however, like many designers and creators, I've done many things in my life and career. I began as a graphic designer back when that meant you had to have a steady hand and extraordinary attention to detail because everything was created manually. I was an early adapter to digital media and started an interactive media firm, NIXdesign, in 1992 in a downtown loft space long before it was a populated, thriving downtown community. I grew the firm into one of the Triangle area's top design firms.
After the 2008 recession, I began to teach and wound up back at my alma mater, joining NC State's College of Design as an Associate Professor of the Practice and as the Director of Marketing, Communication and Public Relations. I led the development of the College's brand identity [the first in its history], providing a strong platform for all marketing and messaging and creating a dynamic website and social media presence. As the Associate Professor of the Practice, I developed, branded and taught a senior level professional practices course called CODE | Studio, bringing in corporate sponsors and partners to work with students on actual design projects.
I also teach calligraphy, hand lettering and typography. I have had the opportunity to conduct workshops in Toronto, Vancouver, Asheville, Cooper Union in NYC, Raleigh, and at various other venues internationally. I enjoyed teaching hand lettering sessions at Facebook's Analog Research Lab, located at their headquarters in Menlo Park and workshops for Adobe at their headquarters in San Francisco. It was eye-opening to see some of Adobe's top type designers experience using a calligraphy pen for the first time! I was also a featured speaker at the Adobe Max Annual Creativity Conference where I taught hand lettering basics to over 180 students – at a digital conference! Teaching calligraphy is a passion as the craft of handwriting has been lost to our digital culture. There's a resurgence and demand for learning so I'm happy to fill it! [See upcoming classes and events.]
Life becomes a culmination of our experiences. At NIXdesign, I worked with many lifestyle brands including: celebrity chef, Lorena Garcia, vintner, Paul Hobbs, Baywood Cellars, Tinto Vangato Wines, Anapurna Vineyards, Oenophilia, Burt's Bees, Robert Isabell NYC, The Body Shop, and Vietri. I began designing new products and eventually licensing my artwork for serving ware, wine bags and other applications. I enjoyed this work very much and it led me to launch my own line of wine-inspired products as owner of FountainArts.
My work at FountainArts includes: managing the business, working with clients on custom branding/labeling, interfacing with our retailers and manufacturers, managing the e-commerce enterprise, and designing new collections and products. I'm rarely without a sketch book. I love taking products from conception to completion: my strengths are focused on reading the market, responding by generating new product concepts, and bringing them to fruition via design, prototyping, testing, branding, and marketing.