Hello everyone! We are so excited to bring you this months Designer in the Spotlight Tasnim Ahmen. We had the privilege of meeting Tasnim at CHA Winter 2015. We were walking along the show floor when we spotted her beautiful Altenew booth. The booth walls were covered in this beautiful textured wall paper and it was so clean, simple and classic. We instantly fell in love with her and of coarse her stamps! We ended up adding two of her stamp sets to our kits this year and also added some to the Clique Kits shop.
Tasnim took some time to answer some questions for us today and also created some stunning cards using our Spring Card Kit! So sit back, grab your beverage of choice and say Hello to Tasnim!
Tasnim attained her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2010. Even though arts and crafts has always been a part of her life, she only discovered stamping in 2011, and started her blog Cards & Bookmarks the following year. She soon realized that she had the potential to introduce designs/greetings relevant to cultures that were not represented in mainstream crafting space, and thus the research and planning for Altenew began. She is committed to bringing innovative designs based on lifestyles from around the world.
In addition to running Altenew, and being a full-time mom to her three year old daughter, Tasnim is a current student at Studio Arabiya, an online institute based in Cairo, Egypt. She also teaches weekly classes and leads the girls youth group at her local community center. Apart from card making and designing stamps, she enjoys hiking, running, and learning languages.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
My creative thinking process has changed from the time that I started designing cards. At first I used to constantly deliberate about designs, colors, and how to come up with crafty techniques. Then I discovered Pinterest, and instantly it became my go-to-place for inspiration. I remember spending hours on a card at times, playing around with my elements and figuring out how to arrange them. But now when I need to make a card, I take a quick look at my Pinterest Inspiration Board, and try not to spend more than half an hour in completing my project. Usually, a certain picture that I pinned catches my eyes, and I use either the colors, the design layout, the elements, or the general vibe from the picture, and go about translating that on to my card.
When I’m designing stamps, I first look for inspiration; it could be from nature, museum catalogs, fabric design, home décor, places I’ve traveled, or things that I want to make that do not exist in the market yet. Once an idea forms, I draw the designs on paper, scan it, and set to work on drawing in Illustrator, using my scanned images as a guide.
- Where and when are you most creative?
I think I am most creative when I am under the stress of having to meet a deadline! I feel like my best creations are always the ones I made last minute! During one of our Altenew releases, I woke up at 3am, and made six cards in the following four hours. The release was scheduled at 9am! Late nights are when my creative juices flow, and that is when I design Altenew stamps.
- What are some of your must have supplies?
Paper cutter, Score Board, micro-tip scissors, stamps, inks, foam tape and heat embossing supplies.
- Who are some of your influences?
In my card designing journey, the works of Darlene DeVries, Laura Bassen, Agnieszka Malyszek, and Debby Hughes, have influenced me greatly, to just name a few.
In the case of Altenew, Stephanie Wincott has definitely inspired me. I heard of her just days before the launch of “Clearly Besotted Stamps”. Back then, I was toying with the idea of starting a stamp company, but once I saw what she was about to embark upon, I was quite determined. I eventually contacted her and was able to ask her for advice. She was very helpful, and kindly shared her insight.
- 3 things people probably do not know about you.
- I used to be a BIG Anime fan. I have watched so much Anime during one of my college years that I can now understand/speak a bit of Japanese.
- I absolutely love Mathematics. Recently, I planned on allocating ½-1 hour daily to solve Math problems. Ahem, I still need to get started on that plan!
- I have yet to learn how to swim, and ride a bike. Added to my long to-do list.
Agatha Christie’s detective novels
Howl’s Moving Castle, Marvel Movies
Running man (Korean variety show). It is a bit silly sometimes, but it makes me laugh, which is a good thing
- Who are some of your favorite designers in the industry?
Agnieszka Malyszek, Iwona Palamountain, Jocelyn Olson, Cristina Kowalczyk, Amy Gray among many others!
- What inspired you to design your first stamp set?
The first stamp set that I designed actually never made it to production. It was a set of Eid Greetings along with a geometric design. Both the greetings and the design element speak volumes about what inspired me to start Altenew in the first place. One of the themes in our stamp designs is drawing inspiration from artwork from the past, and that geometric element was based on a Persian Enamel design. As for the greetings, whenever I made cards for Eid, I wished there were stamps for this occasion, and the simple solution was to design my own set! J
- Where did the name of your company Altenew come from?
Our first choice for a company name was Now & Then. I liked how this name was related to the theme I just spoke of. However, it was decided that the name needed to be unique. Thinking on words related to ‘Now & Then’ I came up with ‘Old and New’ which then turned to Altenew. A little knowledge of German helped the process as alt is German for old.
Here is a look at what Tasnim created with our Spring Card Kit which is still available in the Clique Kits shop. This kit comes with a full 4×6 stamp set from Altenew that you are just going to fall in love with!
Wow! Tasnim really went to town with our Spring Card kit. The beautiful papers from the My Mind’s Eye On Trend collection go perfect with the Altenew Super Script stamp set. The Spring Card kit is still available for purchase and you can grab yours today for 15% off with the code SAVE15. This code is only available today so act fast!
Tasnim thank you so much for being our April Designer in the Spotlight! You can find Tasnim and Altenew at the links listed below! Make sure you follow her blog and like them on Facebook to stay up do date with new releases, sales and events!
Altenew website – http://altenew.com/
Altenew Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/altenew?fref=ts
Altenew Blog – http://altenewblog.com/
Altenew YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwHkwAQ3Z64VL3PSbye-DKQ