Hot Off The Press Designer: Sara Naumann

About Sara:

By day, Sara Naumann works in product development for Hot Off The Press, where she's also the co-host of Paper Wishes Weekly Webisodes, the editor of Paper Wishes Ideas Online and travels to teach scrapbooking and card making classes around the world. After hours, however, is another story: Sara confesses to being "the ultimate paper addict—they practically pay me in paper!" Weekends and evenings are spent in her studio at home, creating cards, scrapbook pages, rubber stamping, creating handmade books and generally playing with paper. Sara has contributed to Hot Off The Press books like More Altered Books and Scrapbook Recipes for Journaling. Her work has also been published in Creating Keepsakes, PaperCrafts, Somerset Studio and Legacy. When she's not paper crafting, Sara can be found beading, journaling or at the local bookstore. She lives in Oregon with her husband Keith and their temperamental black cat.

Q & A with Sara:

What drives your creativity and inspires you?
I'm always inspired by other paper crafters. I love seeing people's scrapbooks and hearing what inspires them. It's like getting a glimpse into another person's life, and I'm always delighted when people share their creations with me. It helps me remember why creating handmade things—whether that's a scrapbook page, a card or a handmade book—is so important. When I need inspiration, I look to magazines, especially scrapbooking magazines and rubber stamp publications, and soon I'll see a technique or an idea that I want to try out. Then I'm off and running! Other times it's a book, a song, a place I travel to, or an image or a color that inspires me.

What is your greatest accomplishment in designing for HOTP?
I love the creative possibilities with the sarabinders™ line—and I'm delighted that people love the sarapapers™ collections! It really all started a few years ago with the sarabooks™ line, which was my first design contribution to Hot Off The Press. When I gave a handmade book to Paulette, I had no idea it would result in all this. I really just wanted to make something special and handmade to express how much I admire her creativity, strength and artistic vision. I'm grateful that she was willing to take a chance on it and I'm super flattered that someone with that much business experience and creative vision would think these little books I'd been making could be a Hot Off The Press product.

Tell us about your paper crafting philosophy.
Well, I love paper. I mean, I really love it. But I've never been someone who collects it and never uses it. I'll cut it up or crumple it or spray it with walnut ink or drive over it or whatever, but I'm basically a paper user. It all ends up somewhere, in a journal or on a scrapbook page or something. And then of course, I need more! (This isn't to say I don't have a ridiculous amount of paper in my stash...I just haven't had a chance to get to it all!)

How does it feel to be in on the development of products?
Are you kidding me? This is my dream job! It's great! I actually have the cool opportunity of being a part of the New Product Development Team, which meets once a week to plan out new products and product lines. We brainstorm ideas, test out new techniques, talk about the trends and things that are going on in the market…it's amazing how one little comment becomes the beginning of a whole new product line within the space of a one hour meeting. And how products and ideas can change really radically—sometimes we'll start out with one idea and the next week it will be totally different. The coolest thing, though, is seeing what magic our graphic designers come up with—they're really the superstars, who actually make all the papers we produce. They're amazingly talented and they always surprise me.

What do you find most exciting about the future of the industry?
I love how I'm seeing more and more ideas and resources available to paper crafters. After all, a sheet of paper may be absolutely beautiful, but it's even more beautiful when it's put to a creative use—though sometimes it can be hard to envision what that paper can become. I have a feeling the future is going to be bright!

Sara's advice to other paper crafters:
Never underestimate the creative power of playtime. When I'm stuck for an idea, I rummage around in my stash of treasures and pull out papers I haven't used for a while or embellishments I bought a long time ago and start playing. Sometimes I get a great idea or discover something new...other times, I find out what definitely doesn't work! I also give myself little creative challenges. For example, I love working in brown and sepia tones, so I'll challenge myself to make a card or a scrapbook page in bright red. It helps me work outside of the box.

Sara's top Hot Off The Press product picks:

  • sarabooks™. Of course! It's everything I've ever hand-stamped, hand-lettered or searched for all over town, all organized and color-coordinated for me. color-coordinated for me.
  • sarabinders™. I LOVE sarabinders™! They make it so easy to create a personalized gift that's also practical—which is perfect if you have a big family like I do! Just ask my mom, my dad, my sister or my
  • 8"x8" mini albums. I'm hooked on this amazing collection! There are so many great themes so I always have the right coordinating papers and embellishments, no matter what my current project is.

Sara's favorite project published by HOTP:
The "Definition of a Mother" page I did for Scrapbook Recipes for Journaling is definitely my favorite project. It's not so much the colors or the techniques or anything like that—I just really love that I was able to honor my mom with a published layout in a book for tons of people to see. She deserves it!