Madyson Designs

Design solutions for web, print, and multimedia

Eight More Creative Ladies

This is a con­tin­u­a­tion of my orig­i­nal Seven Cre­ative Ladies arti­cle. Be sure to read the orig­i­nal post to get more cre­ative inspiration.

I was so inspired by the ladies in my orig­i­nal post that I couldn’t wait to do a sec­ond round. These are just a few of the many tal­ented, friendly, and inter­est­ing women I have got­ten to know recently. This time, I seem to have got­ten a very diverse group of women in many cre­ative fields. All serve to show how dif­fer­ently the cre­ative vein runs through dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Like in my first post, I posed two ques­tions to every­one. The responses are fan­tas­tic insight into what makes us all tick.

I asked each per­son to think about these two questions:

  • What made you decide to pur­sue a cre­ative career in general?
  • What do you con­sider your main cre­ative focus (i.e. print, web/dev, pho­tog­ra­phy, etc.) and what made you choose that over all other cre­ative fields?

Again, I got so many dif­fer­ent answers and a great cross sec­tion of what inspires dif­fer­ent people.

avatar-tsg_biggerNadine Gilden | @curiouslt |

I always wanted to do some­thing cre­ative. I come from a cre­ative fam­ily — mom was an inte­rior designer, she went to FIT way back when, and dad loved to paint/sculpt. I orig­i­nally wanted to be an art direc­tor for an ad agency, so I was a Com­mu­ni­ca­tion major in col­lege, always tak­ing art classes on the side.

Web — it was just the per­fect mar­riage of right brain, left brain for me. Any time you have an open can­vas, you get to be cre­ative, but with the web, you then have to take that and make it func­tion, which was much harder, more lim­ited in the early days of the web than it is now. I love it because it is always chang­ing, improv­ing and push­ing me to keep up!!

I fell into design­ing for the web. I was work­ing for Time Warner’s inter­ac­tive tele­vi­sion divi­sion at the time, and they called us all into a meet­ing and asked ‘Who wants to work on the web­site were start­ing’ — of course I raised my hand.

MK_smile_BW_profile_copy_biggerMichelle Kras­niak Oxman | @mishikraz

I decided to pur­sue a cre­ative career because I sin­cerely believe I’m not liv­ing up to my full poten­tial if I’m not doing some­thing cre­ative. I’ve had jobs that were non-creative/non-writing and they sucked the life out of me after a while! You always seem to come back to what you know.

Writ­ing, though I’ve fallen away from the per­sonal cre­ative writ­ing in the last cou­ple of years due to my sched­ule. Most of my writ­ing these days is busi­ness related through my work with Fuel Brand Inc. where I am the Media Rela­tions Man­ager and Head Writer and “writing-world cen­tered” through my posts on Fuel Your Writ­ing, where I am the Man­ag­ing Editor.

As corny and cliche as it sounds, I didn’t choose writing…it chose me! I’ve been writ­ing since I was a child and it seemed only nat­ural that I would end up in a career that involved writing.

picture-98_avvy_biggerChris­tine Kawasaki-Chan | @eristine |

Grow­ing up I spent much of my time draw­ing and work­ing in crafts. I started design­ing icons and play­ing with typog­ra­phy as far back as age six, usu­ally involv­ing ani­mals such as cats and bun­nies. As I grew up I con­tin­ued to pur­sue many forms of visual arts, and through my scholas­tic career I gen­er­ally filled “the designer” role on var­i­ous coun­cils and committees.

My main cre­ative focus is brand posi­tion­ing and in that space I’m most pas­sion­ate about visual iden­tity. To incor­po­rate so many traits and ideas into some­thing so sim­ple as a logo, or a brand name is no easy task. This is a chal­lenge that never fails to excite me.

diana4twitter2_biggerDiana Adams | @adamsconsulting

I do not have the typ­i­cal “cre­ative jour­ney story.” As a mat­ter of fact, until 2006, I was not cre­ative at all. I remem­ber I dropped out of art in high school, and picked up cal­cu­lus in its place because it was eas­ier for me.  I earned a degree from USC in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion with a con­cen­tra­tion in account­ing.  I started Atlanta’s pre­mier IT con­sul­tancy firm with my hus­band over ten years ago, and my hobby is study­ing physics.  None of these things are nec­es­sar­ily creative.

In 2006 all of that changed.  I found myself in the mid­dle of an intense spir­i­tual awak­en­ing, and I sud­denly had the urge to write.  I started my cre­ative writ­ing by writ­ing poetry, which quickly pro­gressed to short sto­ries, and that pro­gressed into writ­ing my first book which I plan to self pub­lish next year.  Along the way I’ve assisted with pub­lish­ing a won­der­ful cook­book that I am very proud of, along with a few pieces of writ­ing online that have gained quite a bit of attention.

The main cre­ative focus in my life is my writ­ing, and I could do it all day long and never get tired of it!  I think that is when you know you’ve tapped into a true pas­sion.  What­ever that thing may be, if you could do it all day long, lose track of time, “wake up” ten hours later, and still thirst for more, that is a pas­sion, and I feel like I’ve found that in my writing.

My favorite part of the writ­ing process actu­ally takes place before I put the pen to the paper.  I love the inspi­ra­tion that unfolds when you dig deep down within your soul to find the ideas and words that mag­i­cally fit together like a puz­zle.  I find the inspi­ra­tion process enables me to live more in the moment and really look at the world around me.  It enables me to be grate­ful for the sim­ple things in life.  I can gain inspi­ra­tion from some­thing as sim­ple as a blade of grass, and I can appre­ci­ate that.

044-1_biggerRobin Per­nice | @makinitrite

For me cre­ativ­ity is some­thing I was for­tu­nate to be born into in the musi­cal sense. Mem­o­ries of fam­ily reunions on my late and beau­ti­ful Mother’s side are full of the har­monies and sounds of the voices of my Grand­mother, Aunts and Cousins all singing and play­ing gui­tars. Our Idea of fun. It is really what defines me as a per­son so the deci­sion to move in this direc­tion is com­pa­ra­ble to climb­ing the heights of the slip and slide and roar­ing down hands raised high with some courage mixed up in there too. At the age of 50 I am unwrap­ping the gifts, dust­ing them off, and begin­ning again. I have raised a fam­ily, and now have time to breath and redis­cover myself.

I have been writ­ing and singing songs for many years. The first time I asked for a gui­tar was at age 5, yep, that is what I wanted for Christ­mas. Dis­ap­pointed to find a fake plas­tic one. So nat­u­rally the path of cre­ativ­ity I walk upon is one of music and writ­ing. How­ever I also draw and am very inter­ested in the graphic design arena. Let me stick to what I know for now.

First pub­lic singing was done with a very famous Kansas City per­son­al­ity doing Woman’s Meet­ings. I was a backup singer and later became a Wor­ship leader. I was able to travel to Wyoming and Mon­tana dur­ing that time twice a year to do just that, lead Wor­ship. Fast for­ward to present: Now look­ing for my place in this world as I approach the end of a 27 year mar­riage. Unlike many of the women that have writ­ten before me, I am not employed…yet. Catch­ing up now. Learn­ing new things and myself again. Stretch­ing it to the lim­its and beyond. You women inspire me. Yes­ter­day August 10, 2009 I wrote six (6) poems/songs and one (1) quote. It was my deceased Father’s Birth­day. I’ll leave you with the quote: ” I sit and I pon­der in this world I see, I watch and I learn. Is now that I know…only now that I see, this world I sit in does include me.”

Thank you all for the inspi­ra­tion and you can all appre­ci­ate this one, another orig­i­nal. “If it ain’t got sting it ain’t no thing.…BRAND IT” and that is just what I doing!

37_biggerShelly Bow­man | @g33kgurrl |

I wouldn’t say that I made a deci­sion to pur­sue a cre­ative career.  Cre­ativ­ity crept into my work because I was born with a wicked eye for color, an ear for music and a keen sense of the power of words.  I was a singer and wrote pro­lif­i­cally from an early age.

My edu­ca­tional and early career back­ground doesn’t scream cre­ative.  I was a licensed mer­chant marine offi­cer.  I worked on tankers, on a tug boat and shore­side in the mar­itime indus­try.  I spent time work­ing with Fed­eral and Inter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions and the move­ment of cargo from point a to point b.  None of that requires any par­tic­u­lar creativity.

I stum­bled into web design as part of my job when I worked at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity.  I built on my skills through var­i­ous projects as I stepped through var­i­ous job titles and orga­ni­za­tions.  Today I work as an ana­lyst by day and spend my “off hours” devoted to our clients.

My hus­band James is the heart of our busi­ness, doing all the heavy lift­ing.  He has been design­ing web­sites since Al Gore invented the inter­net, in case you haven’t heard.  My eye for design and abil­ity to cap­ture and con­vey emo­tion through writ­ten word has com­ple­mented his skills as a designer.  We work along­side each other, offer­ing assis­tance, sup­port and direc­tion for each part of our clients’ projects.  It’s our coop­er­a­tive energy and efforts, which encom­pass design, usabil­ity and cre­ative expres­sion, that has made our work with small busi­nesses and min­istries successful.

MyPicture_biggerChris Rossi | @modbird |

Cre­ativ­ity, art, design have been a part of my life for as long as I can remem­ber. I grew up in a very creative-minded home.  My father was an archi­tect and urban plan­ner, my mom had a pas­sion for paint­ing and fash­ion design.

The top floor of our town-home was the “stu­dio”.  It housed my dad’s desk scat­tered with draft­ing tools, ren­der­ing mark­ers, pen­cils, trac­ing paper, my mom’s easel and my favorite…a long unfin­ished wooden dresser full of all kinds of art sup­plies (the non-kid kind). You name it, it was there. My sis­ters and I would raid it on a reg­u­lar basis. Of course we would usu­ally get in trou­ble for doing so…but it was so much fun!

I think I always knew I wanted to do some­thing cre­ative as a career but also strug­gled because with my dad gen­er­ously pay­ing for pri­vate col­lege, the pro­fes­sional route seemed to be the “assumed” one. I took a graph­ics com­mu­ni­ca­tions class in high school and I was imme­di­ately hooked into the world of design.

In col­lege I had some dis­tant thoughts about Archi­tec­ture but was really drawn to Graph­ics and Design. I stud­ied Design, con­cen­trat­ing on Graph­ics, but also tak­ing and lov­ing many courses in Indus­trial design, Art His­tory and fine Arts.

After work­ing in adver­tis­ing for five years, I decided to pur­sue my grad­u­ate degree.  This time, I was torn between Archi­tec­ture and Indus­trial design.  I decided upon Inte­rior design, real­iz­ing that it was a per­fect merge of the two. It focuses on the human inter­ac­tion of space and objects.  I found the per­fect pro­gram at Pratt in Brook­lyn.  Not only had I always wanted to move to NYC, but their pro­gram was more “inte­rior archi­tec­turally” based rather than focus­ing on dec­o­ra­tion.  I have also been able to inte­grate graph­ics quite nicely into many inte­ri­ors in the form of envi­ron­men­tal graphics.

I’ve worked for var­i­ous design firms through­out the years as I’ve moved from NY to Chicago, back to LA and then to Florida six years ago. My pro­fes­sional focus in Inte­rior design has included High-end Retail, Corporate/Branded envi­ron­ments, as well as high-end Res­i­den­tial design. In my free time, I try to indulge in my fine arts pas­sions of met­al­smithing, paint­ing and ceram­ics as much as possible.

It’s dif­fi­cult to nail down one focus for me. Maybe it was all the “toy” options up in my par­ents’ stu­dio that I should blame.

I don’t see the cre­ative dis­ci­plines as sep­a­rate, and I actu­ally hope my inter­ac­tion with the dif­fer­ent mediums/disciplines con­tin­ues to grow.  When I look at art, design, archi­tec­ture, fash­ion, they all inter­twine.  I love how they influ­ence and inspire each other.  I am happy to be a part of any, and as many, of them as I can while I move through and learn from this won­der­ful life.

15a_biggerMichelle Trevino | @michelletrevino |

Hav­ing been born and raised in a small rural town in Mis­souri, I found cre­ativ­ity to be a form of escapism. It took many years to find a focus for my cre­ative outlets.

When I was in third grade, my par­ents bought a new com­puter. I don’t mind show­ing my age by say­ing it was a Com­modore 64 because its still one of my favorite com­put­ers to this day. We were one of the first, if not the only one, to own a home com­puter in town. My sis­ter and I would spend hours cod­ing sim­ple pro­grams on it. My inner geek awoke, but I was not com­pletely satisfied.

I had always had a fond­ness for writ­ing and dur­ing one sum­mer vaca­tion, I sent sev­eral arti­cles to mag­a­zines, with a cou­ple being pub­lished. I was only 11 years old at the time so look­ing back, I real­ize now that it was a bit of an accom­plish­ment. I was hooked and thought I would become a writer some­day. I bought mag­a­zines to give me inspi­ra­tion. In many cases, I became more enrap­tured with the design than the arti­cles themselves.

In high school, I worked on the school news­pa­per and the year­book. Our school had bought new com­put­ers and since I had expe­ri­ence in using one, I was given much free­dom to work on lay­outs. I guess you could call me a “cre­ative geek” since I had an equal love for com­put­ers, tech­nol­ogy and art. I began to day­dream of own­ing my own design agency, but I my par­ents would have had a heart attack if I had told them so I kept it to myself.

In col­lege, I was lucky enough to get a job in the school’s pub­li­ca­tions depart­ment. I spent a cou­ple of years learn­ing about print, which built my con­fi­dence as a designer. At the same time, the Inter­net was in its infancy, but start­ing to explode. I tried my hand at cod­ing HTML and found it quite easy to learn. I took on my first pay­ing cus­tomer dur­ing my senior year and was paid pretty well since not many peo­ple were cod­ing sites at this time.

Web design led to an epiphany that this is what I wanted to do with my life. It com­bined my inner geek with my pas­sion to cre­ate. I pre­ferred it over print because of the imme­di­acy of the results. After that, I worked in a cou­ple of web devel­oper posi­tions, includ­ing my own col­lege where my team redesigned the web­site and won a few awards.

Later, I left to pur­sue my own agency, which I have been run­ning for almost 10 years. I’ve had a part in cre­at­ing some­where around 500 web­sites and have worked with cus­tomers all over the world. I am very for­tu­nate to get to design and code web­sites, as well as pro­vide host­ing for them. The vari­ety has kept my life inter­est­ing and is what keeps me out of trouble.

You can find out about my back­ground and inspi­ra­tion in the orig­i­nal arti­cle. Thanks again to all those who par­tic­i­pated. It’s so much fun learn­ing about each other’s cre­ative his­tory. This looks like some­thing I’d like to keep doing, as long as I can find will­ing par­tic­i­pants! If you’d like to par­tic­i­pate in the next round, leave a com­ment or catch me on Twit­ter!

23 Responses to “Eight More Creative Ladies”

  1. New post full of morn­ing inspi­ra­tion! Eight More Cre­ative Ladies

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  2. Shelly Bowman says:

    Thank you so much for ask­ing me to par­tic­i­pate although I still say that I do not belong listed among these tal­ented ladies!

    I gain a great deal of inspi­ra­tion from the sto­ried paths of those who cre­atively impact the world around them. Thank you for shar­ing these sto­ries with us.

  3. modbird says:

    New post full of morn­ing inspi­ra­tion! 8 More Cre­ative Ladies (via the lovely @MadysonDesigns) *thanks 4 includ­ing me :)

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  4. ssr11 says:

    Always on the look­out for more cre­ative women! RT @adellecharles Eight More Cre­ative Ladies – *@mishikraz on the list!

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  5. Eight More Cre­ative Ladies –

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  6. @gracesmith Thanks for the RT! I just fin­ished a sec­ond round, check it out if you get a chance:

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  7. gracesmith says:

    Round Two: Eight More Cre­ative Ladies – by @MadysonDesigns

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  8. Chris says:

    Thanks again for putting this together Sarah. I am really hon­ored to be in such great company!

    I love learn­ing more about the lovely cre­ative ladies I inter­act with on Twit­ter (And it’s fun to meet some new ones too! )

    It is also so won­der­ful, inter­est­ing and inspir­ing to see how cre­ativ­ity sur­faces within the lives of dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Love it.
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..hi guys!! =-.

  9. Sarah, Again just wanted to say thanks so much! I am truly hon­ored to be in the com­pany of such tal­ent and cre­ativ­ity amongst women. We bring a unique qual­ity to the world just because we are women. To be able to see the vast­ness of this on writ­ten page, and a page I must add,
    that totally rocks quin­tes­sen­tial women and design..well
    all I can say is look out world! Here we come!
    .-= Robin Pernice´s last blog ..makini­trite: @milagro88 Right back at you dolly!!! Always good to see you! *Hugs* =-.

  10. Some very cre­ative ladies on Twit­ter. Check this out :-) ( ) HEY! my biggest cheer­leader @makinitrite is one !)

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  11. K says:

    awe­some com­pi­la­tion — so many inspir­ing women on here. con­grat­u­la­tions to you all, and much more suc­cess. I espe­cially liked Chris Rossi’s com­ment about not see­ing cre­ative dis­ci­plines as sep­a­rate — i think they can absolutely com­ple­ment each other!
    .-= K´s last blog ..Reflect =-.

  12. Thanks @madysondesigns for the post, Eight More Cre­ative Ladies – I’m on the list, along with some truly cre­ative ladies!

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  13. alexheizer says:

    Eight More Cre­ative Ladies – Madyson blog –

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  14. LenaG1 says:

    A site you should check out. It holds the sto­ries of 6 women.If you want to be inspired go to What are you wait­ing for?

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  15. Lena G. says:

    If read­ing these sto­ries does not inspire you to go and fol­low your dreams no mat­ter what your age, colour or back­ground, then I don’t know what will. Trully magical.

    Thank you for shar­ing your sto­ries.
    Thank you for inspir­ing and show­ing that there is always hope to achieve your dreams.
    Thank you for being the amaz­ing women that you are.

  16. Get inspired by these Eight Cre­ative Ladies!

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  17. mishikraz says:

    In case you missed it, I was fea­tured in today’s “Eight More Cre­ative Ladies” post by @MadysonDesigns!

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  18. Great post Sarah. Thanks for pro­vid­ing an insight and some back­ground info on these awe­some designers. :-)

  19. Look­ing for some cre­ative gals to fol­low? Fol­low them every day, not just #followfriday!

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  20. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much guys, I’m glad you all enjoyed the arti­cle! There truly are inspir­ing gals here.

  21. FreelanceSw says:

    Eight More Cre­ative Ladies

    This com­ment was orig­i­nally posted on Twit­ter

  22. Sara says:

    This is great, thanks for shar­ing! I hope you do a third set of awe­some cre­ative women!

  23. Diana Adams says:

    Hello Sarah and thank you for includ­ing me on this list with these extra­or­di­nary women! I’m hon­ored. What an inspi­ra­tional post.