Camilla Engman

Camilla Engman is an incredibly talented artist, illustrator, and graphic designer. She lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with her friend Morran, possibly the most popular dog in the blog universe. Her work is sold at many different shops including her own.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your inspiration wall?

Maria's big and wonderful spoon photo is hanging on my "wire" waiting to be framed. Some recipes (bills) from my trip to Istanbul --- you don't get handwritten bills very often so this makes me happy. I like the layers that the bag and leaf creates. The leaf is also there because of its graphic shape. Then there is a print from Camilla in Italy and another on from Jules in Australia.

Sometimes the same things hang there for a long time, sometimes I change often. I hang things there for different reasons. Sometimes it is because of pity. I've made something that I know just will end up in one of my drawers. So to give it some kind of acknowledgment, I hang it on my wall for a while. I hang things there that I want to remember, small fragments that inspire me. Things I've done and want to use in a bigger work. Things I don't know where else to put or simply just things I like.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Right now, everything that has something to do with paper.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Listen, really listen, to some good music. Looking through a new book or magazine. Or just take it easy so I'm able to take in more.

How do you come up with your next idea?

Take a long walk, think about the subject. Surf around the web plus all of the things above.

You are a professional illustrator/artist. Where does your training come from?

Two years at Art School and later five years at the School of Design and Craft, Gothenburg University.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

I try to only do things that I like, things that I want to do.

How do you manage that? Do you have any advice for those who feel they don't have enough time to pursue the things they really want to do?

No, I don't have any advice. Well, maybe one ... don't get used to too much money. If I do an illustration job, I do it for myself in the first place. Of course, the client has to like it. But for me, where I am now, it's more important that I like it.

What's your perfect creativity-inspiring day?

Every day that makes me feel happy and strong.

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

So many. It's incredible how many talented people there are out there! One blog that has followed me from the beginning is Keri Smith's. I subscribe to Selvedge magazine; every new issue is a great inspiration source.

What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?

None, this is my only talent :)

Do you remember something that really inspired you back in the beginning?

Maira Kalman inspired me to become an illustrator. Back in my blog beginning I was very much inspired by Rosa Pomar's dolls and website.

What is your favorite color? Has it always been the same?

I love colours. I don't have any favorite but I have some that I really don't like --- a bright blue from the 80's and some purple shades.

What is your favorite thing in your studio and/or house?

The light.

Is what you are doing now your dream job?

This is definitely my dream job! I can't think of anything better.


Camilla's Blog

Camilla's Website

Camilla's Flickr

Camilla's Shop



Meg Rooks makes things. She is a mother, a librarian, and a crafty genius. She likes thrift stores and photography and old children's books, and she turns them into something uniquely Meg.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?

I'm obsessed with old children's books and children's book illustrators so there is a good representation of those up there.

Then there are artists that inspire me --- my good friend Jen Judd-McGee, Betsy Thompson, Lisa Congdon...

Then there are lots of old and new pictures of my family. I'm very nostalgic.

How often do you change your board?

I'm always adding things to the board and taking things down, so it's always changing.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Right now I'm really into illustrators from the 1960s and 70s. I love love love Brian Wildsmith, Leo Lionni, and Trina Schart Hyman. I am also a big fan of earlier folk illustrators like Esphyr Slobodkina and Lois Lenski.

And I've always been a big fan of patchwork and collage. I like a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated stuff jumbled together in an aesthetically pleasing way.

What's your favorite color?

I don't have a favorite color but I do enjoy a lot of color and usually like it peppered with some black.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

I rarely stick to one craft for any length of time --- I definitely get sick of making the same things over and over again. So I go back and forth between crafts. And since most of my work relies heavily on thrifted materials, a good haul from the thrift store or a flea market can be an excellent shot of inspiration.

How do you come up with your next idea?

I shamelessly steal other people's ideas. Craft blogs, magazines, etc. I'm pretty brazen. Just kidding (sort of :)). Really, though, these are usually jumping-off points for my own ideas.

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

There are way too many to list --- I wouldn't know where to start. I will say that I really enjoy older craft books (60s and 70s). I find them very inspiring (and often amusing).

How long have you been making your art? How did you start?

I've always envied and been intimidated by crafty/creative/artistic people. It wasn't until I had children and began staying home with them full-time that I got enough of an itch to try making things myself. I think arts and crafts are appealing to a lot of moms because the day-to-day work of mothering doesn't offer up a lot of tangible results, if that makes sense. I think I felt that way, at least. Anyway, I started off with decoupage and knitting and have since started sewing and rug hooking a little and am always wanting to try something new.

What is your background?

I have a B.A. in history and an M.L.S. in library science.

What's your day job?
I'm a librarian at a school for deaf children 20 hours a week.

Tell us a little bit about your blog and your business.

It's small. I have an etsy shop that I opened about a year and a half ago. I started a blog a little over a year ago to help promote the shop. Now I blog a lot but don't update the shop very often. I'm gearing up to do a show or two this fall. The craft business is definitely a side thing that I love and do when I have the time/motivation.

How do you balance mothering and your creative pursuits?

Oy. That's been a tough one lately. I just started working my library job more, which has really cut into my kid-free craft time. Basically my craft time is after the kids go to bed, when I can peel my lazy butt off the couch. :)

Where does your training come from?

I'm mostly self-taught but would love to go back and take classes now (especially photography, illustration, painting...).

What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?

I can dance an irish jig and reel.

Do you listen to music while you work?

Yes, always and almost all kinds. Frequently, though, I'm listening to my daughter play the piano.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of, and why?

I'm really proud of a rug I hooked for a friend a few years ago and a sweater I knit. Both were first major projects (rug hooking and knitting) and both just gave me a really satisfied sense of accomplishment.

What are some of your current projects?

I just started a new hooked rug that I'm pretty psyched about. And I'm getting back into decoupage and thinking about trying out some different materials. We'll see how that goes

Is there something new you want to try?

Yes --- there is no end to new things I want to try.


Pixiegenné blog

Pixiegenné Etsy shop


Wise Craft

Blair Stocker has worked as a textile and apparel designer, and she now crafts in many different mediums. She writes about her life and her work on her popular blog Wise Craft and sells some of her work on Etsy.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?

Swatches of fabric that feel pretty to me right now, a print from my friend Jen of Swallowfield which has beautiful color and simple lines, sweater woolens. There is a floral arrangement from the October Martha Stewart Living magazine that made me gasp (dark maroons mixed with greens and salmony pinks, inspired by Dutch paintings), and almost every page of the Fall 07
Boden catalog (beautiful). Woolen hot water bottle covers (because I'm officially in nesting mode).

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Fall itself! Big, bulky, woolen plaids with bright shots of color in them, stag heads and tramp art. Amy Butler prints (her prints fell off my radar for a while, but I am officially in love with the new ones).

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Cleaning my studio always recharges me. If I simply can't get motivated to create and start sewing, I'll take an afternoon to go through my space, organize and throw out. Suddenly I can't wait to get in there and make something.

How do you come up with your next idea?

I carry a Moleskine journal with me everywhere. In it, I jot down ideas, no matter how small, the minute I get them because otherwise I will never remember them, which is sad but very true. It's fun to sit down with that journal later and go back over pages and pages of quick sketches and ideas. That's usually enough to spark an idea.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of, and why?

The quilts I've made for my family. Quilts really do feel like some sort of usable, functional artwork, as well as a legacy. Hopefully they will be around for my grandkids to use.

What activity inspires you?

Anything that gets me to try something new and gets out of my comfort zone. Like the other day when I went roller skating.

And how did that go?

I'm proud to say I didn't fall!

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

I'm kind of a craft book junkie, recently elevated to include decorating books too. My favorite ones right now are Amy Butler's Midwest Modern, Floral House, Jane Cumberbatch books.

What's your favorite color? Has it always been the same?

Green, has been since I was 8. Before that it was pink.

What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?

I can do uncanny voice imitations. Uncanny, really!

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what kind?

Any and everything ... classical, 80's alternative music, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Or if I'm looking for something new I'll just see what my husband Peter is playing in his office, 'cause it's usually good.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

"Teach us delight in simple things." -- Rudyard Kipling


Wise Craft blog

Blair's Etsy shop

E-mail Blair


Secret Agent Josephine

Brenda Ponnay, AKA Super Agent Josephine, is an artist and mother, a graphic designer and illustrator, a blogger and a shop owner.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?

For some reason I have a lot of turquoise on my board right now. I don't know why. Maybe the Color Fashion Lords have decided that is the color they are going to push this last fall or something (most of my magazine clippings are from free magazines I was sent from fall). I really like the Tiffany ad and the cover page of the Anthropologie catalogue juxtaposed together. I don't usually like turquoise but these photos use it in the best way possible. I love the chlorine bleached out feeling of the blue. It makes me think of summer and big clear skies, dry dust deserts (where I grew up) stuff like that. I don't have a rhyme or reason for what I tear out and keep up on my board. It's purely emotional but I find myself echoing these emotions in my design work.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

I guess I already answered that. I'd also say that fall is really inspiring me right now. Rich textures. Wallpapers (I have some on my board), dark-edged photos... I've found myself editing my own photos this way to make them more storybook-like. I think this time of year I am more eclectic in my designs. I don't mind things getting cozy and cluttered. Whereas other times of the year I will just want simple and clean lines. Right now I just want to drink hot chocolate and think about apples and pumpkin pie. I think my inspiration board reflects that.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Drink coffee. Seriously, that's all I need. I suffer from well over-spillage. I have so many ideas trying to get out of my head I often get frustrated. It's hard being a full-time mom and still letting my inner artist have free rein. I hardly ever get writer's block or the blank-screen syndrome. If I do I just take a spin through some of my favorite artists' galleries and before I know it I'm brimming with my own new ideas.

How do you come up with your next idea?

They just hit me. In the shower, in the car... A lot of my ideas are pieces and parts of my brain trying to solve a problem. Right now I'm trying to find something for my daughter to carry on Halloween. A trick-or-treat bag. I can't find anything anywhere that I like. So I'm hatching up my own design. And of course this trick-or-treat design is overflowing into everything else too. Once I get an idea I run with it until I'm sick of it.

How long have you been making your art? How did you start?

I started at my job as a graphic designer. The company I worked for never liked to buy art so sometimes I would make my own. I was really, really bad at first but I got better and better. I used to make maps. I think that's where I got proficient at using Illustrator.

What is your background?

Journalism actually. Worked on the school paper and got good at using the computer. I broke in that way. I never went to art school. (Which to highly trained artists will be painfully obvious.)

What's your day job?


Tell us a little bit about your blog/business.

I work at night and during the baby's nap times making primarily vector graphics. Logos, web banners, etc... and graphic design. I think graphic design will haunt me forever. But that's not a bad thing.

Is there something new you want to try?

Screen printing or Gocco printing. I know it's really messy but the idea of mass producing my designs in my own home makes me get all googly eyed.

Any advice to the many people who are inspired by you?

You always find time to do what you want to do. Pick your three top things and do them well. Don't sweat it if you can't do EVERYTHING.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

Do what you love and the money will follow. I have no idea who said that.

What activity inspires you?

Drinking coffee.

What place inspires you?

Don't laugh. Starbucks inspires me (a theme with me, they should pay me). They have great packaging designers. I should say the ocean and my daughter's eyes inspire me... and they do. My daughter is my muse. But a lot of times I'm inspired by other designers' work. I dissect what they do and try to copy them in my own way.

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

Penelope Dullaghan,
Wee Wonderfuls, Paris Breakfasts, Anna Maria Horner ... There are so many I hardly can keep up! I don't keep up. I just pick and choose randomly.

Do you have anything else you want to tell us about yourself?

I don't really take myself that seriously. It sounds like it in my answers. Really I'm just a mom and I fit some other stuff in around the edges.


Secret Agent Josephine's Blog

Secret Agent Josephine's Etsy Shop



This blog was established as a companion to the Inspiration Boards flickr group.

Many of the creative artists, writers, and crafters whose inspiration walls, wires, boards, and displays have been featured in Inspiration Boards have agreed to be interviewed about their inspirations here.

Please stay tuned as we share the people, things, and places that inspire us, as well as what helps us keep our creativity alive.