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An Eye for Art: Westminster paper artist enjoys producing handmade cards

Yvonne Zeminski is a paper artist from Westminster. Zeminski first became interested in art in junior high school. She enjoyed going into the neighboring community to draw houses and buildings. “I liked the symmetry of the buildings,” she said.

Zeminski’s first artistic adventure outside of school was learning how to macramé when she was in her early 20s. She made knotted rope plant hangers and wall hangings. She used test tubes as vases to hold the plants.

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Her next pursuit in the arts and crafts world came by chance. In 1995, Zeminski was shopping in Westminster when a thunderstorm came up. She was in the Hickory Stick store on Liberty Street and told the owner, Sandy Scott, that she would be stuck there for a while. Zeminski had known Scott for a long time. To pass the time, Scott showed Zeminski a complete business case of stamping supplies for art projects. “Scott showed me how to use rubber stamp pigment ink. When she sprinkled embossing powder over the ink, heated with a heat gun it produced an embossed image,” Zeminski said.

A Valentine’s Day card made with mercury glass paper and image stamped on paper to look like old photograph.
A Valentine’s Day card made with mercury glass paper and image stamped on paper to look like old photograph. (Lyndi McNulty)

Zeminski was intrigued. She bought a few things but not the heat gun which was expensive for an art project. The gun has the same intensity as a stove burner. “I played with it and heated it over the stove, not a safe way to do it,” she said. A week later she bought a heat gun. From there, she has fallen in love with the process.

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Zeminski also uses dye ink. It dries immediately but does not give the embossed look.

Zeminski began to go to rubber stamp shows. “The best show was Artiology in New Jersey where prominent stamp artists display their work and do demonstrations,” she said.

She also continued to go to classes. Zeminski took classes from a local high school teacher, Pamela Malkin. “She was a great teacher. Her motto was, ‘Remember it’s only paper.’ Sometimes mistakes are a welcome accident,” Zeminski said. “Although sometimes it gets stressful when it is the only piece of pattern paper I have for the project.”

Then Zeminski expanded her learning and took classes from well-known teachers in the industry, such as Tim Holtz who has his own die cut line, rubber stamp line and dye inks. She took his classes at the Queen’s Ink, in Savage. Zeminski also took classes from Michelle Ward, Christine Adolph and Anna Dabrowska (aka Finnabair).

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Zeminski has applied the concepts about what she learned from experts to her card making. “Some of my favorite cards are the ones for birthdays for my husband and son. I took a picture of my son as a baby, playing the piano with his arms outstretched. I cut it out, printed a model airplane and put the cut-out image of him in the airplane,” Zeminski said.

Zeminski made a pop-up birthday card with bicycles for her great-nephew.
Zeminski made a pop-up birthday card with bicycles for her great-nephew. (Lyndi McNulty)

“For another card, I rummaged through his old toy box and found a mini transformer. I attached it to a pop up card along with small games. It was a memory,” Zeminski said.

She also takes old CD covers and makes collages from them.

Zeminski retired from Farmers and Merchants Bank after 25 years on Dec. 31, 2020. She worked in the banking industry for 41 years.

She has been collecting supplies for her cards for 26 years. Ribbon, paper, bling, a hot table for embossing, a die cut table, and racks of rubber stamps fill her craft room to the brim. Zeminski also has sheets of handmade papers that she hangs up.

She has pop up cards and 5x7 cards, called A-7 cards. She can also make 4.25 x 5.5 note cards, called A-2 cards.

“It is an honor and privilege to make cards. People ask me to make a card for a 60th anniversary card, a wife’s birthday or other milestones or life celebrations.” When designing a card, she considers the theme, colors and symbols that are part of the event. “I am touched they want my work,” Zeminski said. In the past two months she has made 50 cards for orders. They take several hours to make a card by the time she selects images and colors. "

Local paper artist Yvonne Zeminski is pictured with a collection of her cards created for the Wedding Show at Offtrack art, being held in May and June.
Local paper artist Yvonne Zeminski is pictured with a collection of her cards created for the Wedding Show at Offtrack art, being held in May and June. (Lyndi McNulty)

Currently, Zeminski is a guest artist at Offtrack Art Co-Operative and Gallery at 11 Liberty St. in Westminster. Her cards are part of the current wedding show being held in May and June. Details are at www.offtrackart.com. According to its website, Offtrack Art presents The Wedding Show, curated by Andi Rowinski and Linda Van Hart. “We want to let local wedding planners, future brides and grooms to know that their special day can be customized with handmade, high quality one-of-a-kind items by talented local artists,” stated Linda Van Hart.

Zeminski can be contacted at elegantinkz@gmail.com. Her Facebook business page is Elegant InkZ. You can send a request to join the page.

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmo’s Art in Westminster. Her column, An Eye for Art, appears regularly in Life & Times.

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