Amy: the long version

Amy
My professor swiveled her chair to face me. Her eye roll was implicit.
"One day you'll have to realize you can't be an astronaut and a cowgirl."
My silent protest: Listen lady, I really can't help it.
I started Tangibilia because astro-girls innovate.

 

I grew up in central Wisconsin in a family of cowboys/girls and astronauts. In college, I had to squeeze in the core courses for an English degree because I switched majors so many times: English, Studio Art, World Religions, Art History. Back to English. I love them all and above all I wanted to understand how they interconnect. When I graduated I still could not envision what sort of career I wanted, but not for lack of trying. It was difficult to figure out where I fit. My dad—an artist and an environmentalist—suggested museums. If there was anywhere I could find my niche, it would be where art, storytelling, and human experience intersect.

I was fortunate to be accepted into a wonderful graduate program (Winterthur Program in American Material Culture through the University of Delaware), where I learned to weave my interests and sharpen my skills. I ultimately spent the first 15 years of my career at Winterthur Museum. After joining the exhibitions department in 2001, I studied graphic design on the side and summoned the nerve to ask if I could typeset the museum's gallery labels. They took me up on it, and over the years I worked my way up, wearing nearly every hat in the exhibition development and graphic design process. Eventually I took over all exhibition graphic design and was part of the team that developed everything from story structure to aesthetic appearance for each exhibition. I loved working with and learning from so many talented and knowledgeable people—at Winterthur, other museums, and throughout the broader creative community. Being there was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Eventually I started to wonder how my skills and experience might translate to other projects. On evenings and weekends I wrote, illustrated, and designed a children's book for families with a parent on the autism spectrum, which was published under a pen name in 2016. I took on side projects designing wedding invitations, business cards, and logos. I hand-printed clothing, textiles, and paper goods. As much as I loved my job and was proud of our team, I wanted to see what else I could do. So in 2016 I took the plunge into freelance work and started Tangibilia. 

When I'm not conjuring up new projects, I love spending time with my family and our crew of silly pets. I also enjoy traveling, reading, time with friends, and puttering around my yard in beautiful Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Photo: A bride and a princess, age four.