For the Love of Books [Artist Chat with Joanne Sharpe]


When mixed media “whimsical art maker” Joanne Sharpe agreed to join the Handcrafted Holidays team of teachers, I couldn’t wait to get a chance to sit down and talk with her for our “artist chat.”

After learning about Joanne’s story, our talk turned to our mutual adoration of books. Of course, since she is best known for her lettering, I shouldn’t have been surprised that she loves words, books and pretty printed things.


Why books matter…

1) Pretty Printed Things

Since our world has become so electronic with ecards and gift cards, receiving a physical card or anything handmade in the mail becomes an event. Joanne and I even share the affinity to read from physical books rather than from a tablet or Kindle, preferring the tactile experience of touching paper and flipping the pages. With the popularity of art journaling, scrap booking, sewing and pimped out planners, we think there are many others who feel the same.

2) Books Bring Positive Energy

Even when I was back in college and grad school, I schlepped my book collection from place to place. They made any dorm I lived in feel like home. Now, I don’t even need to take down my books and look through them. I can just glance at the spines to make me happy and by looking at the books I can get inspired from the artist who wrote it or by the style the book is about. Books help capture the spirit of ideas and remind you of dream makers. So, don’t forget to touch your amazing collection of books or keep them within eye’s reach for inspiration and aspiration.

3) Books as Souvenirs

Despite being a very modern teenager, my 16-year-old son also prefers books over ereaders and likes to collect them for his bookcase. He considers each completed book that graces his shelf a “trophy” and a testament to his intellectual prowess. When you travel, you bring home photos of your adventures. When you paint a picture, the painting is the souvenir of that painting process. When you read, the book on your shelf is a physical reminder of the adventure of your imagination.


About Joanne Sharpe

Unlike many of us whose families may have encouraged us to pursue something “we could make a living with,” Joanne’s dad insisted she become an artist, because “God gave you that talent; he doesn’t give it to everyone.” At the time, she considered studying social work in college, because she wanted to work with people. Ultimately, she pursued degrees in art education, and taught K-12 art for 20 years in order to guarantee a salary while helping people at the same time.

For years, Joanne had a small studio where she held summer classes for kids and began teaching adults. Then, she was asked to write an article for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and became a teacher for one of their retreats. Today, Joanne calls herself a Renaissance Woman, who “loves it all” when it comes to art—mixed media, lettering, doodling, sewing, painting as well as teaching classes.

Her latest book, The Art of Whimsical Living: A Coloring Book for Play and Purpose, comes out at the end of this year and her fourth book will be available March 2017. She also travels as a Bernina Brand Ambassador to share whimsical stitching and quilting techniques.


A Sneak Peek at Joanne’s Pretty Painted Things

You will love learning Joanne’s lettering technique using metallic watercolors in her lesson “Golden Lettering” for the Handcrafted Holidays class!


All the projects can be adapted for not only your holiday celebrations, but for other times of the year as well.

After all, gifts from the heart are for all seasons!

Add Handcrafted Holidays to your online library this fall so you can join in our Merry art making fun.

Here are just a few reasons to say yes for the Handcrafted Holidays class:


Connect with 10 Inspirational Art Teachers


Join us for our newest class, Handcrafted Holidays! It’s a smorgasbord of teachers. Enjoy them buffet style as you sample ideas for crafted gifts for the holidays!



Are you ready to create your own handmade gifts from the heart?

Colorful Advent Calendar with Carolyn Dube • Mexican Star Piñata with Danita Art  Poinsettia Mola with Jane LaFazioGift Boxes with Marjie Kemper • Wrapping Embellishments with Andrea Gomoll  Inspirational Word Ornaments with Miriam Schulman  Wonder Poppets with Mystele Paint  Star Ornament with Blenda Tyvoll  Tzedakah Box with Jessica Sporn  Golden Letters with Joanne Sharpe  •


  • Nothing compares to giving handcrafted gifts from the heart to your loved ones.
  • Our online format gives you the guidance you need and step-by-step instructions so you will complete your project without the frustration of going it alone.
  • Plus you’ll have the bonus of external accountability to get your holiday projects done in time!
  • Our teacher team has done the heavy lifting of figuring out 10 unique gifts to create, so you won’t need to struggle to come up with ideas.

Registration now CLOSED.

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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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