Designer Profile: 10 Questions With……. Chris Durnan of Visual Designs by Chis Durnan

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Chris Durnan is considered one of the top cutting file designers working in the industry today. She is almost as well known for her marketing savvy as her signature clean elegant design style. Chris is Quilling Patch’s featured designer in current “Designer Profile” Series and has generously offered one of her files to for readers download and enjoy. I know Chris and I would be thrilled if you could post project you completed using her file!

Name: Chris Durnan

Location :Tucson, Arizona

website: www.visualdesignsbychris.com

My Blog:

http://visualdesignsbychris.blogspot.com

Where can people buy your cutting files and designs : at my Store

1) How did you get started cutting and then designing files?

After a history in graphic design and my hubby begged me to buy a Craft Robo (only so I would stop talking about it.. he was totally wrong now I talk about files all the time.), I started offering one free file a day on my blog, but I needed to support my family to. So I had the ability to take an addiction to cutter files and make it into something that supports my family and my crafting habit. Both Designing smooth files and Cutting has become a passion. I am neurotic about nodes. The best compliments I have ever gotten were that my files “cut like butter”.

2) What kind of craft projects do you like to work on?
Wow, to pin it down would be so hard. This past weekend I worked with rhinestones, vinyl, carveable pumpkin, cut some of my files for some cards and downloaded a digi-scrap kit to put together some pages for my son as I try to catch up and now have a hybrid scrapbook. So if it looks interesting and fun I will do it. And if I can include my little ones help I will do that one first. And I am always working on my QMC. The Quarterly Membership Club is so much fun. I work off topic lists put forth by members and throw in a few of my own spices. It is a project for sure, but one I love. Every quarter with new files makes it the best one yet for me. I have members that come back every quarter. It is the best creative “project” I have and outlet.


3) What was your first machine?

Craft Robo

4) What machines do you have now?
This is embarrassing… A Craft ROBO
, 15 inch Klik-n-kut, and a Cricut Expression… I can be found perusing a good deal on other machines as well. I like to tinker and see how they work.. So if you hear of any .. let me know .

5) If you could only have ONE cutter- what would it be?
I sell cutter files and not cutters so I am not addicted to any particular machine I like each of them for their own purposes. My craft robo was a good start, but I grew out of it quickly, my Klik-n-kut is so nice to have room to just stick a 12×12 piece of paper in there and I find myself cutting handmade papers on it and different items that I would worry about with the other machines. My Cricut is so easy to pull out and go. My son loves to use it which makes me happy to see as well.


6) If someone new to cutting was looking at buying their first digital cutter what entry level digital cutter what would you recommend and why?

For me they all have their perks. Just depends on what perks you need. Not many may agree with me, but I think big priority when looking at machines is software. I recommend often for folks to find the tutorials & videos for the software and see how it works. If you can’t function the software then you are gonna be frustrated and not like your machine. Just like every person thinks of things differently, the softwares vary greatly and from one user to the next may not intuitively work the same. Then from their choose your machine that goes with that software. Many of the softwares crossover to multiple machines. And big priority is help. If you buy a program or machine that has nothing out there to help you it can also be another big frustration. All I can say is buy one and put it on a counter that you have access to. If it is out you will use. And if you use it. You will love it and come up with more and more reasons to use it. If you store it in a cupboard you won’t familiarize yourself with it as much.


7) What software do you use to design and cut?

I create in Adobe Illustrator and then move out from there to all the cutter programs. I find I can get the smoothes cuts this way. And I usually cut from the KNK software or Sure Cuts A Lot. It depends on if I am in the dining room where the Cricut is conveniently hidden or in the craft room where the Klik-n-kut has its home.

8) What project are you working on right now?
I am working on Holiday gifts. I am hoping for a Handmade holiday. So I have a bunch of little projects going. I have etched a vase for my Mother in Law that says “collecting seashells with grandma”, a baby book for a close friends grandson, a decorated fall pumpkin, and an acrylic album for my niece. So lots going on . Thank goodness I have a craft room where I can leave it messy and never have to put a project away before it’s finished.
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9) Do you have a favourite file or design? Why?

I have over 500 files. This is a totally unfair question.. hmmm.. . I really realize how much I love a file when a Creative Team member or a user sends me a picture of it in use. Then I just fall in love with a file. You never know if anyone will like a file as much as you do, but to see that someone took something I put together and used it on their projects for their family members and as a part of their history. That is phenomenal. I really enjoy working on Jumbles and figuring out how to cut it in one piece with lots of detail, but I really like elements and flourishes and pretty frames the most. I will add them often into a file just for extra oomph. Like this Cowgirl file,

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the extra flourish in the background could be used for anything, but I really like it. I definitely am not into just silhouette images. I have to have titles and pieces and extras. And multiple uses. I have this file.. Joy Love Peace and Happiness. And I thought well it could work for a wedding or an ornament. Then I posted a weekly challenge in the forum and asked for something hanging and Lisa outdid herself and made it into an ornament. SO SO Awesome. That is what makes a file my favorite. Seeing someone else’s take on it.

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10) What are your three favourite scrapbooking/papercrafting tools? (Aside from your cutter :-) )
My three favorite tools… Something I use regularly was posted in the forum by my Creative Team Member Angie. It is a project sheet. One where I can jot an idea down or the verbage for a scrapbook layout or card. I keep a binder with clear slip covers in it and when I get pieces I just slip them in behind the project sheet. When I have all the items together I can do a few pages at once. I love it. I have extras printed waiting to be filled in. Next would be my Glue Glider I love it for quick sticking. I hate glue. Drives me crazy to have it on my fingers. I always takes recommendations and try them because I am looking for a better glue always. And then beside my cutter is.. The Paper Gator
.. it is another form of cutter I guess. I use it on everything. I love rounded corners. I use it when I cut down mats and don’t want pokey edges. It sits on my bench and gets used often.

Free File available for limited time – ( please attach zip, image etc)
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Free Sled Cutting File

Download of the free sled file in AI, SCUT , GSD, SVG, WPC and KNK from Chris Durnan was a limited offer and no longer available.

Thank you to Lisa for spotlighting me in her designer series. I really love to create cutter files and have a lot of fun doing it. I have gained some great friendships along the way. If you are looking for ideas or things to get your “cutting instead of collecting”, visit the forum. We have a monthly Sketch Challenge with die cut files approved by Becky Fleck of pagemaps, and a weekly challenge hosted by different designers from the “more” team in our store. So lots to do!

A Special Offer from Chris
coupon code for chris durnan cutting files

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Designer Profile: 10 Questions with…. Shirley Clark of Shirley Clark Designs


This month I am featuring another favourite cutting file designer, Shirley Clark. You can buy Shirley’s designs at Paperthreads.com and she is featuring a Father’s Day sale 45% off all her files until Midnight on Father’s day. This is a FANTASTIC deal- Shirley has some of the most innovative designs I have ever seen. She does some amazing 3-d work that you will not find anywhere else. Fro example her All Occasion Purse Treat/Gift Box and I love her Christmas: A Treat Box Collection.

All of Shirley’s work is top notch and she takes great pride on her designs. I do not say this lightly and very proud to have her featured as s featured designer in my Designer Profile series.

10 Questions with…. Shirley Clark

Picture-Shirleyb Name: Shirley Clark
Location : Cross Plains, Texas
Blog: http://www.paperthreads.com/blog/shirleysdesigns/

Where can people buy your cutting files and designs? 
Shirley Clark Designs at Paperthreads.com

How did you get started cutting and then designing files?

It all started with paper embroidery and card making.  Then I thought a few die-cuts would be a great addition for my cards.  But they are so expensive and it took the fun out of it!  Then my step-daughter called and changed my life.  She told me about a machine called a Wishblade.  Her husband had bought her one for Christmas.  So, I sweet talked my husband and ordered one!  I joined Paperthreads Forum and began learning how to use my Wishblade and make my own files.  I hated Inkscape, so I did all my designing in the Wishblade Software.   About 4 months later, I wanted to be able to do more.  I bought Illustrator CS2 and the rest is history!   The added perk to having Illustrator was being able to cut to my Wishblade from Illustrator.  It turned my Wishblade into a quieter, faster and more efficient machine.

What kind of projects do you like to work on?

I like cardmaking and designing 3D items such as purses, treat boxes, etc.  I’ve just started stamping and enjoy that as well.  I’m awaiting the arrival of my first set of Copic Markers, so I’m sure that will enhance my stamping addiction.  Did I say addiction?  I don’t have any addictions.  Okay, maybe I’m addicted to paper and anything you can make with it.  So that’s considered one addiction, right?

What was your first digital die cutting machine?

My first machine was the old blue Wishblade.  I still love that machine!

What machines do you have now?

I still have the Wishblade.  I upgraded it to a KNK Element, but  when the KNK Maxx came out, I sold the Element and bought the 15 inch.  The KNK Maxx is my dream machine.

If you could only have ONE cutter- what would it be?

I would have my 15 inch KNK Maxx.  I love it!

If someone new to cutting was looking at buying their first digital cutter what entry level digital cutter what would you recommend and why?

I would suggest they go for the KNK Maxx (or the KNK Groove-e).  I think it is a great for entry level.  I see so many buy other machines and eventually end up trading up until they end up with a cutter that can do more than the one they had.  So I suggest a cutter newbie start out with what I consider the best then you don’t have to worry about selling your old machine to get what you end up wanting later.

Why a KNK Groove-e or KNK Maxx?

I started out with my Wishblade.  I found it was too limiting in cutting width and I wanted to cut chipboard.  So I bought the KNK Element because it would cut wider paper.  I assured my husband that I would never want to cut anything wider than what the Element could do.  But as time passed, I wanted to cut and design some 3D items that needed even more width.  So, I’m now on my 3rd machine and I have the cutting width and pressure I want.

Another reason I would buy KNK Cutters is because they are quality machines.  I have had excellent company support from Paperthreads and Accugraphics.  There is also great support through the KNK Yahoo Groups.

Often when buying one of the cheaper machines, you need additional software in which to design, and even cut through.  Even though I don’t use the software for KNK, I have played with it a little bit and find that it is pretty easy to use.  It has a great manual for setting up and using the cutter and the software.  There are step by step instructions that will help you design just about anything you want.  If the great manual isn’t enough, there is excellent support through the KNK Yahoo groups and at the Paperthreads Forum.  I’m thrilled with my KNK Maxx?  After having the machine for several months and knowing what I know now, I would buy the same machine all over again.

What software do you use to design and cut?

As mentioned earlier, I started out using the Wishblade software.  Then I purchased Illustrator CS2.  I recently upgraded to CS4.  I love Illustrator for designing.  I can easily take my Illustrator files and convert them to GSD, KNK, WPC and SVG file formats.  Illustrator is what I’m comfortable with and I doubt I will ever change to anything else.  But after playing with KNK software some, I think the KNK software would be my second choice.

Although I design in Illustrator, I do my cutting through the KNK software.  It has a lot of great features for cutting that I love!  My favorite feature it block nesting.  It places your pieces in such a way to best use your paper.  It is a great way to conserve our precious paper!

What project are you working on right now?

Currently I’m working on some files for a fundraiser at Paperthreads.  One of our designer’s husband is battling cancer for the second time.  He won’t be able to work during his treatment.  So some of the designers have decided to offer a membership club where you get 50 plus files for $15.00.  All proceeds will go to Carrie and Scott Schwartz.  Here’s a link to the membership!

Here are a few of the files I’ve finished for the fundraiser.
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Zoo Titles

Do you have a favourite file or design? Why?

My favorite design?  Oh my.  I have so many favorites.  My all time favorite is probably a card file called “For God So Loved the World II.”  I just love how this card cuts and how it looks when finished.  Jesus looks so realistic and has piercing eyes.  This file is a testament to my faith.

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What are your three favourite scrapbooking/papercrafting  tools? 

I love the Color Box Fluid Chalk.  They are small and easy to use.  A little fluid chalk can change the entire look of your project.

I love the At You Spica Pens.  They give just the right amount of sparkle to a project.  The clear one is truly clear and lets the underlying color shine through while adding glitter.  They are great for adding a little bling to your project.

I also love my Purple Cow 2-in-1 Trimmer   It’s easy to use, cuts great and locks the paper in place.  It has a rotary and guillotine style cutting edge.  The rotary blades come in many different edges.  I use it a lot and I get great cuts every time.

Note from LISA- I HAVE to get one of these! I have never seen them in Canada tho :( !!!! )

If any of you are ever in the Cross Plains, Texas area, stop by Clark Park.  We’d love to meet you!  But here’s a word of caution.  You might not want to leave!  We love it here!

Shirley’s Exclusive Free Purse Cutting File:
Shirley is offering one of her designs free to Quilling Patch visitors for a limited time. It is FANTASTIC! She is letting us download have a free 3-D purse/gift bag cutting file- great for party favors, wedding bombonieres , showers and more!

Free Purse Treat Box Cutting File in WPC GSD KNK AI and SVG Format

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The cutting file is Round purse and the zipped file contains detailed instructions and files are avialable in WPC, GSD, SVG, AI and KNK format.
Download Shirley Clark’s “Round Purse” HERE