Travis Nichols interview

July 14, 2010, 14:49 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

The following is an excerpt of Vickie Howell’s interview with Travis Nichols. The full interview can been seen in her book: Craft Corps

VH: What’s your first craft-related memory?

TN: In second grade, I used to make pop-up books in school with a couple of other kids, just for fun. I learned how to make springs out of paper by folding pieces over on themselves. Then, I would pop out stuff like monsters, swords, or things like that.

VH: Is there a moment from your childhood connected to craft that really stands out for you?

TN: Indirectly, my mom and dad always encouraged us to be creative and make things.

VH: Were they artists themselves?

TN: Yes. My mom’s now a full-time photographer, after teaching for 30 years. My dad was primarily a musician. My uncle was an artist. So art is always something I’ve been around, and people have encouraged me to do it.

VH: Do you have a memory as a professional artist that will always stick with you?

TN: When I had my first solo art show, I realized that aside from just making crafts and art, I really like putting shows together and packaging the things I do into presentation form.

VH: Was that the first time you also presented craft pieces, versus just showing your paintings?

TN: Before that, I’d been making comic books and other craft things, more so than painting. I got back into painting, though, and also incorporated handmade greeting cards and little door hangers. Since then, I always incorporate my craft stuff along with my art. If you can’t buy a painting, then there’ll be cheaper items you can pick up—something for everybody.

VH: Did you go to art school or are you self-taught?

TN: I did not go to art school—I kind of wish I did, though. I went to Texas Tech University, and my major was studies in fine arts and technology: graphic design, photography, music technology, and science fiction as literature. I also went to New York for an internship, where I worked for a magazine and was going to art galleries everyday. When I came back to Lubbock, Texas, I opened an art gallery with a friend. I don’t know if I could have done that if I’d gone to an art school, especially in a bigger city.

VH: Why not, because the gallery scene would’ve been over-saturated?

TN: That, and it would’ve been too expensive. I don’t ever want to regret where I went to school, because I got involved with the music scene in Lubbock, and that experience got me where I am today. I’m okay with that.

VH: You’re not doing too shabby these days, I must say!

TN: I think I’m doing okay.

VH: For artists and crafters, thinking we’re “okay” is good. Huge, even.

TN: For me, I never let myself get excited about anything for too long, because I don’t want that to be the peak.

VH: And you wait for the other shoe to drop.

TN: I’m always like, “Okay, that’s good, but now what’s next?” My mom always says, “Aren’t you so excited?” I say, “Yes, it’s okay, but now what?”

VH: I do the exact same thing. I’m afraid it’ll all go away if I stop to celebrate.

TN: The first time I got a comic published in Nickelodeon Magazine was really exciting, but it just made me wonder where I go from there. It was a big deal, but I didn’t want it to be the biggest thing I ever did.

VH: Do you credit anyone in particular for opening the professional crafty doors for you?

TN: When I worked for Jennifer Perkins (see page 57), I learned a lot about the business side. I owe a lot of my knowledge to her. I wouldn’t have met her, though, if I hadn’t started making crafts, moved to Austin, and got stuff in Parts & Labour, a local store that solely sells handmade items. Working for her taught me a whole lot about how to run a business and what you can do with it.

VH: What about personally? Who really got you started in a creative way? Was it your parents, or was there someone else who influenced you growing up?

TN: Well, there are my heroes, if that’s what you mean. Jim Henson, Paul Reubens, and Shel Silverstein are a few of my biggest heroes.

VH: Those are good! What about in your family, though? I’ve interviewed other crafters who’ve credited a grandmother, aunt, etc., for sitting down and crafting with them. Was that the case with you, or did you come into it on your own?

TN: I think a little bit came from my mom. As recently as a few years ago during
the holidays, we made soap, candles, or paper—which is probably my favorite thing to do. It’s so much fun! I collect scraps and then, at some point, turn them into new paper.

For more information about Travis and his projects, go to:

To see the full interview, pick up a copy of Craft Corps.


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The Craft Your Life team covers traditional general craft topics, from ceramics and paper ...

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One Response

    Door hangers says:

    Paper: The paper option is another common variable for printed materials.
    For door hangers, much like their printing options you can have different
    options regarding the sides. You can have glossy coating on both sides of the
    door hanger if needed. If you only have one sided door hanger design, then the
    other side can just have uncoated paper to save money.

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