Q&A with Suzy Ultman



Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Pennsylvania, with my 2 sisters, playing in the woods, collecting stickers, drawing Snoopy sketches, and dancing whenever there was a free moment. My parents were playful and imaginative, and encouraged our creative spirits. My dad loved to “camp out” (this was slang for bringing sleeping bags & popcorn into the living room, and staying up late). My mom always had a project under way, and had me baking & sewing at a young age.


How would you describe your style? Did you have to develop it or did it just come naturally?

I’d describe my style as sophisticated whimsy. It did come naturally – it’s an extension of my personality. On one hand, I can be very together, focused, and stylized. On the other, I like to hang out in my kid zone, and dance & doodle & play & imagine what the birds are talking about.

Please tell us about making the A Very Good Year Ornament 2013 and your inspiration behind it.

This was a challenging project because I had just finished a lot of Christmas work. I wanted to do something fresh for this special ornament, and I was nervous that my well of holiday ideas had gone dry. Then, I went to visit my parents. I saw my dad’s mandolin, and it caught my eye. I started doodling the instrument, adding some birds, trumpets, flowers, fa la la la's, and more. Soon, the illustration took shape.

Suzyultman_annualornament Vngt_glm_good_yr_orn

Where do you get your design inspiration for the Gifted Girl print and Nod holiday website background this year?

For the Gifted Girl print, Land of Nod asked me to create a piece with a girl returning from a shopping trip. I loved the idea of putting her in a tiny tiny car with all of the gifts stacked on top. I’ve always had a crush on bubbly, compact, vintage European cars. This was a fun opportunity to use that as inspiration. The website art allowed me to expand on the “shopping trip” concept. I was able to draw the town where the girl had found all of her holiday loot.


 What do you enjoy about the Holidays? Do you have any traditions of your own?

I love spending time with my family, wrapping gifts, playing games, baking sugar cookies, watching old movies, and just slowing down. Did I mention that I like to wrap gifts?!?! We do have traditions. We celebrate Hannukah, and assign one of the eight nights as “make a gift” night. Recently, we've been having a lot of fun making t-shirts. For the New Year, we have a tradition of finding one household item to give-up for the coming year. It’s a family decision. One year it was paper grocery bags… the next year it was plastic sandwich bags. It’s usually something to help the environment.

Favorite Land of Nod product?

Each product holds a special place in my heart. The dolls were dreamy, because they combined my love of drawing with my love of sewing. It was very exciting watching my art come to life from the flat page to 3-diminsional doll. The shrinky dink project took me back to my childhood. As a kid, I spent hours drawing on plastic, and watching it magically shrink in the oven. It was so much fun to create the Land of Nod shrinky dink kit and the end product is just plain delightful! 

Suzy was raised in central Pennsylvania, playing in the woods and collecting stickers. She finds inspiration in scouring antique shops and flea markets, spending time in nature, walking down quirky city streets and doodling on sticky notes. Her products range from holiday ornaments to bathroom décor pieces to scrapbook essentials to fresh, colorful fabric collections.