It’s been an ideal season for rediscovering manual craft, in a variety of forms.

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August 2021

Even in usual times, creative pursuits deliver measurable benefits. They improve mood, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function by making new neural connections in the brain. It’s no surprise that personal creative projects became even more important to Newell Brands Design team members over the last year.

In his music composition, Corey Barnes, Sr. Industrial Designer, values the “complete freedom and discovery” and the fact that “there is no wrong way to do it.” Lea Stewart, Sr. Manager, Industrial Design, says “It fuels me to be the designer and builder in home remodeling projects, because I love making the result come to life.” Rebecca Turner, Copywriter in eMarketing, notes that the artwork she creates as part of personal projects makes her “feel like more than just a writer.”
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Sam Armstrong, Senior Craftsmanship Specialist

Dan Bledsaw, Sr. Graphic Designer

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Eliott Copier, Manager, Industrial Design, finds sailing to be a creative outlet with parallels to his work. Sailing “ends up being about adapting to the variables [wind direction, wave action] as opposed to trying to control the situation. This has contributed to a new understanding of how to work with cross-functional partners within a big company….. Ultimately, adapting to new situations is more valuable than trying to control the project.”

“be fully creative and bring visions to life,”
Michelle Rohlman, Design Coordinator

Corey Barnes

Corey Barnes, Sr. Industrial Designer


Sammy Ellerbroek, Associate Graphic Designer

Marcel Souza, Senior Industrial Designer

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The broader perspective that creative projects outside of work can provide is partly owed to the ability to “be fully creative and bring visions to life,” as Michelle Rohlman, Design Coordinator, Appliances, describes it. Jewelry-making “helps me think about things on a different scale, from a different aesthetic and manufacturing perspective,” says Adrienne Pennington, Sr. Industrial Designer. “I work with my hands, which encourages a maker mentality in general and reminds me to make mock-ups.” Sam Armstrong, Senior Craftsmanship Specialist, knows his interior and furniture design projects help him by “allowing me to observe and pull ideas from adjacent industries and professions.” Giovanna Viale, Digital Designer, eCommerce, who creates resin art, is energized by “everything that involves creativity and the process of creating something new: colors, textures, combined with technology. I try to see all the possibilities beyond a challenge, and that energy just flows through me. I take the same spark to my daily work.”

For many, it’s been an ideal season for rediscovering manual craft, in a variety of forms: jewelry-making, woodworking, and more. Marcel Souza, Senior Industrial Designer, rekindled his passion for cooking; Jim Caruso, Sr. Principal, Industrial Design, both makes furniture and ties flies for trout, salmon, and saltwater fishing; Sammy Ellerbroek, Associate Graphic Designer and Dan Beldsaw, Sr. Graphic Designer, draw or paint.

Katie Shimmin, Sr. Art Director, Experience Design

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These creative pursuits offer incentive for continuous learning, whether it’s about knot-tying for sailing, art history and archaeology for educating, fish behavior for designing flies, or plumbing and construction. Rebecca, who with her husband and friends developed a YouTube show called “Omniana,” meaning “a miscellaneous collection of scraps of information on different topics,” says, “It has definitely fueled my work creativity, because I’ve had to up my creative game overall to make the show good!”

“I try to see all the possibilities beyond a challenge, and that energy just flows through me. I take the same spark to my daily work.”
Giovanna Viale, Digital Designer, eCommerce

Jim Caruso, Sr. Principal, Industrial Design

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Lea Stewart, Sr. Manager, Industrial Design

Finally, creative energies are being employed to serve others. Alexandra Harcha-Montes, principal Graphic Designer, has invested hers in transcribing and writing descriptors of museum artwork for the benefit of visually impaired guests. Katie Shimmin, Senior Art Director, Experience Design, believes her creative outlets are a way to “pay it forward” in gratitude for the mentors in her life. She invests time in teaching and speaking in a program to empower high school girls to become leaders and entrepreneurs.

“It wasn’t until college,” Katie says, “when my eyes were opened to graphic design and the craft’s possibilities. My projects have allowed me to pass along what I wish I had known at an earlier age.”

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