As an art therapist, Sandra met individuals whose words failed to express what was in their hearts and minds. Working with Alzheimer's patients, deaf children, criminally insane men and troubled adolescents, she witnessed the extraordinarily diverse and creative ways they expressed themselves and attempted to connect with the people in their lives. In 1987, Sandra began creating her own art in her kitchen, designing ceramic, heart-shaped tokens and plaques to commemorate the varied experiences and inspirations embedded in everyday life. She created a collection of pottery for her newborn daughter as a gift of life lessons. This gift became the essence of her life work, and Messages from the Heart was born.
In response to a growing demand for her handmade originals, Sandra founded Table Tiles, Inc., her handmade gift company in 1991, which, in less than a decade, expanded into a multimillion-dollar gift business. In 1997, she began licensing her ideas. Since then, she has designed successful collections with significant licensees including: Corel, Creative Imaginations; Department 56; Glitterati; Hamco; Kids Line; Lenox, Little Brown; Peking Handicraft; Rashti & Rashti, Rizzoli USA; PBS; Scholastic; Simon & Schuster's Free Press; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Sunrise Greetings; Triboro and Topsville. She was nominated in 2006, 2007 and 2008 for the prestigious LIMA International Licensing Awards as Best Art Brand License of the Year and Overall Best License of the Year by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association.
Sandra Magsamen's Messages from the Heart plaque sales have topped tens of millions. Every minute, four Messages from the Heart gifts are sold. Messages from the Heart products include gift items, home décor, jewelry, seasonal, furniture, stationery, kitchen, baby gifts, plush, bedding, accessories, scrapbooking materials and greeting cards and are available in specialty stores as well as departments stores across the country. In 2008, Sandra debuted the launch of Messages from the Heart BABY at JCPenney, a new infant lifestyle brand, and her Wishes & Kisses brand at Wal-Mart. From the Studio of Sandra Magsamen, a Wal-Mart–exclusive gift boutique, made its debut in 2009.
Over the past 12 years, Sandra has published 35 books and sold more than 1 million copies to date. Sandra's award-winning signature lifestyle book Living Artfully was published by Simon & Schuster's Free Press in October 2006. Her other highly acclaimed books include Story of the Heart and When I Grow Up I Want to Be Me . Her cloth book series from LB Kids, an imprint of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, debuted in September 2007 with two books, Baby Love and My Blanket , which were awarded the Platinum Book Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. My Blanket also won a Gold Award in the book category of the 2006 National Parenting Publications Awards and in 2007 her two publications, Goodnight Little One and Butterfly Kisses , received the NAPPA High Honors Award.
Sandra is a founding board member of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and works with many nonprofit and charitable organizations, including mentoring programs, orphaned children in Africa living with HIV, breast cancer awareness, support and education for battered women and the disabled. She recently worked with girls from Girls Empowerment Mission to design cards for a fundraiser where each girl researched a woman in history who inspires them and created an artful portrait of her. Sandra is also partnering with Our Journey Inc. in a project called "Cover the World with Love." This project makes quilts to send to children in Africa who have HIV/AIDS.
Sandra and her art have been featured on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch , NBC's Today , Access Hollywood , BetterTV and in O, The Oprah Magazine , Woman's Day , Woman's World , In Touch , US Weekly , Life & Style and more.
Sandra is living artfully with her family in the Glen Arm, Maryland, the town in which she grew up. For more information on Sandra, visit her website .