She was born in 1962 and raised in Utah and is the oldest of eight children. She attended Brigham Young University with the intent to study premed and obstetrics, but after taking a watercolor class, she switched her major to art. She developed an interest in the work of Arno Werner, a German-born bookbinder, so she moved to New York City where she both worked as a nanny and became Werner’s apprentice.
While working for Werner, she married Clay Wagstaff, an artist she had met at BYU. They live in Tropic, Utah, with their children.
In an interview in December 2009, Wagstaff mentioned that she hadn’t painted much since her daughter Hannah died in an accident.However, she completed a painting of her daughter in her heirloom blessing gown called Passageway for the Church History Museum’s Eighth International Art Competition.