Friday, December 6, 2013

Inside the Studio with Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Congratulations Erin Strother! You have won a dragonfly button from Tari Sasser. Please send Tari an e-mail with your information.

Today we visit the studio of Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.

I started designing jewelry in 2005 as a creative release. 
And I quickly amassed quite a collection. 
What to do with all these baubles?
 Perhaps you can relate.
At the same time, I was also asked to donate to a lot of local organizations for their silent auctions and fundraising efforts. One day the light bulb went on and I realized that I had a treasure trove of items that would net them more profit for sale than if I were to give them a straight donation. That was when I decide that I needed business cards and a web presence (because no one would likely buy jewelry that was made by someone unknown named Erin Prais-Hintz ;-).
Ever since that time, I have informally pledged to donate items to various causes, mostly local, that were near and dear to my heart. I try to do this monthly.

Sometimes I have to approach the causes, and sometimes the cause present itself. Such is the case with the recent tragedy in the Philippines.

My friend Andrew Thornton has relatives who live there and were displaced by this monumental storm. That puts a whole new face on the tragedy when it affects someone that you know.  So he asked some of his artist friends to help raise money to get it to where it is needed most. I enthusiastically said yes.

One of my favorite necklaces I have created with the message
'we are but one tiny pebble, our circle widening' - brought in $65 for good!
You see, I have a lot of blessings in my life. Can you relate? I am sitting here in my house, cozy and warm, typing away on my laptop, enjoying a snack and watching one of my favorite movies - Groundhog Day - on television. My husband is sleeping peacefully next to me, and my kids are plotting what gadgets and gizmos they want for Christmas in their dreams. It is hard to fathom losing everything that you have worked for in one swift moment. It is hard to imagine sitting on a pile of rubble that was once a home trying to pick up the pieces - literally. It is hard to think of not having clean water, a weather-proof shelter, food to eat, a bathroom. I can't even begin to know how that must feel.
But someone is having to deal with that reality right this moment.

Almost a month has passed since the typhoon swept whole villages to the sea a half a world away. It is easy to forget that there are people suffering still, since it is not on the news the way it was when the sting was fresh. But these people on the other side of the world will be dealing with this for months, and years, to come.
In the face of such immense odds, it is easy to get overwhelmed and think that we couldn't possibly make a difference, that our meager contributions couldn't possibly help. 
"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
~ Mother Teresa

So, what can I do to help? How do you go about being the One Drop?

Along with a great many talented people, I joined Andrew in sharing items for an auction on my blog as well as a raffle that he is hosting. The bidding has ended and the current high bidders will be contacted by me so that I can send the packages on their way, gift wrapped and ready to wow.

This was the biggest draw in the auction, netting $105!
I offered four items for auction and I am pleased to say that $275 is what was pledged by the high bidders. I will be adding that to an additional donation from me as well as another donation from a limited edition sale of my new Pop-a-Dot Jewelry line for fundraising. (As an aside, I started a new fundraising arm of my company in May 2013 exclusively as a way to give back and I am proud to say that as of November I have donated over $2000 to local and national charities through the sale of the Pop-a-Dot Jewelry).
Knowing that just $13 can buy a basket of food for a survivor, I feel pretty blessed - and humbled - that my donation will be helping those most in need. Even if I can't help the millions who have a new reality from this typhoon, I am glad that this donation will make a difference that is tangible and real to someone I will never meet.
If you feel so inspired, please consider making a donation to as a way to honor the true spirit of the holiday and Christmas season.

My question to you is this...

Do you share your talents and creations for charitable organizations?
Do you do this regularly or for specific charities?
Tell us what causes are near and dear to your heart and you could win
 a set of my recent November Simple Truths big hole beads with the message 


Kathy Lindemer said...

Congrats on your success at fundraising to benefit others. I also donate my handmade cards and jewelry to help with fundraising. I limit my donations to my local community and organizations that I belong to. By local community, I mean the state of Delaware. Delaware is a very small state!

Alice said...

We are indeed blessed to have a roof over our head and running water etc. It's easy to take all that for granted. Your Pebble necklace is just gorgeous! How generous of you to take part in the charity event. I like to help out our small community, sometimes by donating my jewelry but most of the time it is organizing events and volunteering at our church. I'm lucky to be able to work part time so when I'm not making jewelry I am out in the community running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Angi said...

I have been a preschool teacher/nanny for 7 yrs. Our local school system has started a free preschool for all 4 yr olds who will start kindergarten the following yr. This is free for all families. Our school is dependant totally on donations. We do an auction twice a yr as part of our fund raising program. I donate jewelry I've created. These items have become so very popular that folks contact me wanting to buy additional pieces in order to help raise more $. I love my job! To know I'm doing a small part to help the children in our area begin their educational journey, is very very rewarding!

Angi Mullis

autumndawns said...

I am at the beginning of my journey. Like you, Erin, I enjoy creating jewelry and have a pile collecting dust. I would love to sell some to raise funds to donate to causes important to me but as yet haven't posted anything in my Etsy shop. I need to take that leap of faith.

Sarajo Wentling said...

Erin, thank you for a beautiful post and for your beautiful spirit!

I have donated jewelry to various causes, usually on a case by case basis as opposed to on a regular schedule. Most of the things I've done have been for smaller benefits in our area to raise money for causes or people we care about (like a friend's daughter who has been fighting cancer).

I guess it's just been something I've done when the spirit moves me but I love the idea of having this as an ongoing, regular commitment. I bet your post inspires many of us!

Erin S said...

I do donate jewelry occasionally to local charity events. I also do graphic design and printing at reduced costs regularly for an animal rescue group. It's important to give something back. You set a great example, Erin.

Carol D. said...

I have a few orgs that I donate to on a regular basis. But it is good to be reminded of the great need out there, so I may be adding some groups to my list. Using my jewelry to raise the money is an interesting concept.

LiliKrist said...

Thank you for a wonderful inspiration writing.
It's saturday morning here. I'm at my office for work. Yuupps working on weekend =) but somehow I still feel blessed with every single tiny things around me. Even to have a good blog reading in saturday morning just like now, feel that I'm lucky enough to follow this blog.
I make jewelry, but not too many. But I do have beads online shop. Through this shop every year I have EARTH DAY COLLECTION and 75% sale will be donate to environment organization such as Greenpeace, WWF etc. And the late even was Beads For Papua, all beads donation for tribal mothers and young women in Papua. Friends of mine work for ICRC and they will have workshop for simple jewelry for those mothers and young women.

Susan Delaney said...

Your post was such a blessing, and an affirmation to a calling that I have recently discerned. A friend is marrying a breast surgeon in a few days. She said that she often had to attend Komen auctions with her partner. Lightbulb. I could create my gingkoes in shades of pink with bronze clay as the metallic edges. I could give them to every Susan B. Komen auction I could find. I am bubbling with ideas. I have already committed to making something for a spring auction benefitting the youth at my church. A power outage yesterday put me deeply in touch with gratitude for what I have. Your post was very powerful for me in so many ways.
Susan, LadyFlowersbySusan

freshbakeddesigns said...

We live near the US-Mexico border, close to Tijuana. Our congregation has been involved with several needs south of the border over the years. One close to my heart is building houses with Amor Ministries. Building a house of two simple rooms in three-four days for a family is very rewarding. For 100 dollars, the family can also receive a water purification system that will meet their needs for a lifetime. I created a line of jewelry, Pure Water Designs, that support this effort. Using sterling silver and small opalite briolettes that resemble a little drop of water.
100 percent of the profit goes to the purchase of these systems. Six so far!

Gaea said...

Really beautiful work, Erin!

Chris White said...

Great work Erin, as usual. 'always appreciate your enthusiasm and inspiration. Whenever I sell a piece of my jewelry, I take at least 10% of it and purchase food for the needy and deliver it to a church near my home. They provide a quick and easy drop-off location, and provide food for those in need. I always drive away feeling so grateful to be able to do something to help, even in a small way.

Linda said...

Every August I do a show where 25% of the sales go to providing housing for women and families in transition. I also donate a piece of jewelry to an auction that raises money for this same organization.

beadrecipes said...

Beautiful post Erin! As for me, I have donated pieces to my kids' school and kindergarten for fundraising events over the last couple of years. Every little bit helps!

Aranthe said...

I donate jewelry to local charitable events and institutions, but I'd really like to widen the scope via my (as-yet-unopened) online business by donating a portion of the profit. I'm thinking of offering a group of vetted* charities from which my clients can designate the recipient of the portion associated with their own purchase.

*For financial integrity; I don't appreciate charities that waste funds. Who does?

Carolyn said...

Loved your post. I have just donated my first piece for a silent auction at work for a charity auction.