Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Designer Interview: Melanie of Earthenwood Studio

Art Bead Scene recently interviewed one of our contributors about her thoughts on beads, business, and creativity. We hope you enjoy reading a little bit about this artist:

What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

My name is Melanie Brooks Lukacs and my business is Earthenwood Studio. I am a bead maker and jewelry designer. I live in the Detroit, Michigan area and my website is

What kind of jewelry do you make? What types of materials do you prefer? what kinds of art beads do you use?

I have a small line of jewelry that I make with my own ceramic components. The jewelry is very simple, composed of my pendants strung with simple, high quality cords and sterling findings. This style reflects the type of jewelry I wear everyday: simple and casual with a message and earthy beauty.

I also spend a lot of time designing beaded jewelry for bead magazine projects. This lets me play a little more with glass beads, metals, and unusual stringing supplies. I like to use handmade glass and metal beads from other artists in particular, and I like to look for art beads from other bead makers that co-ordinate with my own art beads.

How did you get into jewelry design? What are some of the important things you do for your business?

I started out making and selling my ceramic jewelry in art fairs after college. More and more, I found that people wanted to buy my art beads to use in their own jewelry. I made the decision to spend less time working on jewelry and more focusing on just the beads. Eventually the beads took over and I am just now inching my way back into jewelry. For my business, I have found that print advertising, Internet marketing, and packaging are all very important things that have brought me success.
What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

We live in a small house and our studio is scattered throughout. My husband is also an artist so we have art stuff all around! I have a space for glazing, a place for shipping, and the basement for the dirty clay stuff. The rest of my studio is mobile, using lots of trays and carts that i can roll around and put away when I am done. I do a lot of work on the couch watching tv with my hubby and dog.

Everyday I start with web work and email and paperwork or writing. The afternoons are spent preparing for shipping, working on jewelry, glazing beads and loading kilns. After dinner, I make beads...almost every night. This schedule is pretty comfortable for me at this point.
How do you stay inspired and motivated?

I am usually not at a loss for inspiration. I have lists of things to do and sketchbooks full of ideas to work on. When I come up with an idea, I try to let myself work on it right away, while the idea is fresh and I am excited about. So when I am not feeling as inspired, I can do more production minded tasks. I get inspired when I go to bead shows and art fairs and look at bead magazines, so if I am feeling stuck, I try to engage in those activities.

What kinds of art beads do you look for? Is there a bead you wish an artist would make for you?

I love organic, earthy beads with fantasy imagery. I try to find glass that looks like porcelain and I love metal beads. I would love to see more artists come up with interesting ideas for findings and clasps.
What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

I am excited to work on submitting more stringing projects to magazines and I want to work on more complex designs, perhaps including seed bead work. I also am interested in simple knot work such as macrame. I am currently working on a new line of chunky organic pendants called Earthly Elements, which are inspired by nature. I designed the first one in direct response to a necklace that I started that needed a pendant. I would like to explore this more, designing beads specifically for a jewelry design, so the two are integrated.

If you would like to shop for Melanie's beads and charms, or finished jewelry, visit her website at Please use the code FreeShip for free shipping on retail orders within the USA.


Lori Greenberg said...

Great interview, Melanie. I love your jewelry AND your beads!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

your designs are awesome!


melanie brooks said...

Thank you so much!

Tari of said...

Your stuff is fantastic. My favorites are your faces!

laurelmoon said...

Melanie is a fantastic artist, and I count myself very lucky indeed to have seen her work. I adore her beads, and her jewelry is so inspired!