Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meet the Artist :: Atlantis Glass & Bead

"For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it's always ourselves we find in the sea."

- e.e. cummings

Allow me to introduce to you lampwork and metal bead artists Patti and Valentin Hernandez of Atlantis Glass and Bead.

ABS::What is your background? Did you take classes, get a degree, are you self-taught?

AGB:: We are a husband and wife team. Each of us have over 13 years experience in the glass industry, starting with neon tubing, sculpture, glass fusing and now lampwork bead making. We have full time been self-representing glass artists for almost 10 years now. For the most part we are self taught with many "Well that didn't work" moments that have brought us to where we are today.

ABS:: Your shop is named Atlantis Glass & Bead. Would you care to elaborate on what the meaning is behind this name?

AGB:: Our name Atlantis Glass & Bead came from a love of the ocean and the mystery surrounding the lost city. At the time we had no idea what our glass bead business could grow into, but we felt the name left us room to grow.

ABS:: There are a lot of romantic ideas about owning your own creative business. Do you do this work full time? What is the best part about being your own boss? What is the worst part?

AGB:: This is a full time job for both my husband Valentin and I. We are most thankful that we can work from home and be with our family all day!! Creating our own work schedule isn't too bad either. Although it is mostly predetermined with our 9 year old son's school schedule. Most rewarding is putting our blood sweat and tears into doing something that we love everyday, and the fact that people are willing to pay us for our creations!

Taking a day off can be super challenging. Being at home means we are "at work" all the time, and it is hard to turn off that work mode. If we want a day off we must plan it away from home... otherwise we end up working!
ABS:: Your beads are filled with rich color and dancing light. Can you describe what makes lampwork beads so special?

AGB:: Lampwork beads are tiny pieces of art. It is amazing how two people could take the same colors and use the same design and turn up with such different results. I find it quite special to know that the beads I created will long outlive my life here on earth. I often ponder who may hold the beads we make 200 years from now. These little pieces of glass we create are like our footprint here.

ABS:: Color is obviously key to what you do. Is there a color palette that you find yourself reaching for again and again? Are there certain colors that you stay away from?

AGB:: Cool colors are definitely my personal favorite, but I have a lot of fun mixing warm and cool together for a dramatic effect. One of my personal favorite color combos is and orange and blue. A lot of my designs are sprinkled with sparkles for that extra surprise in the sun. My husband is a fan of the warmer and neutral colors, so we seem to balance each other out well. We also each have our own distinct designs and we don't seem to cross over into each others territory often, making for a very well rounded array of bead designs.

ABS:: In addition to your sparkling glass treasures, you offer a stunning array of metal components with a very distinct style. How did that evolve from your glass bead making? How does working in that medium complement your glass work? What is the most popular seller?

AGB:: We began working with precious metals in early 2009 when we decided to line our beads with sterling we were pushed in that direction. The more comfortable we became working with metal we found it fun and exciting to explore new options for our creative outlet. It almost felt like making little beads, only of metal. It was exciting to actually be able to touch our work as we formed it..... something we had never been able to do with molten glass! It also gave us the option to create finished pieces of jewelry which had always been a hobby. Now we had the ability to actually make all the findings we could dream up in our head.....tools allowing, of course. The best selling line of metal findings we offer seem to be our copper verdigris patina pieces. Each of them is unique in their coloring pattern and one of kind.
ABS:: I noticed that you also have a shop for finished jewelry pieces called Poseidon's Booty. Have you always sold your jewelry? What piece is your favorite?

AGB:: We opened a jewelry store "Poseidon's Booty" on ETSY soon after we began to work with metal. We were brimming with tons of ideas that we were so anxious to share. Most of the jewelry we offer are designs that I would wear or make for myself. My personal favorite piece is our Saturn necklace pendant. It is nearly an everyday staple for me. All the pieces we offer in our Titan collection have a similar feel with an oxidized finish and a sterling silver contrast... my favorites!!

ABS:: You have well over 5,000 sales on Etsy. How long have you been selling there? What is your best tip for success?

AGB:: Although we opened our ETSY store in 2006 we began seriously focusing on it's success in 2008. With daily listing and constantly adding new product we quickly began to see our efforts pay off. We had sold mainly on Ebay since the early 2000's. With the daily efforts of growing our business on ETSY we were able to shut down our Ebay store late last year which had been a goal of ours for some time. We also have our own personal website http://www.atlantisglassandbead.com/ which we continue selling from, too. We are lucky to say we have not had to do much advertising with Facebook or Twitter, most of our business is based on return customers. We appreciate our customers.

ABS:: As a creative, I am sure that you are brimming with new ideas all the time. Any you care to share with us? What is next on the horizon for AtlantisGlassandBead?

AGB:: We always seem to have quite a few ideas on the back burner. Recently we have started to experiment with using glass enamels on metal. Fusing glass and metal together...what could be better? I can see a whole new line of colorful metal findings brewing!!!

Visit Atlantis Glass & Bead online:

http://www.atlantisglassandbead.com/ - The full Atlantis Glass & Bead collection in one place

AtlantisGlassAndBead on Etsy - Glass and metal that are meant to be together!

Poseidon's Booty on Etsy - Stunning finished jewelry!

Special Discount for ABS Readers!

Patti and Valentin have offered a 10% discount off any purchase in BOTH their Etsy shops (see links above) using the coupon code ABS10 through March 31st.

I am off to shop. How about you?

Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to enjoytheday@tesoritrovati.com.

Check out her brand spankin' new website at Tesori Trovati.


Katie McMahon said...

Atlantis is absolutely my favorite shop on Etsy! Their work is truly art at its best. An excellent post:)

Pretty Things said...

They DO make great glass, and have awesome customer service, too!