Welcome to Inside the Studio!
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, Julie of Outwest! You have won a ceramic leaf pendant from Mary Harding Jewelry. Please send Mary an email with your information so she can mail that out to you!
Today we visit the studio of
How can it be March already?!
Spring seems like a dim light at the end of a seemingly never-ending tunnel of snow. And March means that I should have my tax prep done. Haven't.Even.Started. In fact, I was so bad last year I never even filed one scrap of paper. Just piled it all in a heap on the middle of my studio floor. (Obviously, I am organizationally challenged!) This year I have been keeping receipts and orders on a clipboard so that I can file them by month. And here it is, month three, and I haven't even started that. The good news is that I have not bought much (you have to see my studio to know that this is not such a big sacrifice as I have enough art beads and materials to go with them to last me until my last days). The bad news is I have not sold much (of course, if I listed something for sale I might actually sell something!). So this whole start to the new year is not going very smoothly in terms of organizing my files, and it is getting a bit depressing that winter won't end (my son's Varsity baseball team season opener is scheduled for a double-header on Saturday, April 5th. Um. Probably not going to happen). With the endless vista of white outside my door, and the seemingly endless stack of receipts I really must start sifting through, I really needed a something to get me out of this rut.
Luckily, the Bead Cruise is just around the corner, because a dose of tropical drinks and sand would do wonders for my mood. Am I going to a tropical destination to have fun in the sun with my friends? Nope. But my beads are!
I have contributed to the Goodie Bags that Heather puts together for the Bead Cruise participants the past few years. Now, I could just clean out my Simple Truths stash (I have so many new ones and samples that are waiting for me to list them already in my lonely Etsy shop!), but that would feel like cheating a bit. So I used this as an excuse to experiment. And I am quite happy with the results!
I almost never work with colored clays. But last year I took a class with Heather creating canes and got so inspired that I went a little nuts buying every color of polymer clay available. But of course, I never did anything with them. That is the way it goes with me.
When I think of tropical locales, I think of bright, citrusy tones. I think of resort wear with strappy sandals and white accented with touches of gold. So I dug in my stash and pulled out lime green, lemon yellow, mango orange, hot pink and turquoise clays. I found a texture plate that had a sea-theme to it. I happened upon some ocean charms. And I used a lot of shiny gold paint for a patina.
I thought of tide pools and all the creatures that are massed together in a shallow little world, like some saltwater commune living together in harmony. I set out to create beads that looked like fossils that were dug up. Irregular. Rugged. Little treasures just waiting to be found.
After I pressed them and baked them, I painted them with a soft gold that gave them a lustrous sheen. But I decided that they needed a little something extra, so I did the same to some wee ocean charms I found - fish, starfish, seashells, octopi, dolphins - distressing them a bit to show the detail.
I paired them up so that each set had different colors, shapes and textures. No two are alike! Just how I like it. ;-)
Did I mention that these beads are double-sided? The reverse of the emboss is on the back of each bead. That sort of detail tickles me to no end! I strung each set on an eye pin and readied them for their packaging.
I tied them onto my cards and put each in its own wrapper. I hope that the recipients will feel the love that went into each one of them.
I may not be able to sit on the beach sipping drinks through an umbrella topped straw with my best beady friends, but it makes me happy that these little Tropical Tide Pool Fossils will be having some fun in the sun even if the only sun that I will see is the reflection off the snow!
Would you like to win a set of some of my new Tropical Tide Pool Fossils? I will give away a random set of three Tropical Tide Pool Fossils (just the beads, not the charms ;-) to one random commenter just for answering this question:
If you could go any place in the world on a fantasy bead escape with your best beady friends, where would it be and why?
I'll start... while I would love to go on the cruise, I think I would love even more to go to someplace like Morocco or India or Nepal because the colors and patterns of people in faraway cultures intrigues me!
Well, a bead cruise sounds pretty good to me! But I think I'd like to go to one of the big bead shows -- Beadfest or Bead and Button. The combination of shopping and meeting up with people I've met online would be almost overwhelming!
Oh Erin, they are just beautiful... and I want them all! I am getting to go on the cruise so I'm thrilled that one of them will be mine (two if my normally non-beading friend can be conned out of her goody bag with the promise of jewelry made for her from her favorite pieces.) I'm not sure that I would really care where I was for a fantasy bead escape as long as it was lovely and I was surrounded with great folks!
Gosh, it's such a hard question.....there are so many places in the world where I hope I will be able to visit in the future.....New York, Berlin, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Hungary, Sweden - along with places I'd like to go back to - Barcelona, Cornwall, California, Orkney, Switzerland, Paris, Egypt....I am a total Western culture bug, whereas Helen favours the more backpacking adventure-type holidays - India, Thailand, Lao, Nepal, Tibet (if we were ever able visit this fascinating country)....We are a bit old for backpacking now (I think I always was, lol! I'm NOT the camping type...), but we have our eye on getting a camper van at some point over the next few years, and I think that would suit us both down to the ground. There is so much to see in the UK alone and, after our Californian road trip holiday, I know I would be extremely content throwing our stuff into a van and taking off over the weekend with beads in the back :-) If we can cope with driving on the wrong side, we might even be able to explore some of Europe with it too!
Good morning Miss Erin. A bead cruise would be fabulous but where I really want to go is the Bead Ventures trip to Prague.I love Czech beads and I would be thrilled to see where they are made. It would make me feel more connected to them. My monthly bead group meeting last week was one of our members showing her pics and speaking about her trip to Morocco. That was really interesting.
These are loverly Erin. And yes, so sick of the white - the worse this year. My dream is Paris...antiques, the Champs-Elysees, Le Louvre, espresso, croissants, Coco C, the nooks and crannies...
I would love to be at home with my Yorkie girls, assessing a bead stash that sounds very similar to yours, Erin! Oh, such a treasure hunt it would be! Aye aye, my 'maties'!! The girls would be my little helpers!
Erin you captured our tropical vacation perfectly with the color and details of your tropical Tide Pool Fossils!
We will raise our tropical drinks with the little umbrellas and make a toast to you!! I hope spring comes soon for everyone.
Theses are just the most beautiful beads ever! We really need to work on getting you to go on a cruise with us. If I thought I was lucky enough, I'd buy lottery tickets and hope for the big one. My place to go to would be the British Isles, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. It's on my bucket list, I have to do it before ai get too old. It's a walking vacation of my dreams. If I believed in past lives, I know I was Irish at one time, or maybe one of my Roman ancesters were there. That's an interesting thought.
I need a break from the endless snow/wind...Hawaii or even Padre Island!!! Any place really that would allow me to defrost and get the full feeling back into my fingertips...lol...!!!
Wow that is one of the hardest questions but I would say I would love it to go to the Colorado Bead Retreat. Friends, mountians and somewhere I have never gone. What a joy it would be to sit with my friends and bask in friendship and beads. I know most would think of a warmer destination but honestly how much beading would get done on a beach?????
These are so pretty Erin! Do you sell these anywhere? Like on etsy or? I made some charm/bead/pendants similar to this once with dragonflys on green clay. They are still sitting in my bead box. Sigh.
I am such a homebody. I don't like travel. but I would love to go to Hawaii with beading friends. One of my best friends goes there on vacation and one day may not come back. She loves it there.
Super beautiful, Erin! I love your new work!
They are lovely! We must be kindred spirits because I have a similar filing system (dread every April, ha) and have a collection of clay, tools and tuts over a year old...just siting there, it's sad. You have inspired me! I would choose the bead cruise in a heartbeat. Maybe I'll save up for next year. I think I'd be in heaven!
Very tropical indeed! Makes me want to sip drinks at the beach and jump in to cool off. Love them!
Gigi @ Old World Patina
It has been a long and tiring winter for me as well, I heard on the news today that this winter is the coldest we have had in 2 decades. I live in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and normally we have Chinooks that warm things up, but not this year. We have had record snowfall and record breaking freezing temperatures. So dreaming of somewhere warm to go has been on my mind alot lately, I won't be going anywhere but a girl can dream. I think I would love to take my family to Maui! But truthfully if someone said that I could won a trip somewhere warm I don't think I would care just as long as I could soak up some sun and enjoy a beach.
Erin, your little fossils actually looked like Czech beads to me, they are absolutely lovely and they do remind me of fun in the sun!! Your talent amazes me, everything you create is beautiful!!
I would like to go to Israel just for an art adventure. The art there is fantastic, and totally international because of all the people who live there. There are some great bead artists, including Miriam Shimon whose work I have the pleasure of owning. Additionally, the country's geography is very interesting - mountains, oceans, desert. There are historical sites and modern buildings - in other words, it's just a fantastic place to soak up color, history, art, people, and did I mention the food?
Fun and fabulous creativity, your charms are adorable! Being a TX girl, I'm always happy to visit South Padre Island. It feels like we're at the tip of the planet. At a private condo on the beach sipping margaritas with friends is about the best fun ever. Beautiful sunrises and clear blue water to inspire us. I would love to be considered for one of your charm sets. So many ideas brewing already...grateful for the consideration.
Paris would be my go to place for inspiration. Always wanted to get 'lost' in the flea markets for great vintage finds.
Erin - those are wonderful! I love them. For color inspiration, I would like to go to the Greek Isles - the gorgeous blue water and colorful houses. For sentiment - Paris. I met my husband there and would love to return. Thanks for the chance to win.
These are really attractive and definitely feel tropical.
My dream beading getaway would be somewhere where I could commune with nature and have time away from life to be inspired and work on projects. Ireland comes to mind. Or Scotland. Green, misty, romantic kind of fits with how I'm feeling on projects right now. Well, not the green so much, but things that are NOT snow.
Erin your latest beads are so stunning and just right for a hot summer. You 'pinched' my top three locations for inspiration - so looks like I will be heading for New Zealand. The luscious colours and textures of the forests - especially the jungley ones. The insects are just awesome and too! The exotic colours of the butterflies and birds. And Wow - those volcanic pools around Rotorua - all the shades of the colour scale you could ever imagine. Hot reds and oranges and rusts bubbling up through the dark brown soil. Oh those steaming green lakes, and gorgeous blues - and white puffs of steam over the lakes.
Oh, Erin, they are simply gorgeous! I've never traveled(that whole raising a family/no money thing), but I hope to some day. If I only ever get to go on one trip it will be to Ireland. I've wanted to go my whole life! Of course, a little side trip to England to meet up with the lovely crew there (Caroline, Rebecca, Bo, and Lesley - and I'm sure there are a whole lot more) would be wonderful!
Your beads are beautiful...just love them. Wish I was going on that cruise so I could receive one of your treasures. I recently have wanderlust maybe it is due to the long cold winter...just wish I had the matching purse. ha! I would love to travel to some many places. Mykonos, Greece. Paris, France. Prague. India. Australia. Or even a couple of days in New York. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your lovely pieces.
I would love to do the bead cruise. Sounds like so much fun, especially with some of your beads in a goody bag. But right now I'm dreaming of a trip to Ecuadoe and the Galápagos Islands. AND I get to go next January! Won't be beading but will be looking for neat beads, shells etc. to use in my jewelry.
Would love to win one of these.
I'd love a tropical escape to a white sand beach in Costa Rica. I want to lay in a hammock, bead or read and sip a citrusy adult beverage.
After the winter here in NY (& everywhere) I'd go somewhere warm and rich in color! And bead retreat sounds great. A villa in Tuscany with several large farm tables indoors and out...for beads and food!
After this winter I am ready for the warm.
Somewhere warm and rich in color. A bead retreat at a hilltop villa in Tuscany. Some large farm tables for beading and food...maybe a bit of wine, after all we are in Italy.
Beautiful creations you got there.
So many colours! Lovely, Erin =) Colour just makes my day. As for where I'd want to go...well, it's not terribly tropical, and it's only one of a list of places, but I'd love to go back to Tofino, BC. The beaches there are amazing....huge crashing waves, incredible sunsets...and plenty of inspiration for nature themed jewellery, I think. I have very fond memories of Tofina. I'd like to see more of Europe, as well...Definitely the UK, and the Netherlands again, but also countries like Lativa and Croatia, which I think are very beautiful.
We are also still covered with snow and freezing cold too so I would choose a warm, sandy and watery (melted water that is) location. I love the gold you used on the beads. They would go nicely with the sari ribbons I've been hoarding er collecting.
Great colours - perfect antidote the wintery weather> If i could go anywhere, it would be Paris. I would roam around the city, checking out the Marches aux Puce, gardens and museums. At the end of the day, I'd retire to a sidewalk cafe and sip on a glass (or 2) of rose and just watch the city go by. Inspiration everywhere.
I have a huge travel list! (: But I'd love to goto the Bahamas, or Hawaii, or Italy or Iceland....I could keep going....(:
That's a really tough call. My first instinct with vacations is often tropical and beachy, but I don't think that would work for a bead getaway as I'd want to be in the water all the time. I think going out with beady friends would be an adventure in itself but picking a destination is hard. A tour of locally owned bead and antique stores and flea markets would be ideal for me. However also fun would be holed up in a cabin somewhere without distractions other than the company and the beads.
That's a tough question. I love tropical places--the sun, the palm trees, the sand and water. St. John might be really nice for a vacay with beady buddies.
Super cute tropical beads and charms!
I think a beach or the desert would be great. But it would also be great to be in the woods in a cabin with beady friends. I would probably bead more there than in the heat near a pool. Too much swimming!
The first thing that popped into my mind was a cruise. Going on one is in my bucket list and how better then with friends I have made over the internet and through Facebook.
These are great! A cruise to the place of my choice? I grew up in India and would love to go back and rediscover that country- as well as go on a bead hunt! Christie
They are so gorgeous! I love the shapes, the bright colors and sun soaked shiny finish! If I could go anywhere to create I'd love to go someplace warm and passionate like Bali or Barcelona!
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