Friday, December 12, 2014

Inside the Studio with Erin Prais-Hintz

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 Debra Gibson!
You have won one of Mary's new metal toggles.
Please send Mary an email with your information. 

This week we check in with Erin Prais-Hintz to see what is going on Inside the Studio.


I have been riding a whirlwind the last few months.

If you have been following me, you know that in September, quite out of the blue, I was offered an opportunity that I just couldn't refuse: film four hour-long videos for Interweave (F+W Media).

Since my creating time is relegated to the 9p-midnight hours for me, and September weekends were filled with football games, Homecoming plus a full three-day school fundraiser, I really had to work hard and fast to come up with the content. Not only did I have to come up with four completely different ideas, but I had to make prototypes... write outlines, intros and scripts... gather supplies and materials... make travel arrangements... create jewelry with the techniques... and practice, practice, practice. Needless to say, I had a lot of sleepless nights!

I told Jean Cox that I was not a technique based artist. Rather, I have wide breadth of knowledge. I didn't mean that to sound like I don't know anything, it is just that I feel like I would be hard-pressed to have any one technique something that I am known for. I work in metals and wire... I string and assemble... I create with clay and resin and mixed media. I consider myself more of a bricolage artist, a bricoleur.

bri·co·lage /brēkōˈläZH,ˌbrikə-/ noun
     : something constructed or created from a diverse range of available things.
     : origin : French "to tinker, to do odd jobs" 
So constructing from the diverse range of available things in my own studio and life, I ended up with these four ideas that evolved into these four videos:

Shimmering Garden: wire wrapped petal shaped beads form a sparkling garden of blooms to give your pieces a fresh take on a retro look.

Fabulous Facets: polymer clay, inks and patinas combine to make rough faceted handmade beads in an ombre color effect.

Flashes of Brilliance: paint, mica, glitter, stones and resin combine for truly unique faux gemstones and include a new on the scene UV resin that gives almost instant gratification!

Wire Doodles: create freeform links and connectors in dark annealed steel wire that can be used in a variety of ways in your jewelry using both the Now That's a Jig and your hand tools

Filming was everything you would imagine it to be... overwhelming... nerve-wracking... hard work... and even fun! Putting something on like this is definitely a challenge and there is a lot that has to be prepared and thought out. It certainly makes me appreciate those that take the time to teach and share their knowledge, whether in written tutorials, slideshow webinars or workshop settings. I think that there has become such an expectation that content is delivered free for the taking and people find it so easy to criticize the work without any regard for the person behind the class. After going through this, I will certainly remember how much time and effort goes into the classes and tutorials that I take and truly appreciate it. I can remember how great it felt to be done with the filming and have some time to drive into the surrounding mountains near Fort Collins, CO to take in the breathtaking views. It was just what I needed to decompress and reflect on all that transpired.

And then you wait.

Luckily, they are really on top of pushing the content to the website as soon as possible. Did you know that Interweave offers over 500 videos on their site They are completely professional and efficient and I feel so grateful for this experience. Plus, I really didn't have to wait all that long before the videos were starting to show up on their site. Ready in just about three weeks!

I wasn't sure if I would be able to deliver content that was worth flying me out to Colorado for the subscription service on The good news is that they liked my content so much that they decided to also offer them as either downloads or DVDs through the Now that is a true 'something good!'

There is also something new that I am finishing up...can you keep a secret? It's a kit! F+W Media asked me to be the first featured artist in the month of January and they asked me to make up a kit to go along with the Fabulous Facets video. Right now my dining room looks like the elves have taken over! Next week I will be sending off limited edition kits to Interweave/F+W Media in time for the January blitz. I am calling them Creativity To Go Kits and I think they will really enhance the learning experience of the DVD.

Can I let you in on another secret? I will be co-teaching a class at the Bead & Button Show in June 2015 with Brenda Schweder (inventor of the Now That's a Jig that I used in the Wire Doodles video) based on my AlphabetiQ necklace. So you know what I will be busy preparing in January!

December and January seem to be the time that I gobble up videos and make arrangements to take classes. This is the time that I start thinking of new techniques I would like to try, teachers I admire that I would like to meet, skills that I would like to develop. I actively set aside funds each year to take classes and buy resources that will help me learn something new. For myself, I have already bought a bunch of polymer clay tutorials (like this and this and this) and I am looking at taking some new wire and metal working classes (like this and this and this and this). So my question to you is this...

What new skill/technique are you looking to learn in 2015?
Please feel free to share links to those tutorials, classes and retreats that you are looking into
(I am always looking for more ways to learn!)

A random winner will have their choice of either the Shimmering Garden or Fabulous Facets video to kick start your creativity for the New Year! 


Shai Williams said...

I would really like to take some classes to become more comfortable with my torch. I have set up an area but still not good at soldering. I also would like to get better with patinas.

baymoondesign said...

I would really like to take classes on creating with polymer clay. I have explored polymer clay, but I am not comfortable with it yet.

Mary K. McGraw said...

How fabulous for you Erin. Will check out your videos.

Tracee Dock - The Classic Bead said...

wow! You have been a busy girl. Congratulations is in order.... I cannot think of anyone more deserving as it is evident that you work hard in our craft. I am definitely going to check out the 'jig' and I too am devising a plan for my work in the upcoming year.
blessings to you
Tracee Dock / The Classic Bead

TesoriTrovati said...

Miss Shaiha - Kate Richbourg does some great videos on using your torch. I got the chance to meet her this week while we were both filming at Beads Baubles and Jewels.
Miss Kathy - of course, our own Heather Powers does great tutorials on polymer clay, and I would also recommend
Miss Tracee - you will LOVE the Now That's a Jig. And she has a new tool coming out - the Now That's A Pliers! It is one that you need to play with but so many possibilities!

Unknown said...

New skills? I would like to learn riveting and working with metal sheet more. And also, increase my beadweaving skills to include herringbone and some ropes. Too much to learn and too little time!

Colleen said...

I bought the Fabulous Facets dvd!

I'm trying to get things organized in my room so that I can get my workbench from Harbor Freight. Then my goal is to work on the classes I've bought but haven't been able to do. The Fabulous Facets, Heather's Bonbon Workshop, and maybe be able to join Heather's Color Bootcamp. I'd like to play with clay and start making my own beads more.

Leah Scott said...

I'd like to try working with polymer clay, especially using some of the cool techniques I've seen online.

Kristen said...

Congratulations Erin, this all sounds so great and exciting! I have a few DVD's on enameling and soldering and online classes I haven't looked at yet so that is my goal for 2015. I would also love to take this year long course in mixed media:

Unknown said...

Erin, Congratulations on this new adventure!

Bead woven jewelry has become my passion. I have invested in a good quality bead loom and would like to master that technique. As with all design, tutorials, videos, and lots and lots of reading material are key to mastering your art. That is one goal I hope to achieve in 2015.

Beadfest Phila is close to my home, and I hope to find a class of this type, or even venture into something new and different.

Creativity has no limits! The possibilities are endless.

Wishing you continued success!

Susanm said...

I would like to learn to work with resin and polymer clay. Love the Alphabetiq bracelet.

Unknown said...

What wonderful things are happening for you lately. Congratulations! It's fun to read about. When you ask about new techniques, several things immediately came to mind. There are so many things to learn! But since I'm s-l-o-w I know I first want to focus on working with polymer clay. I have the materials, so I should be able to do it soon.

Bijoux Gems Joy said...

Congratulations on everything you've been up to lately. I love your fabulous facets. They and a free instructional on undulating discs that I saw recently in an Art Jewelry email have inspired me to learn more about Polymer Clay. I also want to improve my metal clay and soldering skills. Hoping Santa will bring me a kiln but that may be a gift I give myself.

Keep up the great work.

PS. I'm tossing ideas around on how to use those beautiful pendants I won. Hopefully they will become more than ideas in January.

Deb Fortin said...

congrats on your video successes. It sounds like you had and exciting time doing them.
I just signed up for an online class to learn bead looming. I am also going to learn to do freeform peyote stitch in the New year. I have seen some fabulous bracelets using that technique and I have a ton of seed and e-beads crying out to be used. I would love to win one of your faceted beads.

Carol Briody said...

This is just about the coolest necklace I have ever seen! I love it! Congratulations!

Becky Pancake said...

Congratulations Miss Erin. You are a wonderful jewelry artist and you deserve the recognition that this will bring. I too am a bricolage. One of my top want to learn this year is using my kiln. I also want to try wire weaving more beaweaving techniques. Thanx for the chance to win one of your great tutorials.

Unknown said...

I am enjoying working with metal and polymer clay. I just started pretty much and coming from a ceramic printmaking background I am excited to be working like this again.

Carolyn said...


Congratulations on your videos. Would love to win the petal one.

I want to st art making my own findings and start making wrapped loops on a regular basis.

Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your videos and continued success in your new adventures.

Carolyn,,, ,

Sarajo Wentling said...

I've said it before, but I'm so very happy for you... so many exciting things going on in your world and no one deserves it more!

There's a ton a want to learn... for 2015 I'm super excited about the chain maille class I'm taking on the Bead Cruise. Hopefully I learn lots more than that though!

Larissa Heskett said...

AWESOME!! CONGRATS!! =) I look forward to the Videos!! =) Last year was my First time to attend the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee with my mom!! Oh how I LOVED it!! =) I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to make Jewelry and this was just an AMAZING Event!! The Classes Rocked and so did the People!! =) I would LOVE to learn more about the Jig and take some Classes!! I would LOVE to win!! THANKS for sharing and have a FABULOUS CHRISTMAS WEEK and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!