Studio Saturday with Erin Prais-Hintz

Welcome to Studio Saturday! 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.
This weeks winner is Erin Strother! Congratulations! You have won a ‘Goddess Bless You’ button!
Send Tari an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.
This week we visit the studio of Erin Prais-Hintz at Tesori Trovati Jewelry.
I never met a challenge that I didn’t like. I find that I am quite comfortable in my own little rut, that there is little incentive for me to push myself further, but I also know that there is so much more waiting for me and I am the only one that holds me back. So a few years ago I started seeking out challenges.
It started innocently enough. Right here. With the ABS monthly challenges.
At first I just looked and oohed and aahed a lot. I didn’t think I could make anything good enough to post. But then there was that time that they did Matisse, and I thought, ‘Why not? It is only one harmless little challenge? What could happen?’ 

{One of my first ABS submissions inspired by Matisse, March 2009 featuring ceramic discs from Jennifer Heynen of Jangles, still one of my favorite pieces}

 I entered my piece and was delighted that I was chosen as the designer of the week by Miss Jennifer Heynen of Jangles. I will never forget the high that I felt from that moment. I was in awe that people could make jewelry inspired by master works of art. And it was also my first introduction to the world of art beads, mini masterpieces in themselves. Those editors at ABS kept coming up with new inspiration every month, which is like crack for me. I couldn’t get enough. And I recall completely looking forward to what the next month might bring. And seeing how I could push my own limits.

{‘Grow Tall, Bend Deep & Love Life’ for the ABS challenge April 2011 featuring a Green Girl Studios leaf, a ceramic leaf bead from Earthenwood Studios and a tile from Marie at More Skye Jewels}
From that innocent foray into challenges, I started hitting harder competitions: first it was the online retailers and their annual contests for prizes, next it was publications like Bead Trends and Stringing. And finally, I felt the bug to compete in the Bead Star. From there it was only natural to do the Bead Soup. It was a lot of hard work, but I was up to the challenge.

{Winner of 2nd place in the Designs with Heart category of Bead Star 2009 – ‘Good Advice’ features ceramics by Jennifer Heynen of Jangles}

Then I decided that I just wasn’t getting the same sort of buzz from the challenges that I was doing. I wanted more. I had ideas of what I would like to see in a challenge, and so I started offering my own version called ‘Inspired by…” each month and a few people played along with me. I was now fully addicted.
Then I decided that I should come up with my own challenge, and in 2010 I started with the first – the Challenge of Color in November 2010. I was able to tease my participants into joining me and getting the same high off their creative juices that I was experiencing. And I have been able to do it again… and again… This November will be the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color and I am already planning what we will do to rev up our color palettes!

{For my Challenge of Literature, inspired by a poem by Cristina Norcross “For Those Who Endure Midwest Winters” I call this ‘Winter Into Spring’ featuring fold formed and patinated leaves from Mary Jane Dodd, polymer clay egg from Heather Powers and a wee ceramic birdie from LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio}

 This year I decided to bring the crack of a challenge to the masses with a new challenge each quarter. There was the Challenge of Music in February, the Challenge of Literature in May and now, on Monday, July 30th, I will announce the next Challenge of… on my blog. I can’t give away all the secrets, but I will give you a taste and tell you that it will take you to places you never thought you would go! (Don’t you just want to mainline a bit of that challenge with me? Hmmmm? 😉

And lately, there have been others coming to me and suggesting different themes or ideas for hops… and I have been gently encouraging them to pursue that on their own, to splinter off and make their own attempt at running a blog hop. To franchise the idea, if you will. After all, there is so much to be gained by being the hostess and there are plenty of great ideas to go around!

{‘Inner Joy’ created for the 4th Bead Soup Blog Party, September 2011, featuring a gorgeous enameled hummingbird and beautiful lampwork glass beads from Beth & Evie McCord}
I have found that the best challenges don’t have to be the largest ones with the most participants or the wackiest theme. The whole point is about creating a community, cultivating an appreciation for our artistic differences and giving ourselves a push outside our comfort zone. That is what we are trying to do here at the Art Bead Scene as well. I hope that is what happens when people come to play with me in my Challenges and what others experience with the myriad of opportunities out there there is a hop for everyone!

And speaking of hops, today is the first of three reveals for the popular Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things. Lori is a whiz at running one of the largest hops around and making everyone feel welcome. My reveal date is today. Come on over to my blog today to read about my new friend Eni Fabian from Austria, who makes amazing seed bead creations, and see what we created with our Bead Soups. And if you are looking for a new challenge, join me on Monday, July 30th for a reveal of the next Challenge of…

Up for grabs this week to one random commenter on this post:
A custom made ‘take time’ message stick pendant
Do you like to participate in hops and challenges? Why or why not?
What are some of your favorites?
What is your best idea for a hop or challenge? 
Have you ever considered hosting one of your own?
P.S. Come back here on July 31st for a reveal of the ABS Monthly Blog Tour that I curate as well!

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30 Comment

  1. Patti Van
    July 28, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Thank you for sharing your lovely pieces here today! Each piece is gorgeous,

  2. Marian Hertzog
    July 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I have really enjoyed the Bead Soup Blog Party by Lori Anderson. I have not tried any other but after reading this I think I should! The best part of the BSBP has been getting to know other jewelry artists.

  3. beadrecipes
    July 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Oh Erin, you tease! I am looking forward to your next challenge! I'm getting quite a buzz from participating in challenges and hops, and it certainly encourages me to stretch my wings and push myself to try new things. I've done two challenges and the Simple Truths hop with you so far, one with an Australian beading forum, and now I am taking part in my first Bead Soup Blog Hop which is proving to be so much fun.

  4. Regina
    July 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Love the 'Winter Into Spring' necklace, just gorgeous. I love participating in challenges, makes me think outside the box and also meet some great beaders. My favorites the bead soup party, of course. And enjoyed the color challenge and I hope to participate again. Will I host my own, i don't think so, I'm afraid that nobody will come.

  5. A Polymer Penchant
    July 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Oh boy how did another challenge roll around so fast! I guess that's my real answer, that time flies when you are having fun! I will be very interested to see what you come up with on Monday.

  6. Alice
    July 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Oh yes, I love entering challenges! They keep me at the bead table and allow me to exercise my muse and make things I may not have done on my own.

    I can't wait to see what new challenge you have come up with! And I would love to win one of your lovely stick pendants!

  7. Malin de Koning
    July 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Erin, thanks for a great post. About challenges and hops, I have to say I am pretty much like you when it comes to them. I love them!!! I love them coz they take me on exciting unexpected excursions creatively, and because I get to know other beaders around the world that I can get so much inspiration from. I really like the Art Bead Scene ones, so i'd have to say they are my favorites, maybe because art has always been such an important part of my life. But I have to admit that I'd be bored if they were the only ones I ever did. I need variation, and I love it if something seams a bit outside of my own comfort zone or just plain difficult. I find that I sometimes sign up to a challenge or hop even if I really don't have the time. Simply because I can't resist if it sounds so exciting. I haven't yet hosted a challenge of my own, but I do get ideas for them every once in a while. I like the ones where you get inspiration from another art form than jewelry, or if the boundraries are somewhat tight. I am really looking forward to your next one Erin. All my best!!!!

  8. Jean
    July 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    How beautiful! And how true.
    jean yates

  9. Boot ~C
    July 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    every time I see Winter into Spring it takes my breath away!

  10. Elizabeth
    July 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I like participating in blog challenges as time permits. I love reaching into the virtual world and having a tangible connection.

  11. Maneki
    July 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Challenges and hops can be so much fun and sometimes the kick in the behind you need to start a certain project.

    For a newbie I would like to add a little word of caution: be careful so you don't sign up for too many challenges and/or blog hops close in time as it might create stress and guilt over not finishing or being able to hop around instead of being fun and inspiring. In the beginning enthusiasm can make you want to join in on all things that sound fun and forget to stop and think about whether there's time to do it all.

    This time I'm not in the BSBP, but have sign up for Saturday Sequins' blog hop. I'm also going to really try and make something for one of all the monthly challenges available online. Deadlines keep passing me by and I always remember a design challenge about two days before deadline…

    Some years ago I was active on a forum where I started challenges and even hosted a swap or two. Feels like ages ago. It would be fun to host a blog hop challenge or swap blog hop or something. Swaps are more time consuming to organize, but I love swapping (with one person or as part of a big blog party). It'd be an international challenge/hop as I love being part of this worldwide beading community. I guess the reason I haven't done anything is that I feel so anonymous, especially now in the last years when I pretty much stopped participating in forums and I've never been on FB where "everybody" hang out these days, that I worry it would be difficult to spread the word and get people to join up.

    If I were to do something what would the theme be? Silk? Dragons? Cats? Fairytales? Fibre swap? Who knows. I'd just have to keep my fingers crossed there are others out there who'd like the theme as much as I do!

  12. Maneki
    July 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    (Forgot to say I love 'Winter into Spring'! Think I missed to say it even back then as I had to opt out of the literature challenge… It's just lovely! It really feels like that time between winter and spring.)

  13. Kashmira
    July 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I loved reading this journey! Can totally relate to it!

    Do you like to participate in hops and challenges? Why or why not?
    I love challenges where everyone gets the same components. Why? I learn something new, even if it is components I have used before, I try to use a technique I have not. And I love seeing the various interpretations fo the same thing.

    What are some of your favorites?
    The Cocktail Blog Hop: http://sadafulee.blogspot.com/2012/05/cocktail-hour-blog-hop-manhattan.html
    and this one where the reveal is not yet done:

    What is your best idea for a hop or challenge?
    I am thinking of doing a components challenge, and a charity blog hop.

    Have you ever considered hosting one of your own?
    Yes, the two I mentioned above, have yet to do them though 🙂

  14. A Half-Baked Notion
    July 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Erin, when I read your post I felt like you were talking directly to me! I started my blog this week and I just yesterday submitted a photo for the July ABS Challenge (my first time). I have loved reading about and viewing the BSBH participants' designs over the past 6 months or so. Maybe next time I'll be brave enough to participate! I'm far from the point of initiating my own challenge, but you have given me a lot of food for thought. I'm definitely going to think about a "take time" message in case I'm fortunate enough to be the winner. Thanks for all the beautiful inspiration you continue to provide, Erin!

  15. Lynda
    July 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I've been doing a few challenges and hops this year just to try them out. Can't take on too many because they can be time consuming…both in the making of the jewelry, and in the blog hopping. I love the ABS because it combines two of my favorite passions, art and jewelry. Also, so enjoyed the Alice in Wonderland, with literature as inspiration.

    Never considered hosting one…seems overwhelming and I still can't figure out how to load everyone's blog sites onto my post for blog hops. Duh…

  16. Azure Accessories
    July 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Great pieces…love all the randomness happening! I enjoy making pieces like that but my customers not as much as I.

    As for challenges…I do enjoy them but I've found I don't have the time I would like to spend on them so I don't do much anymore… :~(

    Enjoy the weekend.

  17. Pixiloo
    July 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I am counting the days until Tuesday now. :). I like challenges and hops. I find that a goal helps me get things done and the constraints sometime make creating something a bit easier. I'm not sure I would host one, but maybe, if the right idea came aling.

  18. Windbent
    July 29, 2012 at 2:56 am

    I am participating in my first Bead Party Blog Hop now. I have done a ABS challenge and really enjoyed it. I am starting to participate in more blog hops because it forces me to update my blog and I get to interact with people (making jewelry at home can be isolating). I think if I hosted a blog hop, (never say never but I really can't wrap my brain around attempting it)I would like to have a fairytale challenge.

  19. Jewels By Ine
    July 29, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I enjoyed reading your story ! 🙂
    My blog had his first anniversary in June so I decided it was time for a hop! The 6th Beadsoupblogparty is my first hop.. I'm really excited!! I would love to join challenges and so but I'm still in the ooh! ash! fase!
    I would love to join the 'Monthly Challenges inspired by painters'. Thanks for your story and you will see me the 30th July! 🙂

  20. Kristen
    July 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I have not entered any challenges yet. The entries are so wonderful that I admit I'm a bit intimidated. I will check out your new challenge and maybe get up my nerve to enter!

  21. KayzKreationz
    July 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I love to participate in hops and challenges. My very first one was a BSBP with Lori. But I also participated in your color challenge last November and am looking forward to it again. I like them because they make me think outside the box and try new things I might not think of or try otherwise. I haven't considered hosting one of my own yet, mainly because I'm not sure what all would be involved (I don't have lots of time to play), and don't know if I could come up with something anyone would like to try/do.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I love challenges!!
    I don't have a blog yet so I cannot enter blog hops but I still enjoy them immensely as a viewer.
    I loved Erin's literature inspired design challenge, I'd love to have taken part if I was a blogger.
    Maybe till the next one I will be!!

    [email protected]

  23. Meadowland Designs
    July 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I would love to, but haven't been able to find the time yet. {I do make my own small challenges: based off nature & flower photos or to make myself experiment with new techniques & materials.}

    I love seeing the Bead Soup blog hop entries.

    I think it would be fun to have a hop where two people with opposite tastes put together a mix in their own style & then swap it. It would really force you to get out of your comfort zone & to experiment.

    No I haven't really thought about hosting a challenge…yet!

    Love how your challenge pieces turned out & you have such fun, pretty pendants!


  24. Erin S
    July 30, 2012 at 1:04 am

    I do like challenges, but it has to push my buttons–I won't do them if I don't feel inspired. then of course there's the time issue. I don't do as many as I'd like, but once in a while I'll play.

  25. Renetha
    July 30, 2012 at 3:18 am

    I enjoy all hops and challenges. It gives me something to focus on instead of just randomly attempting to make something. The Bead Soup Blog Party swap/hop is the largest challenge I have every participated in. The joy was in receiving the package and making something right away. Who knows what the future holds, and maybe I will host a challenge or two!

  26. Joanna-Gloria
    July 30, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I always enjoy a good challenge
    I especially love those which include specific findings common for every entrant, I love seeing what unique creation each individual imagination can produce with the same material.

    Joanna-Gloria, [email protected]

  27. Shelley Graham Turner
    July 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I love challenges and hops. Yes, it makes me stretch out my creativity and keeps me moving. Howver, Mostly I like the interaction with other artists and seeing what others come up with.

  28. Shaiha
    July 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I adore the challenges as they really push me but at the same time are very relaxing because I am given an idea or some beads to play with and then my muse takes over. My favorites have to be your quarterly ones, the ABS monthly challenges and of course the Bead Soup which is where I started.

  29. Michelle W
    July 31, 2012 at 1:17 am

    the pieces are lovely! I do not have a blog, so I have never done a bead soup. I really do enjoy looking at all the bead soups!

  30. stephanie_mcginley
    August 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I have yet to do a challenge, but I love following them! I guess it is still a bit out of my comfort zone…However, I will do one, one of these days…And when I do, watch out! I think I will be much like you and won't be able to get them out of my system! Thanks for sharing with us!


    [email protected]

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