Inside the Studio :: Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry

Welcome to Inside the Studio!

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, Annette Bond! You have won a $25 gift voucher for either the jewellery shop or the  bead shop of Claire Lockwood.  Please send Claire an email with your information.

This week we visit the studio of Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry.

Five years ago this month I was asked to join a brand new artist’s cooperative gallery in Stevens Point called Gallery Q. The idea was to bring together local artists in a gallery where they could exhibit their work and sell it. I was requested to join them and it was a huge leap of faith for me. I wasn’t sure that I had what it took to be a part of something like that, but was very honored to have been asked. After all, I don’t have a degree in art, so could I really be considered an ‘artist’? That concept sometimes still niggles at my brain and provides me with moments of self-doubt.

Since I joined I had a lot of time to get to know about arts management, from working the desk to hanging the shows. In 2010 my fellow artists talked me into putting on  my own solo exhibit. I found it hard to come up with a concept that was worthy of filling an entire gallery until the day that I was working in the gallery admiring all the beautiful local art. That is when it hit me that I would be inspired by the art on those walls like I was inspired by the art each month here at Art Bead Scene. It was one of the single most successful gallery exhibit that we ever had at the Gallery Q.

Flash forward to today. Last November I pitched an idea for a collaborative show to celebrate five years of local art. I tentatively called it the ‘Hidden Q’ show and my concept was inspired by the hidden Mickey’s that you can find in any Disney property. Everywhere you look you can spot those famous ears… in signage, on wrought iron railings, in carpeting. They are subtle but a part of the culture.

My idea was much the same… put a hidden Q in each art piece, no matter the medium. You can imagine that some people were right on board from the moment I pitched it, and others were a bit more apprehensive. After all, they justified, you can’t sell artwork with Qs in it, could you? But it didn’t have to be overtly a Q…. it could be a curlicue, or a cue stick, or a queue… and it could be as obvious as large Q. Over the ensuing months, just about every artist in the Gallery Q jumped in, as well as some artists who had been represented there in the past.

Then the Master Gardeners approached us. They put on a very well attended Garden Parade at various home gardens throughout the area in mid-July. They asked if we would be willing to be a stop on the Garden Parade where they would have the Master Gardeners select some art to inspire special floral arrangements. How could you say no to that sort of collaboration?

I created the poster above to help publicize the event. And this weekend is the big gallery changeover, where all the art on all the walls comes down and the new show is set. This will be the biggest gallery exhibit yet! And while I am ‘in charge’, I am very cognizant of the fact that this is very much a show for every artist and a way to bring more attention to our Gallery Q. I will be making up a scavenger hunt that will feature all the Hidden Q art so that patrons can have fun looking for the Qs and enter for a chance to win a total of five prizes totaling $500 in gift certificates to buy art from the Q. I am even having a local bakery artist create an exact replica of that poster for a special birthday cake!

For my art, I decided that I would focus on fonts. I am a font junkie, so this was my chance to create a set of sculptural pieces that use the Q as the primary structure. I have always been a fan of Alexander Calder’s jewelry and I wanted this to be my nod to his genius using common materials in unexpected ways.

I got out my Now That’s a Jig from Brenda Schweder and started playing with forms and shapes until I found something I liked. From there it all sort of fell into place. I used dark annealed steel wire, hammered a special texture and created these links one by one. Nearly ruined my fingers in the process! One link got the special treatment with gold leaf. This is just a close up detail of the links. I wore this statement necklace to the recent Bead & Button show and it garnered a lot of attention from some important directions, so I can’t really share the whole thing with you…yet. I will certainly be making more pieces with this similar style. I call this ‘AlphabetiQ‘ … do you see the Q?

As I was making this I started to see visions of other letters and I will be pursuing where that will lead. I am excited about having a direction for some new work and think that it will be quite interesting. I am excited that my ‘AlphabetiQ’ necklace is one of 14 chosen for the Garden Parade from all the entries, and I can’t wait to see how my necklace will inspire the floral designer!

Since I can’t very well sell that piece, I came up with another font based design that I call ‘Q Marks the Spot’. These copper and brass pendants are each unique with their stamped textures and markings, but have the same abstract structure. I only started with eight of them since I thought they might not go over well. I was worried that my artistic vision could be deemed too weird. But now I think that I will likely have to create more of these since one of them sold to a woman who stopped into the Gallery Q before I even had them in the POS system and the show doesn’t open until July!

I may not have gone to school for my art but each time I get the chance to do gallery work and associate with these local peers I feel more and more at home with the moniker ‘artist’.

So that leads me to my question for you… do you think people are born as artists or do they have to learn to become one? Or both? What is your opinion?

The winner will receive a ‘Q Marks the Spot’ necklace that I will create just for you!

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32 Comment

  1. maryharding
    June 27, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Love your font metal work Erin. So inventive and beautiful!!!

  2. Kathy Lindemer
    June 27, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I think that some people are born with artistic talent. They are interested and get joy from the arts. These folks are driven to discover more about this interest and this results in their artistic talents increasing and expanding..

  3. Ann Schroeder
    June 27, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I love your AlphabetiQ idea and necklace and your pendants. This direction sounds very exciting. I think artists are both born and created. The best ones are born and then develop that natural talent. Being an artist is part technical skill, which can be learned, but also the ability to think in a new way. It's always so fun to see and read about!

  4. Alice
    June 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    What a great theme! I believe many people are born with their artistic talent. As a young girl I was sketching and it grew from there.

  5. Divya N
    June 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I feel that almost everyone is born with art and creativity; very few (the geniuses) are aware of it by themselves, some need guidance from parents, teachers or friends and the remaining inspite of this guidance fail to identify the art within them. Art and design schools help people to push themselves further, adding a little structure to the guidance, making them more disciplined and focused to hone their craft. They also expose them to a wide range of techniques and skills creating a strong foundation. So yes, people are born with art but its learning and practising that makes them as artists.

  6. KayzKreationz
    June 27, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I love the Q marks the spot pendants. I think a little of both. I took art in school and was not good at it, but since I've loved making my own 'art' in glass and jewelry. So I think I was born with the desire/talent, but just needed to learn how to channel or use it and what medium to use it in.

  7. Kristi Jaro
    June 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I think that people are born as artists.

  8. Claire Lockwood
    June 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    These are great designs, Erin! I wish I could win!

  9. Colleen
    June 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Love this new direction!

    I think it's both. I think some people are born artists. Others, like me, are creative and want to create but have to really work to be able to express that in an artistic way.

  10. Kathy
    June 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I love these pendants. They are so creative and fun. I think that artists are born and are best either when they know nothing (not limited by what they think they can do) or when they have studied quite a bit (know what others have done and can build in new directions). Thanks for the discussion.

  11. Erin S
    June 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Those are the coolest necklaces EVAH!Love the contemporary geometric direction you're headed in. And I think it's both–You have to have some inherent natural talent, but you also have to develop skills and practice your craft in order to achieve your full potential.

  12. beadrecipes
    June 28, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Personally, I have never felt like an artist. In my family, my mum is an artist — a potter — and my sister studied fine arts and still dabbles in video/film and other artistic things, but I was always the scientist and the writer. I am terrible at drawing and painting, so I guess my artistic talents lie in different directions, and I'm slowly uncovering them. I still wouldn't consider myself an artist! So in a convoluted answer to your question, I think that while some people are born to be artists, other people can become artists, as they uncover their own abilities.

  13. Shaiha
    June 28, 2014 at 1:42 am

    I think that anyone can be as an artist as long as they are willing to let go of their preconceived notions and let the muse speak through them. And that is something that you are definitely willing to do. I consider you an artist and can only hope that I will get to be as good as you when I grow up.

  14. Sarajo Wentling
    June 28, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Those q's are awesome and it's do exciting to hear about your upcoming show and the success of the gallery!

    I really struggle with the thought of myself as an artist. I just don't think of myself that way but I wonder if that may shift with my involvement in the artist coop gallery / art center in my town.

    That doesn't really answer your question, but I'm not sure what I think. If I am an artist then I certainly wasn't born one! This whole creation thing didn't start for me until 7 years ago or so.

  15. Kristen
    June 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I think we are all born with the ability to be creative but some of us are blessed with lots of artistic talent! It takes a lot of practice and work to develop our creative side but when you love it the practicing part is fun. My husband is a flower gardener and he wouldn't say he's an artist but he has a way of mixing colors, shape, and textures that is very artistic!
    I love your metal work!

  16. Deb Fortin
    June 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Love both your Q-links and our Q-spots. the gold leaf accent really makes the links one edgy .

    It's hard to say whether one is born an artist or not. depends on how one defines the word ARTIST.

    We are all born with a talent for creativity, but it manifests itself in each of us in a different way or in different mediums. some with paint , some with metal, some with fabric, some with food, some with decor.

    It can be learned for sure but it's when you put your soul into your art that you truly become an artist.

  17. Tracee Dock - The Classic Bead
    June 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    What a wonderful story and I certainly admire your initiative and the ability to pull so many groups together.
    Kudos to you!

  18. Cory Tompkins
    June 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    What an exciting time for you Erin, it's great to hear that you are getting more comfortable with your inner Arteeest! I always feel weird saying that word to describe myself too. Maybe because my brother was the artist in our family, the one with the fine arts degree. I think some people are born with creativity, some people have none and don't care about it

  19. Therese's Treasures
    June 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Erin,
    I love your work the "AlphabetiQ" necklace is awesome, and the "Q Marks the Spot" pendants are just as awesome. Best wishes on the Gallery show.
    I believe that one is born with the ability to create art and that it is nurtured as one matures through learning to hone one's skills.

  20. Veralynne Malone
    June 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Great story, and I think we are born with many God give talents. It is up to us to discover them and us them.

    [email protected]

  21. Mary Anne
    June 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    You are so truly creative, Erin..proof that 'art' is in our nature from birth.I think 99% of us have it, but though formal training can help discover hidden talent and broaden our knowledge, open new horizons, I believe many don't need it.
    Your 'Q's are simply marvelous..in design and execution. You inspire..:)

  22. Susanm
    June 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I thin k there's a difference between being an "artist" and being creative. Hard to imagine an artist who isn't creative. However, creativity takes lots of forms. I'm a creative person who likes to do all sorts of activities – gardening, jewelry, cards, sewing. I'll never be an artist (ok with that).

  23. Chris White
    June 28, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Great article Miss Erin! What a great subject to debate. I think anyone can learn the basics of any type of artistic work, however, I firmly believe only a lucky few are iborn with an artistic eye and keen sense of design. Someone lucky enough to be born with artistic talent sees the world in a much different, exciting, and unique way. It cannot be taught, it is truly a gift, a treasure to hold on to, and no can can take that away.

  24. WA_side
    June 29, 2014 at 5:48 am

    I think we are all born with a desire to create, however that takes many forms, and only some people choose to pursue and see themselves as artists.

    Following on from that, we can all learn to be an artist in some field, however it may take some time to find what connects with us and many of us simply believe we haven't the talent because we've tried something that didn't suit us.

    I think, more than anything else, it is about belief. You might think you are not a great artist, but if you still think of yourself as an artist, then you are. Most of the world simply believes they are not.

  25. Susan Marling
    June 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I love your new works especially Q Marks the Spot. It has been fun to journey with you and see your work evolve. I think people are born with creativity and it is up to them to develop it – along whatever lines they choose. So I guess, I think it is both.

  26. Susan Lloyd
    June 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I believe they are born with the passion and ability to be an artist, but experience, training, and learning finishes it.

  27. stregajewellry
    July 1, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Love these new ideas Erin! So much fun! I think that everyone is born with a "talent". Whether that talent is encouraged or not is something else. I never thought of myself as artistic. When I was in school, our "art" teacher focused on the kids who could draw and that was "art" to me. It wasn't until I took my first wire wrapping class that I even thought I might be the tiniest bit artistic It wasn't until I bought a book called a Zentangle A Day that I found I could draw! It wasn't until I took a Think and Design class that I found I could create my own designs instead of embellishing other people's designs. It's a it late, at 70 years old, but I love expressing myself. That is why whenever I see a child who has no one to encourage him/her, I stop and show them how to imagine something different. I'll never stop doing that. Art needs encouragement and nourishing.

  28. Marybeth
    July 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I have seen both. My experience is that persistence and perseverence, BELIEF in oneself as an artist, are key. "Talent" can come to anyone who practices diligently, relentlessly, passionately… I've seen it happen so many times.

  29. Lori Bowring Michaud
    July 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    As always, fabulous Erin! I think both – some people are born as artists and either develop further through patience and practice or doing both and seeking further education. Some people have a desire and keep working and working to perfect their art. Not everyone can be a fine artist, but there's so much art and beauty in the world that I believe there's a niche for everyone who has the passion.

  30. Kristen
    July 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I do thi no everyone is born artistic it just may take time to find your talent. So many give in to easily when failure occurs.

  31. Ann
    July 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I do not think that people are born artists. I think it is environment, education, and encouragement. As I am a design educator, I teach people to draw. It is very technical. I also teach them to think creatively. That together may make an artist. It is then up to them to feel and create!

  32. Heather Powers
    July 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I'm looking forward to seeing more of the show on your blog. I love both Q designs – you are soooo clever. And neither design seem like a Q at first, they just look like great designs. I like the layers of your copper pieces.
    I think we all have the potential to be artists. We just need to trust our instincts, explore and take creative risks. I think you should comfortably sport a capital A for artiste! The way you look at the world and design – your creative approach makes you a very artistic designer.

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