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bead soup blog party


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!