Artist: Heather Powers
Business name: Humblebeads
Location: San Antonio, TX
Website & Blog:
How do you describe your work, Heather? And how did you happen to pick the name “Humblebeads”?
My work is primarly handcrafted art beads inspired by the colors and textures of nature. I love earthy hues and organic designs. I do have a line of one-of-a-kind jewelry that I sell to a local gallery and at holiday shows. I’d say my beads and jewelry could adorn Mother Nature herself.
The name of my business is humblebeads because of the humble status of polymer clay as an artist’s medium.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process goes in two directions. The first is sketching. My two favorite sources of inspiration are nature and art history. I love looking at paintings from my favorite artists and incorporating their color palette or designs into my beads. After I’ve sketched out some designs I head to my studio. I start by mixing up a custom palette of colors. Sometimes I’ll flip through clothes catalogs or look at color trend charts for new shades. I’ll create a series of canes, which are long skinny tubes of designs that I cut off in paper thin slices and apply to on my beads. The sketches are a jumping off point, but sometimes happy accidents occur at the bead table. I will generally make beads for hours at a time. Each day I like to make beads for at least 4 hours, sometimes it’s more like 8 when the orders are pouring in. When I’m creating jewelry, I sometimes go by a sketch. More often, I’ll just sit down with my beads and see what happens.
What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I studied fine art in college and took small business courses. I knew when I graduated that I wanted to work for myself. The one class I’m most thankful for would be the color class I took my first year in art school. My beads are all about color. I’m a self-taught bead artist, learning mostly from books and magazines for the basic techniques. I spend a lot of time in my studio experimenting, coming up with my own designs and techniques. When I started to transition from focusing on selling jewelry with my handcrafted beads to selling just the beads I experimented with online auctions to see what customers liked. After a while, I started selling beads in my most popular styles and colors on my website. Sending work into magazines was really the start of my professional career as a bead artist. Also joining a group of professional bead artists and networking with them has been a tremendous help to me. They have been a great source of inspiration and information as my business has grown.
Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
Definitely my pasta machine. I couldn’t make beads without it!
What inspires you to create?
Creating beautiful objects to share with others is my inspiration to create on a daily basis.
What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
A call to my mom, bead artist Beverly Herman, usually does the trick when I’m feeling overwhelmed! Connecting with others and knowing I’m not alone on my creative journey is a great deal of inspiration to me.
What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
I would say discover your own visual language. Find what images and symbols inspire you and let that be the starting point of your own creative process. Never copy, learn from others and translate basic techniques into something new. Also experiment, try new techniques or other mediums, you’ll grow as an artist. Always be willing to take risks and follow your own path.
What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
Well, I’m a work-at-home mom with two girls so that takes up a big part of each day! Professionally, when I’m not busy making beads, I’m working on our next bead cruise or pursuing my dream of illustrating for children’s books.
So what’s new for this year?
In March, the Art Bead Scene will be celebrating their one year anniversary! Join us for a month of beady surprises and a challenge with over $500 worth of art bead prizes.
On March 1st, the 3rd annual Bead Cruise will set sail. Joining us this year are instructors Rachel Nelson Smith, Marcia DeCoster, Eni Oken, Beverly Herman and Heather Powers. The Bead Cruise offers innovative classes by nationally know instructors along with the luxury of a Caribbean cruise!
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