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Artist profile: Tina Murphy

Artist: Tina Murphy
Business name: 2 Cool Creations
Location: Kennewick, Washington

2 Cool Creations
Facebook page 

Tina, how do you describe your work?
I would describe my work as Organic, colorful, and fun! Wearable art pieces! I chose my business name from my Ebay Name which is 2 Cool Tina. So since I had purchased a lot of my silver and gem strands on Ebay it came to me one day.

What is your creative process like?  
When I began designing jewelry, it came so naturally, I had always wondered how people wrote stories or thought up songs until I started making jewelry. Now I understand! Designs pop into my mind non-stop! I had to start sketching my designs in a sketchbook and have quickly filled up several! What really inspires me is nature and the stones themselves. I can grab a bead strand and instantly a design and color combination comes to mind. One compliment I hear over and over is that people love how I put together my colors, not everyone has that gift.

I do sketch my designs but not so much to plan them out but to rather document what design pops into my head before it's gone! So many designs flood my mind all of the time and even wake me up at night. Particularly if I buy a gem strand that I get really excited about! I love music, fast paced dance/techno, dub step, fast and loud! But I rarely get to play it when I'm working. I create at the kitchen table because that is the biggest area in the house for my things, it seats ten people so I can really spread out! I just pile colors on the table and start mixing!! If I am stringing a necklace I plan as I go. I don't draw it out each time. All of my drawings are for my wire wrapped or silver smith pieces; not any beaded pieces. I make jewelry every day after work and sometimes before work. and on the weekends. Depending on what I'm doing it can take all day or several days. My husband and I dig for some of our stones and cut all of the pendants ourselves. We both cut but he is a much better lapidarist than me.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I still consider myself a hobbyist because I still have a full-time job outside of the jewelry making that pays for my jewelry making habit! I work as an Industrial Hygiene Technician at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. I basically keep people safe from Chemical/Environmental hazards in the workplace.

When it comes to my artwork, I am mainly self-taught.  A couple of years ago my husband and I did take a basic silver-smithing class through our Gem and Mineral club and when Silver Art Clay came out I took a class on that at the local bead shop in Yakima. But that is all of the formal training I have had to this point. I taught myself to wire wrap and am very glad for that because I have my own style that is different from most. I began wire wrapping twelve years ago, at that time it was out of style and now has totally flooded the market again in popularity! I feel that my main signature design it the "double bail" I thought that putting a stone sideways to what most people would set it and having two bails was a more artistic way to set it. Now I see the trend popping up in other designs too.

Is there a tool or material that you can't imagine living without?
My husband!! He runs the rock saws and he inspires me! We are a great team and plan on this being our retirement gig!

What inspires you to create?
What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough? I go out and look at gem strands the more colorful the better. I just have to buy an interesting strand or cut a beautiful rock with a great pattern in it and that inspires a design! I feel it basically tells me what it wants to be!

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry? Inventory! That is my downfall! Keeping great records, staying organized and realizing what your jewelry really cost to make it! I still couldn't tell you what things cost to make because I still am not that organized to write down the cost of every component!

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
My other job and my wonderful family.

What's your favorite comfort food and your favorite anything else?
My favorite comfort food has to be my famous Tuna Casserole! Its warm and very cheesy! I am also a chocoholic big time! but it has to be really nice chocolate like a Swedish or Swiss Chocolate! Favorite Color is the blue on the chest of a Peacock! That blue!

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