Today's featured artist is Kristin Louthan. Her studio name is Prairie Girl Glass. Before we get on with the interview, let's take a look at some of Kristin's spacers:
What do you make/what are you known for?
I am very fond of using strong color and have a huge preference for dots! I love the texture they can add, and I do mix and match assortments in lots of colorways, which has turned into one of my signature styles. I'm really fond of line art and illustration, and I have been upping my stringer design work as well. I always have some encased beads, usually mix and match sets. It's a personal preference for me as I think that encased beads really showcase the unique qualities of glass and make a nice break from the strong, crayon colors that I otherwise use.
My latest style is patchwork, or pop art, style beads. This lets me use lots of cool colors and experiment with designs. It may sound like I jump around a little, and you might think that if you look at my shop. But it all seems to go together to me, and my buyers tend to like variety as well. The best compliment for me is when people say, we can tell that's a “Kristin” bead. I'm never sure what they mean, but I hope that means I do the fun stuff!
Do you ever space out at the torch? What do you think about/listen to/watch?
I work in an outdoor porch studio in sunny Arizona. We enjoy great weather here pretty much the whole year and I love working outside! It's very quiet also, and it helps me stay in the "zone". I don't even listen to music. I have cats, chickens and roosters come by occasionally. Sometimes the pup gets out and visits me as well. He hates being inside! It seems I'm always busy but I'm sure I do space out. I really don't know where time goes! I try not to worry about it or rush too much. I write out lists so my goals are organized and I don't have to worry too much about it when I am on the torch. Then, I just sort of go. Every day is like a new adventure.
What was the Worst burn / cut you ever got??? How did it happen, where was it? Special treatment???
Well, I don't want to dwell....but good timing with that question :( I'm currently working through the worst burn I have had since I started torching about 3 years ago. I had cleaned my torch and reset it lower than usual. I didn't catch it until I reached for some stringers on the worktable and put my hand right into the flame! The side of my hand has a nasty burn now. No special treatment was needed, thankfully. It's a good reminder that what we do can be fairly hazardous. I won't make that mistake again!
What was the hardest skill for you to learn and how did you over come? Any tips to share?
Good stringer work was a very early goal for me. I knew it would take a lot of practice but I tried not to get too frustrated. I think this is a good tip for most of the things that we do, to challenge ourselves but accept that it will take time to really accumulate the skills. I found that taking control of the flame is really important to gaining good heat control skills. Sounds pretty simple but it takes time to have the confidence and the awareness. For me, it took about a year, and I feel working on this goal helped me grow tremendously in a lot of ways. Encasing, on the other hand, is something that can still be a total exercise in frustration. I have to put in a lot of work, depending on my glass batch, to have the clarity that I want for my beads. Some things you just have to take as they come...grrr.
What is YOUR favorite jewelry to wear?
I love mix and match, with a little piece here or there that makes everything special. Or else, I'll go simple, with just a bead or two on a cord. I like an attitude, or strong style. I also like the ability to change things around when I feel like it. I think this strongly influences my work and it keeps me enjoying what I do :)
You can find more of Kristin's work here:
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