13 July 2012

Simple Truths Celebration

Today is the day to celebrate Simple Truths!

I decided in the fall of 2011 that I wanted to come up with a line of components that was all my own, something that I would enjoy using. I figured that if I had that line there might even be some others who would love them as well. And so you have!

I started with a book and a plan. I had read the book "Four Word Self Help" by Patti Digh and I enjoyed the pithy little quotes so much that I knew that I had to find a way to use messages in my pieces. At first I thought that all of them would have exactly four words, but that didn't last long. I am a collector of quotes and finally I knew what to do with them! I decided that they would be called Simple Truths::Modern Wisdom. But that became too cumbersome name so I just shortened it a bit. Simple Truths stuck.

I tried all sorts of different materials to bring the messages to life, including etched metal, stamped metal and even resin in bezels, but nothing felt right. In fact, it felt like a lot of work! I wanted this to be fun!

{Some of the tools of my trade.}

I just knew that I hadn't stumbled on the right path until the day that I played hooky from my plan to etch metal and broke out the polymer clay after reading a fun little tutorial by my friend Heather Powers on the Art Bead Scene. That was the lightbulb moment for sure!

{The very first Simple Truths - I have come a long way in the finishing of these!}

Now that I look at these early pieces, I realize that I have changed quite a bit in the short time that I have been making these. The way I create them, the materials I use, the process of colorization, the incorporation of messages... all have evolved rather quickly. I like the direction that I am going with them and I hope others do, too. In a perfect world, I would carve my own custom made stamps and solder my own custom made bezels, have 30 hours in a day and nothing other to do than create. Obviously, my world is not perfect ;-). For now, I am having fun with the possibilities that are available and I am working on a new custom made-to-order pendant that includes my own design in a custom carved stamp that will hopefully be available in Fall 2012. Stay tuned.... ;-)
{Just look at the fun details hiding in every nook and cranny of this illustration by Mary Engelbreit with one of my favorite quotes!}

Can you tell that I love color? I have always been influenced by the artwork of Mary Engelbreit. I buy her calendar each year, and I love all her cards. The fact that her illustrations are so colorful, so lively, so filled with layers of images makes me want to come back and stare at them for hours. Look closely and you will see so many charming details. Couple that with the fact that she puts these wonderful quotes on them, and you can see how it captures my imagination. I have a page-a-day calendar of her art this year and I found that I couldn't just toss out each page as I ripped it off. So now if you get an order from me you will also get a random quote from my stash. Just another way to send a little modern wisdom your way.

{'Live What You Love' is the message on the back - good advice, no?}
Imagine my surprise when the very first Simple Truth that I made into a necklace ended up on the cover of the Summer 2011 Stringing issue and some of the first charms I made ended up in the Beads 2011 Buyer's Guide. I have been honored that several of them have also shown up in the pages of other magazines in the designs of some truly talented jewelry artists that I admire! You don't know how proud that makes me!

{I think this one may well be my favorite one I created for Vintaj...and it was a last minute addition!}
And this spring I was honored to be selected by Vintaj to be their art bead partner for the month of May with Simple Truths I created in a storybook theme.

{"Just Be" series... toggle or pendant... you choose!}
From the moment that I started making my Simple Truths, people were attracted to them in a way that they weren't with the other experiments. People tell me that they love that meanings behind them, the colors, the images. They like the ones that are double-sided so that they can keep that message close to their heart. Or wear it proudly for all to see.

They are infinitely customizable. And the great suggestions that I have received from so many have kept me continually seeking out new ideas, new bezel settings, new color combinations, new messages.

{Created for the gallery exhibit "That's Amore" in February 2012. Those are the lines of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 on these Story Beads. My favorite poem to be sure!}

I have made them for weddings...

{Perfect little charm necklace for a wedding party, don't you think?}
...and anniversaries...

...reuniting with an adopted child all grown up and necklaces for those new to mommyhood...

{My very first custom order... to honor a young girl whose life was tragically cut short... 'do not forget me' in French}
...honoring those who have been lost to us...

...and celebrating the next chapter of a life.

I like the way that they can blend in with so many different materials. I like to use different metals in my work and mixing metals as well. And they work so nicely with everything from other polymer clay beads to lampwork glass to ceramic and everything in between.

{There is still room in the Club! Join us!}
I started the Simple Truths Sampler Club in June 2011 with the intent of sharing limited edition charms and pendants with people who would love them and give them a good home. Only 20 spots a month would be offered. The charms and pendants would never be sold elsewhere. And there would be flexibility in participating: 3-, 6-, 9- or 12-months. I wanted to make this Club structured in such a way as I would like to participate. It is why you are here today. So today I celebrate you!

Below are 18 different designers who have joined me on this hop to bring their Simple Truths into the light of day and make something inspired with them. I hope you will go and see what they did and leave them some comment love!

Erin Prais-Hintz
Sharon Misuraco
Tanya Goodwin
Alice Peterson
Melissa Trudinger
Lori Bowring Michaud
Rebecca Anderson
Chris White
Cherrie Fick
Rosanne Garvison
Shelley Turner
Marlene Cupo
Mary Harding
Lola Surwillo
Michelle Burnett
Kirsi Luostarinen
Paige Maxim
Kristen Fagan
Cynthia Riggs

And what would a party be without a gift? How about three?

1::Use the discount CELEBRATEYOU in my Etsy shop for 10% off your purchase OR the code FREESHIP for free shipping. Codes are good until August 31, 2012.

2::Love Simple Truths but haven't found the perfect one for you? Leave a comment below telling me what YOUR Simple Truth would say, what it might look like and I will create it just for you! One comment will be selected and I will come up with a design based on your suggestion, send you the first one and offer it as a special limited edition Simple Truth. ($20 value)

3::Do you love monthly surprises? One random comment will be selected for a 3-month subscription (August-September-October 2012) to the Simple Truths Sampler Club ($54 value).

Winners will be chosen from the comments on this blog post on Tuesday, July 17th. All comments MUST have an email. If I don't have a way to contact you, you can't win. Sorry!

In addition, I will also be giving away a 3-month spot in the Club to one of the participating blog hoppers. Sweet!

Go on and see what modern wisdom the hoppers will be sharing with you! And thank you for encouraging me in my journey!


Anonymous said...

It's so much fun playing with your creations Erin, and I love hearing about your inspirations for each one.
As for a Simple Truth idea from me, I've always been rather partial to the inscription on old maps: "Here be dragons". Perhaps a pendant with a dragon on one side? What do you think? (melissa_trudinger at yahoo.com)

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Erin, your simple truths pendants are awesome! I also love your blog hop idea and seeing what everyone else has created with your little beauties! I love the idea of Bedrecipes with the dragon (I LOVE dragons), but I still love our (mom and mine) quote "Improvise, Adapt and Overcome". I just have never had a design idea that went with it.
Have a great one Erin!!!

Krys said...

Always enjoy your blog posts and seeing the thoughts behind your art. A favorite quote my husband and I use all of the time is "Life is not a dress rehearsal" (which we said often when we moved to the Caribbean 17 years ago...) Looking forward to hopping!

peacockfairy said...

Oh Erin, I love Mary Engelbreit too! The oversized stuffed chair in my studio is very "her". The fabric is a mix of those cute cabbage roses, leaves, and checkerboard print! I sure love your Simple Truths, and have a few that need to make their way into pieces soon! Of course, if I were to choose one custom for myself, it would be a peacock or peacock feather!

Marlene Cupo said...

I truly enjoyed this challenge and using your Simple Truth's Pendant and now it will be seen by others as I wear it, instead of hoarding it. Love the new Just Be with the hole in the center.

Marcie Abney said...

You are beyond talented my friend and if I had a simple truth it would say this: "The truth shall set you free." Keep up the good work!

Alice said...


It was great to see how your Simple Truths started, and how they evolved. You have touched many lives with these treasures. I can't wait to see how they keep evolving.

I have really enjoyed (and needed) this challenge. Thanks so much for hosting this fun blog hop!

Dawn Doucette said...

Congratulations on one year!!!! I knew when I first saw your Simple Truth's collection that it was going to resonate with people and grow into something really, really amazing! And the growth continues which just tickles my heart for you dear friend!

After having an amazing breakthrough weekend retreat a few weeks ago... my new found simple truth would have to say "Follow Your Passion!" It's with great vigor I'm putting even more heart and soul into my artisan designs to create something that people will pass down to their heirs! My story... to be continued!

Your story.... Encore! Encore! Encore! Give us more!

We love you and are so grateful you share your gift of creativity with the world! You inspire us daily Ms. Erin! Go forth and spread ♥!

Cece Cormier said...

I love seeing your success with these pendants. Keep on going with them!

Christine Altmiller said...

I love the Simple Truth I won last year, Erin...a hummingbird with "you are beauty full" on it. I so desperately want to make something worthy of it and it sits on my beadboard with me whenever I bead. I use it for inspiration and I hold beads up to it as I work, looking for the right fit. I know it will happen when it happens. And when it does, the first person to see it will be you :-) You created something wonderful & grand in its smallness and I always like to see what's new!

Michelle said...

Thanks for a fun challenge, Erin. I thoroughly enjoyed creating a piece with your beautiful charm.

maryharding said...

Thank you Erin for making this fun Challenge possible and congrats on the one year anniversary. It is wonderful that you pendants are so versatile and loved by all. You are the best. This has been fun!!

Lola said...

Erin, I think your "simple truths" are absolutely amazing and I am so very glad you had this celebration! I'm wearing my new bracelet as I type this and have a feeling it's going to be my new go-to piece. Your work is beautifully inspiring!

Kim Stevens said...

Well Happy Birthday to Simple truths and kuddos to you for all your accomplishments through the last year.

I would love to see a simple truth that said - Finding my wings, learning to fly. It was my 6 word memoir for a challenge in a class with Kim Klassen (Beyond Layers). The 6 word memoir originated with Smith Magazine in the thoughts that although our story could fill hundreds upon hundreds of pages, sometimes all we need are a few words. Those were the six words that rolled off my pen to paper and I would love to see those on a simple truths pendant as a reminder for myself that in order to fly I need to leave the safety of the cocoon. It could be rectangular in shape, horizontal in orientation, and I do love pink.

Always such a pleasure to visit you...

Roxanne Mendoza said...

Hi Erin! I love all your 'simple truths' and have my favorites marked at etsy. Loved hearing the story behind them and how you started. I do have a favortie quote...so I will have to get with you and make it happen soon. Take care and have a great weekend!


Susan Lloyd said...

I have never really been a fan of the 'art bead' but, I must say, I have fallen in love with yours. I keep seeing the owls everyone and must get one eventually. I really want to join your club but will have to wait until sales are a little better (single mama). I have looked at all the blogs and there were some beautiful creations. congrats for you! and hope I win!!!
designs by susan

Cherrie Fick of En La Lumie're said...

Miss Erin, Thank you so much for hosting this fun blog hop. It is always fun to see what another designer might see in the same piece as me. I had a comment my designs tell a story. How perfect is that for your, Simple Truths? I love the way your beads come together in my studio and I love the thought of looking forward to a new design each month. What fun!! I have shared on my fb and blog. I'm sure I will have more ideas in the future for you. You are the best at collaboration. My email is cfick1@me.com Cherrie

Kristen (Creative Stash) said...

Erin, thank you for allowing me to join in your celebration! It was really awesome to read about how you developed the Simple Truths line and how it has grown and changed to what it is today. You are so very talented!!! If I had a Simple Truth it would be "it is what it is". That saying has helped me get through some challenging times when things have been out of my control to change.

Patti Van said...

I so enjoyed hopping today...such wonderful designs! loved seeing your transformations, and I am so happy for your success! I used one of your pendants to design a necklace for my niece to wear on her honeymoon (Happily Ever After)..and she loved it! If I were to have my "own" Simple Truths, it would say "Love is Blind"...because it is...

Anonymous said...


Sign me up for your perfect world - a 30 hour day devoted to creativity? I'm in!

A customer has requested a mermaid themed pendant. I would use "Live Out Your Fantasy" as the truth to accompany her.

Thanks for the continued inspiration!

Pennie 2labsgal@bellsouth.net

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Oh Erin! What a wonderful tribute to your work this hop is, I love each and every pendant of yours. I know I've told you before, but I will say it again, you are such an incredible inspiration to us all. Your work just makes me long to touch it, to feel it, to play with it. Your quotes touch the soul.

If I were able to pick what a pendant would say... I would choose a quote from Kate Chopin's "The Awakening", "The voice of the sea speaks to the soul." Perhaps with a gull's silhouette over waves... I love gulls and the sea :) and I love you too, dear lady! Keep on making the rest of us think with your simple truths!

mysoulsfire @ hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Erin, I have just discovered your Simple Truths last month. I love them, especially the dandelion and the owl and.... Anyhow, it was awesome to read how they came about and follow your story. What fun to blog hop and see what beautiful things others have made from them. My own idea for a simple truth would be a firefly with the words "let your light shine". Most people could relate to it from that old childhood song, This Little Light of Mine, but for MY family, the firefly light has a much deeper meaning that comes from and old native American legend. Wish I could link to my blog post, A Firefly Tale, so you would truly understand. I would join you in your "perfect world" and make fireflies for everybody who has ever suffered a tragedy. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story. (Lee: Stregajewellry@yahoo.com)

Anonymous said...

Erin, I have just discovered your Simple Truths last month. I love them, especially the dandelion and the owl and.... Anyhow, it was awesome to read how they came about and follow your story. What fun to blog hop and see what beautiful things others have made from them. My own idea for a simple truth would be a firefly with the words "let your light shine". Most people could relate to it from that old childhood song, This Little Light of Mine, but for MY family, the firefly light has a much deeper meaning that comes from and old native American legend. Wish I could link to my blog post, A Firefly Tale, so you would truly understand. I would join you in your "perfect world" and make fireflies for everybody who has ever suffered a tragedy. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story. (Lee: Stregajewellry@yahoo.com)

Erin S said...

I love your simple truths pendants--especially the ones you made just for me! They make me feel like we have a special bond. (I know, kinda dorky.) I still haven't made a necklace for the second one, but its tucked away safely waiting for some inspiration. Keep creating!

Rosemarie said...

I am a new Simple Truths Sampler club membe. Just received the stars and stripes and love them! Would love to recieve the gift of an extension to my initial three month subscription. Hope you randomly pick me!
Rosemarie COwit

Mona Rae Baroody said...

Your work is beautiful! Thanks for the opportunity to win! MonaRaeBeads at Yahoo.com

Pine Ridge Treasures said...

Congrats on one year! Your Simple Truth pendants are so beautiful. My suggestion for a simple truth phrase would be: "Be the Change" (as in - be the change you want to see in the world). Change starts with each of us, and the time is now. Thanks for the chance to win!

Michelle Mach said...

Congratulations! You are definitely proof that if you can dream it, you can do it! : )

BBDNP said...

Your Simple Truth's are so easy to design with. Allowing a wide range of color palettes, they are crowd pleasers! I have yet to see one I don't like, and all are inspiring! It makes me want to start a blog so I can post my designs. Your success is so
well deserved!

KayzKreationz said...

I love your simple truths pendants. I think for me it would have to say either "Fly Free" or "Be Yourself". I'd love the chance to win any of your giveaways. Thanks

kksolliday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kksolliday said...

I wasn't familiar with your work, but it's beautiful. So much meaning in these little pieces of art. I'm a fan! Words of wisdom I'm trying to live by are these, from a poem by James Stafford - Wherever God stands, it is there that
the world will start again or this line from the same poem - Whenever you breathe God comes in.

Carolyn said...

Thanks, Erin, for the chance to win one of your subscriptions.

I think I would like to see "Remember" as a Simple Truths pendant.


Cynthia said...

Miss Erin, What a wonderful celebration we've had!! Wishing you continued success and happiness!

Zeniswoman said...

Erin, It's wonderful to see all the beautiful collaborations of like-minded artists, words, and visual images. It seems to me that all of the best art connects images and words and people... even across generations.
I've been thinking about this challenge for the last few days. I've been thinking about how our role as "mothers" has changed over the years. A few years ago, I chose in the face of ridicule to be a full-time mama to my daughter for a few years. Women seem to always struggle with notions of perfection and expectation. We're perfectionists by nature... We worry about being a good mama, wife, daughter, and employee. We have so many roles...
Sometimes keeping hold of all the pieces is a real struggle. We give everything... Sometimes, we give too much of ourselves away and then feel spent. Sometimes, we can't live up to our expectations and those of others.
Yesterday, while all of this was swirling about in my mind, I was sweeping and scrubbing and grumbling. I was preparing for a visit from someone, who always seems to point out my imperfections. I really thought that my house was acceptable; however, I had forgotten about the gigantic cobweb lurking above my rocking chair... above my creative space. As soon as she walked in my house, she noticed the spider's web and was appalled! hehehe... I couldn't help but laugh at her and I. I had just been reading Issa's poem:
"Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house
What I had forgotten in all of my antibacterial haste to be perfect was that yesterday, I also read poetry (for the first time in a long time) and watched the perfection of my little girl fall asleep. I realized that I'm a good mama even if my house isn't always perfect :)
So, my simple truth pendant would have a cobweb in the upper corner with a little joyous spider to remind me that "some moments are worth owning a little imperfection."
blessings to all the mamas out there,
Holly (zeniswoman@yahoo.com)

Stories They Tell said...

Erin, you truly have so much to celebrate--you went out on the skinny branches, so to speak, and carved yourself out a niche in the polymer world, and a beautiful and inspirational niche it is!I'm so proud of you! Your progress has been rapid and ever-evolving and you have done so much to promote polymer clay to the beading world. I'm glad to have you as a "sister in clay"-- you bring so much passion and artistry to your work. Your new banner is spectacular, a true work of art. Here's to another 50 years of Simple Truths!

DESPINA said...

Erin, I am so proud to wear my Woodsy necklace, I never stop getting compliments!!
Your work is clearly inspiring, I am amazed by the variety of styles and designs, I "hopped" in every blog!!
I would like a simple truth pendant, with one of the biggest truths in life, as said by Socrates: "Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα", meaning "I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance". It kinda looses the density and rhythm of the ancient Greek being translated (even in modern Greek!), so I would love it to be written in ancient Greek, I think it'd be a great conversational piece, since all would wonder what it is and what it means :))

Love to all,

Kristen said...

The simple truth is that you are a gift that is to be treasured! You create from your heart and look how it touches everyone elses heart. In your creations we take an amazing journey into our dreams and desires. You spark so many and yet still remain so humble. How lucky are we to have crossed your path.


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