March 30, 2011

featuring studio spaces: barbara lewis of painting with fire artwear

It's time for Featuring Studio Spaces! Each week we will feature an artist and his or her creative space. We'll gather lots of juicy tidbits ranging from inspiration to design and functionality.

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone

Today we're thrilled to talk with torch and bead lady extraordinaire, Barbara Lewis of Painting with Fire Artwear. At the end of the interview be sure to visit Barbara's website and blog.


Tell us a little bit about what you do in the studio.

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone

Painting with Fire Artwear functions as a bead making studio; a supply store for Thompson Enamels, enameling equipment, and other fun stuff; and a jewelry-making studio for me.

Did you have a specific inspiration when organizing your space?

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ enamel weighing and labeling ]

I need to effectively use as many square feet in the studio as possible. I love to look through the pages of “Where Women Create” and am more than a little envious of most of the studios that grace their pages, but PWF has a more utilitarian look … for better or worse. My goal is, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Name one or more things that especially work for you.

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ studio enamels ]

What really works for us is to have different work stations dedicated to specific functions … like a place to weigh, label and store enamel; a shipping area; places to create torch-fired enamel beads; a soldering area; a place for metalworking; a place for wet work (working with patinas and liquid enamels); and another place for beading.

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ finished beads ]

What’s your biggest issue with storage/organization/design?

I would love to have a display area so that we could invite customers to our studio, but it’s not who we are … right now. When I’m in Maryland, I live in the country and the customers would be few and far between. When I’m in St. Petersburg, I live in the city but don’t have nearly the room that I do in Maryland. Woe is me!

Level of important: design aesthetic or functionality?

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ hydraulic press, rolling mill, polisher ]

We are definitely about functionality!

Is there something that you’re constantly having to work on overcoming and what have you done/do you do to rectify this situation?

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ beading area ]

The thing I’m constantly having to overcome is me! I have a terrible case of ADD when I get into the studio. I start a project, then I see something over there that looks enticing, then something else catches my eye over there … before long I have stuff out all over the place. Someone, please put me in a straightjacket!

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ soldering area ]

Do you use/prefer/need artificial or natural light?

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ packaging & shipping area ]

I love natural light that is assisted by task lighting.

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ weighing & postage area ]

Interesting tidbits about your studio.

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ torch firing area ]

Our primary torch-firing station has an outstanding ventilation hood, plus the triple tub sink is a holdover from my pottery days. Several stainless steel tables were practically given to me and are sturdy and easy to clean.

featuring studio spaces: Painting with Fire Artwear Studio Waterstone
[ wet work area ]

How has having your own creative space affected your work?

Our studio is housed in a detached over-sized garage. The size of the space, about 650 sq. ft., has allowed for diversification and helpers in the studio. Last year we splurged and got air conditioning. Wow … did that make a difference in our outlook and cordiality!


Thank you Barbara!
Be sure to visit Barbara's website, Painting with Fire Artwear and prepare to fall in love.


Interested in having your studio featured in Featuring Studio Spaces?
Just click the little contact button in the upper right column and we'll set it up!

March 29, 2011

earth shattering, life or death kind of questions

studio waterstone handbags
{ totally unrelated, yet adorable photo. doesn't sophie look thrilled? ]

I know, I know. What with Tuesday's big giveaway question, it seems hard to imagine that I'd load you up with yet another toughie. However, it is Wednesday and that means life or death kinds of questions.

But first, to get you into the mood, I want to show you one of my favorite videos. Are you familiar with the game show, "Cash Cab"? And do you watch 30 Rock? This is a short clip showing Tracy Morgan as he rushes to the hospital to be with his wife before she gives birth. He inadvertently jumps into the Cash Cab and, well, just watch...

Time for this week's burning questions...

1) Are you a lurker or do you jump right into a blog with both feet? (quite possibly a moot question because all of the lurkers won't answer!)

2) When you visit and comment on a blog and the author reciprocates, do you prefer that he/she email you directly to respond or visit your blog and comment?

3) Do you ever fight with your kids as they grab the door handle while your trying to unlock the car door????

I'm looking forward to hearing your answers! My answers: I've been getting more email responses lately to blog comments but I prefer to visit and comment when possible. 3)Yes, but mostly with Mr. Waterstone and we yell just as much as Tracy Morgan. As for my answer to #1, I'm a jumper all the way - big surprise.

March 28, 2011

fun handbag tutorial and giveaway

Remember this?

studio waterstone tutorials

I happen to be a HUGE coffee addict fan. So when I saw this tee shirt I had to own it. Because I didn't like the way it fit (and I didn't want Mr. W to fuss because I bought something I wouldn't wear), I snipped and stitched it into a cami.

But then I didn't really wear it as a cami (and I didn't want Mr. W to fuss because I bought something I wouldn't wear). The next idea, I must admit, was brilliant. What do I love? COFFEE! What else do I love? HANDBAGS!

SW Tutorial...and Giveaway
Turn a Top into a Handbag
(in 56 short steps. kidding)


Here's what you'll need:

old cotton or tee shirt to recycle
recycled handbag straps with metal hardware attached
a little recycled leather or sturdy fabric
reinforcement scrap fabric
sewing machine

Here's what you'll do:

studio waterstone tutorials
This is what I mean when I say two handbag straps with the metal hardware attached.

studio waterstone tutorials
Off with the straps.

studio waterstone tutorials
I'm using a piece of scrap recycled leather.

studio waterstone tutorials
Cut about 9" off the bottom of the tee, straight across.

studio waterstone tutorials
Now we've got a cropped (sexy? er, no) tee with no straps. Could be a recipe for disaster.

studio waterstone tutorials
Turn the tee inside out and pin straight across the bottom.

studio waterstone tutorials
Stitch, leaving about 1/4 - 1/2" seam allowance.

studio waterstone tutorials
Carefully snip off the corners on the diagonal.

studio waterstone tutorials
Flip the top right side out.

studio waterstone tutorials
Tuck in about 2" on each corner to form a pleat on the sides.

studio waterstone tutorials

studio waterstone tutorials
With the sides tucked in, pin again (right side out) across the bottom.

studio waterstone tutorials
Stitch twice across the bottom, leaving about a 1/4" seam allowance.

studio waterstone tutorials
Remember the straps? Measure the opening of the hardware. Mine is about 3/4"

studio waterstone tutorials
Remember the scrap leather (or sturdy fabric)?
Cut four strips, about 4.5" x 3/4" (the width of the opening. your width will vary)

studio waterstone tutorials
Thread the leather through the hardware and line up at the bottom.

studio waterstone tutorials
Stitch just a bit to secure the leather to the hardware.

studio waterstone tutorials
I have recycled reinforcement from a deconstructed handbag. If you don't have something like this you can use scraps of a sturdy fabric.

studio waterstone tutorials
Cut four small pieces. Mine are about 3/4" square (the width of the hardware opening)

studio waterstone tutorials
Open the leather at the seam. Sandwich the top of the tee (where you snipped the strap) with the reinforcement piece between the leather.

studio waterstone tutorials
Clip to hold securely.

studio waterstone tutorials
Carefully remove your clip and stitch across several times. I created an "X" for extra strength.
Guess what?

studio waterstone tutorials
You have just created a recycled handbag/tote! No way? Way!!!

studio waterstone tutorials
Now you must pose nicely with a pet, preferably one with lots of personality.
One who compliments your new eco-friendly creation.

studio waterstone tutorials
If necessary, promise treats.

Don't want to make one of your own???

This super swell, recycled "Make Coffee Not War" handbag can be yours!
Yes yours! Is this a giveaway? Why, yes! Yes, it is!


With all of my giveaways, I provide a plethora of ways to enter.
You'd have to be, well, not reading this to not enter...

You have up to SIX chances to win. First grab a beverage of your choice, relax, and then...

1: If you're not already, follow Studio Waterstone
2: If you have a blog, blog about this giveaway - with a link.
3: Do you LIKE me on Facebook? Like is good & would give you one entry.
4: You can also talk about the giveaway on Facebook and link to the giveaway.
5: Are you on my mailing list? Join and, yes, it's another entry.
6: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Yep, that's one entry, too.


Good golly Miss Molly! That's a lot of entries!
Enter one time, enter six times - it's all up to you, my friend.

Let me know what you've done in THIS POST comment section.
Please leave a link to your action in the comment section here to get your entries.

One more thing.
Your chance to enter will end this Sunday, April 3rd at 11:59 EST.
I'll reveal the winner on Monday.

Good luck!
Man! Was this a long post or what?

March 27, 2011

dreamy monday - spring

Even if the temperatures are bantering back and forth, it's spring - officially, technically - which makes a girl dream of shorter pants, lighter skirts, and open shoes. (Can you tell that I'm ready for spring with my obnoxiously cheerfully bright blog colors? Don't worry, I'll probably calm down soon.)

Distressed leather shorts? I'll take the leather on my handbags, thank you very much. But I do love the look. Belted skirts, striped tees, airy blouses, colorful fitted jackets...

studio waterstone
Earth girl checking in! Who said comfort and style can't go hand in hand?

studio waterstone


studio waterstone


studio waterstone
these tops! Especially this one which I WILL somehow construct - you just wait.
I promise. I will.

The temperatures are beginning to rise. Have you pulled out your spring wardrobe?
What are you dreaming of adding this year?

(All of the clothing is from Anthropologie. The shoes are from Zappos and Sundance Catalog.)

tutorials, giveaways, and a fantastic interview!

studio waterstone handbags

Ah, the sweet signs of spring. Are your tulips beginning to perk up? As I was doing this on Friday night, Mr. W was around back yelling, yelling, yelling my name? Was he yelling sweet nothings? Er...

studio waterstone handbags

Mr. W was yelling because his assistant go-fer girl was around front snapping shots instead of running the (healthy?) seafood back and forth. Did he forgive her? Of course he did - over a rather large plate of (healthy?) seafood.

I'm charged about the upcoming week. Why??? Because...

This week:

I'm going to post a fantastic tutorial on Tuesday - a tutorial deeply connected to a possible giveaway. My, but I do love tutorials and giveaways.

Wednesday's earth shattering, life or death kind of question will have you pondering and, hopefully, contributing your two cents.

Thursday's Featuring Studio Spaces interview is with one of our favorite artisans - Barbara Lewis of Painting with Fire Artwear! Drop by, peek into Barbara's studio space and hear from the torch lady herself. :)

That's my agenda, that and creating a few new leather handbags. How about you?

What's on your agenda for the upcoming week?

March 25, 2011

it's a wrap: studio friday, er, saturday

Happy, happy, happy, happy, joyfully happy Friday!


Don't you think that my model looks gorgeous as she brakes free from the bonds of the little black dress? (more so than her homely hoodie flanked mom!) This was her last prom and now I can only hope that we will take the formals that fill a closet and have them altered into nice little semi formals for college. Ya think? One can only hope. It's difficult to see from the picture, but this dress is chiffon and could seriously work a fitted jean jacket and sandals during the summer. Seriously. Seriously.


Aside from finishing my home and business taxes this week (YEAH!) I concentrated on making colorful little clutches and key pouches for spring. So, so in LOVE with the side straps on the clutches! Hook your finger through the loop and you are good to go.



What is the bane of my existence at the moment? Many things actually, but the TOP bane is researching and working on a business logo and attempting to unite my website with my blog. A cohesive look is so important to me - ridiculously so. Branding. It's all about branding baby and, did I say that it's the bane of my existence??? Bane. Bane!

What's your current bane?

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©Lori Plyler 2008-2017
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