Eryka Garbutt

Paradise Pink
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?

Describe your artistic style.
My creations are one of a kind, original designs. You will not see something similar in the shops. I like to be a little different but not too way out there. There is no mass production, each item is made as an individual. Currently I am playing with wire and beads and crystals. I prefer colours to just silver and gold. I make my own findings, chains, beads and focal beads.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Colour and texture are my main inspirations. I find things "talk to me" and the design just happens. I never sketch or plan what I am going to do, it just flows. I love looking at products from suppliers and imagining what I could create from their products.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Decoupage is my obsession, however I avoid the traditional designs of flowers and angels and try for something different. Most of my work has an Art Nouveau influence. Canvas to jewelry to glass, furniture and houseware, I will decoupage with paper, fabric, real flowers and leaves. I believe a good piece of decoupage has a minimum for 20 layers of varnish to achieve that glass-like finish.

A close second in the obsession world would be flame glass beadwork. You take a rod of glass about as thick as a drinking straw, this is melted in an open-flame from what looks a bit like a Bunsen burner. When the glass is hot enough it melts to the consistency of treacle. The glass then flows and this is when the magic happens. The molten glass in the flame is almost hypnotic. You blend the different glasses; add dots and swirls to create your own individual piece. You never get two the same and that is the appeal.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Paradise Pink

What inspired this design?
I wanted to try and make a peyote tube, when that was completed it needed a little embellishment and just sort of happened.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
Very much a statement piece. Pink glass bead peyote tube, with leaves of various hues all beaded onto wire. Tibetian silver flowers, leaves and ladybugs complete the picture. Adjustable from 49cm to 53cm. Flora feature about 7cm deep.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
When I retired I took up decoupage something I had always wanted to do, that morphed into jewelry and pretty soon I was in full swing jewelry-making. I was then introduced to flame glass bead work and now I am addicted, I can't stop.

Who introduced you to beading?
I started with decoupage jewelry but sometimes they needed extra details which I used beads for and it progressed to just using beads or beads and wire, beads and jumprings and now crystals.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have always been "crafty" but working full time with children there was never enough time to really develop my skills. Now I have the freedom of retirement. I can "play" all day long. I am amazed at how my style and skill levels have grown.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
A friend suggested I check your website for supplies and the first thing I did was order the catalogue which is rather dog eared from reading. I love the way you show finished items along with supplies; great for inspiration.

What other hobbies do you have?
Other than boring things like housework and gardening, I love to shop, coffee and lunch with the girls and play with my grandson, Finn. When money permits, I love to travel and I have a long bucket list, which includes the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu. The Great Wall of China has already been ticked off and what a great experience that was.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I subscribe to several beading forums and magazines.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I like to think my jewelry is part time, my husband however would disagree. Once in my room I'm not seen again for hours. Having spent my previous life in IT/Engineering, I love working with my hands and creating beautiful things. I just get lost in the moment and I am happy and unstressed.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have my own website which I created myself--skills from that previous life. Eryka's Place at began in January, and I have just introduced a monthly giveaway, initially to create more visits, thus more sales. What I found was I really loved hearing from the entrants and felt good giving my pieces away to someone who would really appreciate them.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I do donate jewelry items to raffles, etc. My last donation was to a scout hall that had been vandalized. A raffle is being conducted to raise funds to help with repairs.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Do not be shy, promote yourself. It is hard in the beginning but gets easier.

View all of Eryka's designs in the Gallery of Designs.