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Artist Focus: Robin Atkins

Robin AtkinsRobin’s first beading was in Girl Scouts when she did some loom beadwork in the style and pattern of Native American Indians. When she was 45 years old, she rediscovered beads. Within a year, Robin quit her job and started working with beads full time. During the early years she taught beading classes, traveled to Europe and China to buy beads, learned everything she could about beadmaking and ethnic beadwork, and sold beads in her studio. Twenty years later, at age 65, Robin is still in love with beads! She has written 5 beading books, contributed projects to other books, wrote several magazine articles, and she’s working on book number six right now. Robin lives in the northwest corner of the USA on an island off the coast of Washington state.

4 facts about Robin:

  • Robin didn’t have a TV in her family when she was growing up. She didn’t own a TV until she was 34 years old.
  • She rides motorcycle.
  • Robin was 54 when she met her husband and 57 when she got her first motorcycle. Robin married (first/only time) at age 58.
  • Robin can write HTML, and really enjoys it.

Вышивка бисером: Курочка РозиSee more facts about Robin's life at her blog. I've been reading it for almost 1,5 years now, and I still wait for her next post. I think beadlust is my favourite beading blog. Visit Robin's website to find information about her books, classes, and art available. Robin agreed to answer some of my questions.

How/When did you start beading?
I began beading as a child, and always liked to use beads in various craft and jewelry projects. In 1988, I became a full-time, professional bead artist.

Where do you usually bead and how many hours a day do you usually spend beading?
I bead everywhere! Beads and bead embroidery (which is my primary bead passion) are very portable. Вышивка бисером, Робин АткинсA little box - filled with bags of beads, a cloth, a bobbin of thread, a small pair of scissors, and a needle - and I'm ready to bead on an airplane, in a coffee shop, at the kitchen table, in a hotel room... anywhere! But most of the time, I bead in my studio. I bead in spurts. Some days I may bead 10 or more hours. Other days, I do other things and don't bead at all.

Do you have your favorite beading stitch?
My favorite type of beadwork is bead embroidery.

What inspires you as a beader?
Many things in nature, other types of artwork, folk art, and the beads themselves all inspire me. However, the greatest inspiration comes from my own heart.

Do you have a strong aversion to any colors? Colors that are hard for you to design with? A strong preference?
Вышивка бисером, Робин АткинсI love all color and all colors. In the 20 years I have been beading, I notice that I'll stick with certain colors for a little while. But then something shifts, a bead of a different color will look appealing, and I start working with a different palette.

What are your favorite beadwork links?
My favorite link source is the Bead Journal Project: http://beadjournalproject.blogspot.com From there, you can find thousands of wonderful and inspirational bead websites and blogs.

Who is your favorite beadwork artist?
I don't have a favorite. There are so many really fabulous bead artists, and each adds their own creative juice to the transition of beading from the world of craft to the realm of art.

Вышивка бисером, Робин АткинсWhich beading book is your personal favorite?
Again, there are over 7,000 books about beading in print right now. How can I choose a favorite? My favorite types are the ones about the history of beads and the ones concerning artistic process. I don't care as much for those with specific patterns, projects and designs. My first book, "One Bead at a Time," offers encouragement, inspiration, and tips for developing your own unique beading voice.

I know that you blog. Is this a time-consuming activity? What do you like in blogging? Is there any thing you don't like?
Blogging takes a huge amount of time, but it is also very stimulating and fun to connect with the larger beading and fiber arts community. I really enjoy it!

Вышивка бисером, Робин АткинсWhat are your other hobbies?
I enjoy several other art forms, including acrylic painting, collage, book making, poetry writing, doll arts, quilting, knitting, and thread embroidery. I also enjoy walking, motorcycle riding and photography.

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