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Beaded Jewelry Artist Spotlight: Robin Atkins

There are many disciplines of artwork that have graced homes, walls, and museums all around the world. Some were created from

hobby, some by accident and others as a means to survive. For bead jewelry artist Robin Atkins, her art has been all of that and more.

Born in California, Atkins spent her formative and college years in Minnesota (receiving a Masters in Counseling Psychology at the University of Minnesota). All the while, she explored personal artistic hobbies and interests, beading being one of them. In the mid-'70s, Atkins began apprenticing the craft of metalsmithing, making gold and silver art jewelry. After about five years, she momentarily gave up metalsmithing, though it would be an area to which she would return.

What draws her to beads is their infinite variety and many ways to incorporate them into creative projects. As she went deeper into the history, usage, and background of beads and beading, she could appreciate them on a higher level. Put simply, she says "I learned that beading is more than a craft, but art and history as well." Atkins lectures, teaches workshops, and has her work shown in galleries and venues around the country.

For Atkins, beading comes in all shapes and sizes, and she enjoys all types of it. She especially loves to sew

beads on cloth. Most of her work is improvisational, meaning she works without a plan or preconceived idea. Atkins trusts that all the art awareness and knowledge collected during her lifetime will show up in her work subconsciously. She tends to start embroidering beads on a piece of fabric without even knowing what she want to do with it. As her work progresses, it may start to take on meaning or recognizable form.

For 25 years, Atkins has traveled widely to teach, lecture and research beadwork. She is a nationally known bead artist who has authored eight beading books, including her latest, The Complete Photo Guide to Beading. Atkins has judged several regional and national bead work and other art competitions, including "The Beaded Cloth" competition sponsored by Beadwork Magazine.

To get a look at some of her amazing bead work, visit her website,

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