Meet artist Liz Esser, designer and maker of Haden Designs! Liz creates beautiful jewelry from re-purposed leather combined with chain and semi precious stones. She also makes pieces from unique stones, different textures, metals, and chain. Although Liz’s chalkboard necklaces are still around, she is exploring new avenues. Her newest line addition is dyed brass cuffs and earrings.Are you a full-time artist? If not, what is your day job? If you weren’t an artist, what would you do? I am a “try to cram it in whenever I have a moment” kinda artist. I am a mom first and foremost, to a two year old and a five year old — they are my full time, which is a pretty great gig … mom/jewelry designer. Now they just need to get old enough to start helping in the studio!
How do you make your studio workspace a happy, productive place to create? I share a room with the kids — half playroom, half jewelry studio. Maybe not so productive, but certainly happy. It’s an anything goes room which creates a very creative environment.
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped guide you and your craft. My Grandmother is my role model go-to lady. She could do anything creative and did it with such ease and grace. She had me convinced growing up that everyone was like this. It wasn’t until college that I realized I had a whole set of talents and creative skills that I learned from her that others hadn’t been exposed to.
Do you use the Pantone seasonal color guides? Have a favorite for Fall 2013? I have never used this guide. This falls under the favorite trend category and is too much like work — which is probably why when you look at my jewelry and the color palate it is pretty predictable. I am always drawn to the same earthy colors and warm tones.
What’s cooking right now — care to share a favorite recipe? I just came across this recipe, and I’m addicted. If you love sweet potatoes, this is a fantastic twist to these nummie tubers. Plus they are an all-in-one meal, which I love.
E. A. S. Y. Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed then pierced several times with a fork
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups grilled or frozen corn
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp caynenne pepper
3 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 1/2 Tbsp honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese (1/2 cup)
Sour cream for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until tender, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until fluffy.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes, adding in garlic during last 30 seconds of sauting. Add onion mixture to cooked quinoa, along with black beans, corn, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne, lime juice and honey, 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro and toss mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut cooked sweet potatoes in half and scoop out some of the sweet potato flesh to create a bowl shape, while leaving about 1/3 to 1/2-inch of sweet potato intact (reserve scooped out potato in refrigerator for another use). Fill sweet potatoes with quinoa mixture, then sprinkle tops evenly with cheese. Transfer to oven and broil until cheese has melted. Serve warm garnished with cilantro and sour cream if desired.
Yum! Come on down to The Handmade Market on Saturday (this Saturday!) to see Liz and her cool new brass cuffs!