H. C. Watkins Art
Handmade Beaded art by Carter Watkins
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About

I’m a multidisciplinary artist and designer from Austin Texas. I left Austin once to study Architecture and Environmental Design at Arizona State. I have spent the majority of my professional career as an Art Director and Graphic Designer.

About the Art: I made my first beaded skull in 2014. I had a longhorn skull with a Texas flag painted on it that I bought off the side of the road when I was in high school (2004). It was cool! I took it with me to college and brought it back with me when I came home (that thing is 42 inches wide, its not easy to pack into a car). My wife and I bought a house in 2014 and we decided to retire the dusty Texas Flag longhorn-it no longer jived with the vibe. I’m a gringo Texan but my mom spoke fluent spanish and loved taking us south of the border and exposing us to Mexican culture. I saw Huichol bead art for the first time in a shop in Playa Del Carmen sometime in the early 2000’s on one of our trips. It was a life sized carving of a Jaguar covered with millions of little beads. It was stunning. Over a decade later I decided I was going to learn how they made that jaguar.

I use beeswax and glass seed beads. Each bead is placed one at a time. Most of my geometric design work is improvised as I go. I start by selecting a ‘canvas’ object. For skulls I’m looking for good horn/antler symmetry and I want all the fragile pieces (around the snout and eye sockets) to be intact. Then I select the color palette and cover the surface in beeswax. I find the starting point (usually the midpoint between the eyes) and I start “pokin’ beads”. I try to find balanced-color-rhythms. The rhythms then become patterns and shapes and the design emerges. For some pieces I come up with a design theme or motif before I start beading. The cool part about this artform is: if you make something ugly, you just scrape the ugly part off and try again.

A lot of people ask about the durability of my work. It is fragile. However I have seen a piece fall off the wall behind my tv and I was surprised with how minimal the damage was. In the summer my studio can get into the high 90s. At first I was concerned that the heat would cause the beads to droop or slide off but it only seemed to make the beads bond stronger. Skulls are awkward shapes and the most fragile parts- the snout, and around the eye sockets- are usually the most exposed to dings when moving. I typically spray a couple coats of acrylic resin on a completed piece in an effort secure the weak spots. All pieces come with a bag of replacement beads and wax and I’ll include instructions for minor repairs with each order.

190606_carter watkins group photo_WEB HR.JPG

I’m a multidisciplinary artist and designer from Austin Texas. I left Austin once to study Architecture and Environmental Design at Arizona State. I have spent the majority of my professional career as an Art Director and Graphic Designer.

About the Art: I made my first beaded skull in 2014. I had a longhorn skull with a Texas flag painted on it that I bought off the side of the road when I was in high school (2004). It was cool! I took it with me to college and brought it back with me when I came home (that thing is 42 inches wide, its not easy to pack into a car). My wife and I bought a house in 2014 and we decided to retire the dusty Texas Flag longhorn-it no longer jived with the vibe. I’m a gringo Texan but my mom spoke fluent spanish and loved taking us south of the border and exposing us to Mexican culture. I saw Huichol bead art for the first time in a shop in Playa Del Carmen sometime in the early 2000’s on one of our trips. It was a life sized carving of a Jaguar covered with millions of little beads. It was stunning. Over a decade later I decided I was going to learn how they made that jaguar.

I use beeswax and glass seed beads. Each bead is placed one at a time. Most of my geometric design work is improvised as I go. I start by selecting a ‘canvas’ object. For skulls I’m looking for good horn/antler symmetry and I want all the fragile pieces (around the snout and eye sockets) to be intact. Then I select the color palette and cover the surface in beeswax. I find the starting point (usually the midpoint between the eyes) and I start “pokin’ beads”. I try to find balanced-color-rhythms. The rhythms then become patterns and shapes and the design emerges. For some pieces I come up with a design theme or motif before I start beading. The cool part about this artform is: if you make something ugly, you just scrape the ugly part off and try again.

A lot of people ask about the durability of my work. It is fragile. However I have seen a piece fall off the wall behind my tv and I was surprised with how minimal the damage was. In the summer my studio can get into the high 90s. At first I was concerned that the heat would cause the beads to droop or slide off but it only seemed to make the beads bond stronger. Skulls are awkward shapes and the most fragile parts- the snout, and around the eye sockets- are usually the most exposed to dings when moving. I typically spray a couple coats of acrylic resin on a completed piece in an effort secure the weak spots. All pieces come with a bag of replacement beads and wax and I’ll include instructions for minor repairs with each order.


Custom Commissions: If you have an object that you would like turned into a piece of beaded artwork please be prepared to deliver the skull to me personally or pay for the shipping to my studio. Once I get the skull and we talk about your design expectations I will give you a quote for the project.

Pricing: every piece is a totally unique, one of a kind work of art. Pricing factors- bead coverage, pattern complexity, number of colors used, aesthetic quality, and custom mounting.

large Skulls (longhorns, buffalo, elk) expect prices $5000-$10000

Medium skulls (deer, bear, blesbok, sheep, ram) expect prices $2500-$6000

Small Skulls (springbok, coyote, some sheep/goat) expect prices $900-$2500

Mounting I have found that some skulls- sheep, ram, aoudad- can’t hang on the wall like other skulls because the horns curl below the jaw line and push the skull away from the wall. For those hard-to-hang skulls ‘float mounting’ is a great way to display the final piece. We can select materials that will complement the piece and its environment. All mounts are custom made to display the piece at its best angle.

Shipping I have only shipped a couple pieces. Shipping prices will vary depending on size and weight (Probably around $100-$500). If you cant pick up from my studio Ill get your piece professionally packed. All available pieces can be packed within the week of your order.

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All work © 2019 Carter Watkins