Sunday, April 3, 2016

First Shop Feature and Interview! Angel Mcllwain of Painted Tree Studio

Meet Angel Mcllwain, a self-taught beadwork artist and owner of
“Painted Tree Studio” since 2010, an Etsy shop specializing in jewelry from the heart. 

Visit PaintedTreeStudio on Etsy!

Angel, a former art director for TIME magazine in New York City, left the hustle and bustle of city life and moved to the middle of nowhere in the Appalachian region of Ohio. The beauty and serenity of her natural surroundings are part of the inspiration for her jewelry designs.
She initially sold paper goods, but began beading in 2011 during her treatments for a devastating cancer diagnosis. Angel, who has a background in painting and is an avid bead collector, did not have the energy to paint in her studio (which sits in the front of her 5 acre yard) during her cancer treatments. She did, however, have an appreciation for the beauty of nature, a need to express her creativity and a message to share.

Featured in Angel's Shop!
Geometry Handwoven Bracelet Peyote

The outside of Angel's gorgeous studio

The story behind your “Heart and Hope of Courage Brooches” touched my heart. I’m very sorry you have to experience this terrible disease. How has beading helped you mentally or spiritually in your fight against Breast Cancer?

I started beading because of cancer. Creative types have a difficult time being still. I didn’t have the energy for my studio but I was itching to create (sitting and resting is so dreadfully boring) that I took up beading. I have had a passion for beads all of my life and I have lugged four large boxes of beads that I collected when I was a child with me to everyplace I’ve lived including college. I made the hearts because I don’t much care for the Korman group and because I hate the word survivor, I won’t survive this disease and many of my friends have already died. I like the idea of wearing a heart instead. It represent love, and love surpasses death. 

 Heart of Courage Brooch

How are you able to juggle maintaining your Etsy Shop and the demands of your personal life?
Not so well, during the school year I substitute teach and tutor. Things get a little hairy sometimes. My 14 year old boy has track and he practices every day. I also tutor after school. I want to devote myself to working on my Etsy shops and blogs. I’m hoping to do my creative work full-time. It’s a difficult transition made harder by cancer and single parenthood, but
every day is a fresh chance and here I am making my start at moving forward.

Many of your pieces have beautiful earthy tones, what inspires the color palettes you use, and what materials do you favor?

I live in the woods and the fresh air of the outdoors inspire me. When the weather warms, we all but move outside. We have beautiful flower gardens and lovely shade trees. We also have a large 10x20 canopy with tables and chairs under it. I like to mix up my materials but I love to use beads that have a patina on them, or unusual objects.

A new bracelet full of texture
How would you describe the type of jewelry you make and are you currently working on a new piece?

My friend says that my mom and I make pretty jewelry. I can’t say that I have developed a particular style other than to say that I love nature and I’m fascinated by patterns. I acquired some beautiful pieces of sea polished abalone this summer that I am excited to get to work on, also I love making rings because I love to wear rings.

 A monochromatic bracelet with a beautiful earthy tone

How did you come up with the name “Painted Tree Studio” for your Etsy shop?

I have two shops at the moment, PaintedTreeStudio and BlueSkiesandBirdSong.
The latter is clearly inspired by my home. The former is inspired by a house post I found in an old cabin painted white. They used a tree with a natural v shape as a support for a low ceiling. I use it as an outdoor shelf in front of my studio. The photo of my studio was taken before my find.

Angel texturized this ring with a double beading technique!
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting a handmade business, and what has been the most difficult?

I simply like to produce things of beauty but I am terrible at marketing. I’m reading several books at an attempt to correct the error of my ways. If I can conquer that issue, there will be no stopping me.

Angel played with different bead sizes

Angel is proof that when one door closes another one opens, and that inspiration surrounds us if we just slow down and take time to notice. If you would like to know more about Angel and her beautiful designs please visit the links below: ... 965537484/ 

Patrice Thomas is an interviewer part of the EBW blog team! (
Want your chance to be interviewed? Message Elyse T. or email her Here to be added to the Shop Feature Poll! (


  1. Thank you Lady P. You did a lovely job on my interview and I'm grateful.

  2. You're welcome - it was my pleasure!