Beads found me in the late 1970’s, while I was away at summer camp. I was awkward and shy, and the only place that I seemed to fit in was the art cabin, where I was immediately drawn to the beads. One of the counselors noticed, and she gave me a little bag of beads home with me. I’m still grateful for her insight.
Over the next many years I managed to get a lot of mileage out of that little bag of mixed seed beads! I taught myself slowly, and gradually progressed from simple stringing to more elaborate beadweaving. When I reached my teens, I found the Grateful Dead scene – a community of misfits, dreamers, artists and beaders. I joined this band of gypsies, fueling my adventures by selling beads and beadwork. At the same time, my dad was taking me to Pow Wows so that I could learn about our heritage; there I was exposed to yet another group of talented and generous beadworkers. The artists in both communities were gracious in sharing their knowledge and supplies, and also in teaching me that it was possible to support myself via my craft. I’m very thankful for their guidance and encouragement.
Three decades later, I still love beadwork — both the process and product are tactile, versatile and meditative. Some of my favorite techniques include bead embroidery, peyote stitch and netting. My work blends natural materials like gemstones and leather along with vintage glass cabochons, antique microbeads and sew-ons from the turn of the century. Many women tell me that my work has a talismanic quality, that it makes them feel strong, beautiful and/or protected. I’m not sure that I can take credit for that part, but I will say that I’m honored that people respond to my work in this way. I love what I do and it makes me happy to think that in some way, that love shines through and empowers others.