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Slow Art

beaded gemstone layering necklaces

Someone recently asked me if I still do beadwork. The question surprised me a bit, because I feel like I have *always* done beadwork! (FWIW, I started beading in the 1980’s). 

But a look at my social media made me realize that I haven’t shared any intricate beadwork for a while. Most of the jewelry that I made during the pandemic was either leather jewelry or simpler strung gemstone jewelry (like the layering necklaces shown here).

While I do enjoy making and wearing the simpler stuff, it made me realize how much I miss the slow, meditative process of bead weaving and bead embroidery. My studio time will be limited for the next few months … so perhaps I will use what little creative time I do have to circle back on my beadwork for a bit!

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Lunar Jewels

I’ve updated the site with a handful of new beaded semiprecious stone necklaces. Several feature labradorite, many have lunar themes (which I’ll be exploring throughout the year), and a couple give a nod to Bowie. From left to right, as seen in this photo, they are:

Serious Moonlight” (sold) – a pair of simple yet beautiful gemstone layering necklaces. These are less intricate – and thus, more affordable – than a lot of my beadwork, and they were fun to make. I’ve already had requests for more like these, and will do my best to comply as time allows.

Snow Moon” – Bone and amethyst necklace inspired by the February full moon

“Sage and Seafoam” – Labradorite necklace with amazonite and Peruvian Opal

Blackstar” – Labradorite and sterling silver with charcoal glass beads.

Owl & Moonstone” – A carved leather owl on the wing, with Welo opal and moonstone.

Eclipse” – Labradorite, hematite and freshwater pearls, set in dusky blue seed beads.

Oh – and I’m trying something new with this update, and including tidbits about symbolism and folklore. Over the years I’ve come to realize that many people wear jewelry as symbols or reminders of ideas that are special to them (mothers’ rings, for example) so I’ve included some of that info. Believe it if you need it, if you don’t just pass it on.

There are a few stragglers that still need finishing touches and/or better photos, so they’ll be added as time allows. I’ve needed to rebuild my jewelry selection for months now, and this feels like a good start!

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Climbing into the holes…

I’ve been a bit stressed and down lately. Nothing major, just working through changes and fear of the unknown. In my heart of hearts, I know that everything will work out right; but sometimes my heart and my head aren’t in synch. My heart’s in a good place, but my brain wants to over analyze everything and think me to death in the process.

At times like these, I instinctively reach for my beads. Creativity has a healing element to it, and of all of the crafts that I do, this seems most true of beading. It’s hard to explain, except to say that there’s this very zen space – a meditative place – that I go to when I bead. It soothes me and helps me to let go, and in the process I often find creative solutions. Last night as I sewed, I remembered this story that my friend Beki Haley tells about her Nana, which sums up that feeling so much better than I can:

My grandmother did almost every craft imaginable, knitting, crochet, needlepoint, tatting, shrunken apple head dolls, ceramics, watercolors, we even made toilet seats out of resin with seashells trapped in it! She was a very energetic and sometimes nervous woman who couldn’t seem to sit still or calm down. Until she picked up her beads. Then she would become very calm and quiet. 

When I was about 8 I asked her, “Nana, how come when you play with your beads your leg stops shaking and you get so quiet”? She called me over to her chair and said, “See all these little beads in here? Do you see the little tiny holes?” I nodded yes while squinting my eyes to look into her metal cigar box lid that she used for her beading tray. She said, “When I bead I climb inside that little tiny hole and there is no room in there for anything else to bother me. No worries, no aches, no stress.”

At 8 I didn’t quite understand how that made her leg stop moving. But by the time I was an adult I fully understood and her words have never left me. I climb inside that little tiny bead hole whenever I need just a moment of calm.

Thank you Beki, for giving me permission to save and share this story <3

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Fast times…

Life is moving at high velocity this week; things are going well, it’s just very very busy. School projects, show dates, family visiting — and most importantly, my daughter’s graduation!! I’m so proud of her, and I really want her celebration to be special. To that end, I just might be making myself a little nuts…

Despite the kinetic pace, I’ve been able to get a bit of creative work in. I’m playing with a new style of hair wear — funky beaded and feathered leather hair forks (say that 10 times fast! 😉 as well as a handful of other new hair toys that I hope to unveil soon. My dream goal is to get to the point where I have something for all hair types.

I’ve also been getting a bit more beading time in, which is something that I’ve really needed. As much as I love mask making (and leatherwork in general), beadwork satisfies me on an entirely different level. Even my most elaborate leather pieces work up quickly compared to beadwork. With my crazy schedule, I don’t get nearly as much studio time as I’d like, and it’s so gratifying to be able to actually complete something. If you’ve ever done beadwork, you know that it just doesn’t give you that kind of instant gratification! It’s a very slooow art form — but also very soothing and very meditative. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to it right now? Maybe it’s what my heart needs in order to find a little stillness in the midst of all the movement in my life.

My other big creative project lately has been to finish off the website overhaul. Go check it out! I still have a few more tweaks to make, and plenty of content to add … but I’m pleased to finally have the basic framework up there 🙂