Brigitte of Unfettered Ink has a blog hop running on how storytelling impacts one's business. I love this idea, as I'm all about the story. I read and follow blogs for the stories - of artists lives, of inspirations for their designs, for their individual take on the world and how that affects their art. And, yeah. Lots of time the pictures are inspiring as well.
|Dale Chihuly display, Columbus Art Institute|
It's not often that an artist shares their beginning - how they started doing what they're doing. It's not like I was a beader from birth. (Oh, if I were, the stash I would have!) While I grew up with grandmas that crocheted and knitted, I was more drawn to embroidery. The colors, the textures, the freedom to stitch outside the lines.
In my late twenties, someone handed me a statue and said, "Here. Paint this. Turn it into something." I had so much fun with paint and detail! For months, I obsessively painted statues, turning ordinary statues into Goddesses and Gods from myths around the world. I quickly needed to add "more" - fabric, leather, feathers, and beads.
The statues sold well but were a pain to transport to shows and to ship. But the beads. Oh, the beads! Especially the gemstone beads. And seed beads! Color. Texture. And I loved that the gemstones had magical properties, useful for healing and comfort and energy. I studied for hours, learning which stones were harmonious, which colors worked well together. I just couldn't get enough.
|One of my first big gemstone purchases.|
I worked at a Las Vegas casino at the time. All my tips went to bead purchases. My weekends and evenings were spent beading. When the casino downsized and I was given the choice of working the graveyard shift or becoming a supervisor, I quit. I was making decent money making beaded ankle bracelets (used a lace pattern mixed with tinkly bells). Plus, I'd just discovered bead collaged necklaces. Taking bits and pieces of old jewelry, gifted rhinestone jewelry and stone cabs, I made collars and simple necklaces, earrings and bracelets. I sold these to friends who worked on the Vegas strip, who needed/wanted flashy jewelry that was different. I made beaded bras and thongs, which I sold to strippers. I beaded ceremonial robes and leather jackets. I fixed old old old Native American ceremonial necklaces. I bought a van and started traveling to shows all over the US. Living the dream. I loved what I was doing and it seemed like my creativity was endless, even when other things in my life were falling apart.
Throughout it all, the beads remained the center of my art. Especially embroidery. As long as I had a little table, felt, glue, scraps of ultra suede and a collection of beads, I could create something beautiful. Generous friends continued to supply me with beads throughout the years when new goodies just weren't in my budget. I look at my stash now and am amazed! There's some breath-taking inspiration on those shelves.
I hope in my life as a beader, I can do the beads justice.