After finishing the head, I took the lessons I'd learned from it and did a couple of years of RAW jewelry, most of it using vintage nailheads and charlottes or truecuts (when the size 11 "charlottes" came out, I was delighted!).
In 2002 I saw a retrospective done by a friend of ours who is a visual artist who works mainly on paper and was just so blown away by it that I went into a funk and let my doubts get the upper hand. You know...that little voice that says things like, "who do you think you are?" and "your work is no good and neither are you"....that voice that we all have to ignore to get anything done at all.
After I managed to mute it a bit, I got to thinking about what it would take to make my beadwork 'art' and I decided that for me, concept combined with technical skill would be the way to go. So, all I needed was a concept...yeah, right! That was easy...NOT! But, I finally was gifted by the universe with the idea to do beaded hand portraits of my friends who did beadwork. I asked 11 of them to make me an outline of their non-dominant hand, I took those simple outlines and reduced them 50% and used the reduction to cut out pellon-backed, commercial cotton fabric hands. Each fabric was chosen to represent not only the individual beader but their own personal style. So it was a portrait of both them and their work. It took me over a year to finish them but when I had 13, which I called, "A Beader's Dozen", they went into an exhibit I did with several other friends in 2003. I was fortunate enough to have an image of 5 of the hands used on the exhibit postcard, so I still have a lot of wonderful postcards with the hands on them.
Here's one of the hands...this is Cat, a wonderful painter and doll artist who uses beads in her doll costumes...there are a few more photos on my website of some of the other hands if you'd like to see more.
And this is the image used on the postcards.