There are a number of folks who call themselves artists but few who are actual masters of a medium that they worked many years to achieve. In my twenty years of beading, I've learned from many artists but only a couple of masters, Joyce Scott and David Chatt who were major influences from the early days.

When I first started beading I was inspired by the beaded necklaces with peyote stitched crystals as pendants. I was living in the central willamette valley at the time and eugene was the largest town around so I went looking for an instruction book and some beads to make collars for crystal pendants. I found Horace Goodhue's, Indian Bead-Weaving Patterns that had tubuler peyote which taught me how to bead around a cystal and flat peyote with both an even and odd number of beads. I beaded around a few crystals and then decided I'd like to bead around tiny perfume bottles so I did a few dozen of them until I could bead around odd shaped objects pretty well. Around that time, I discovered the japanese tube beads (delicas) and absolutely loved the flat sinuous fabric I could make using them in flat peyote. I got another book by Michael White Own called Flat Peyote Stitch and tried for the first (and close to the last) to follow someone else's pattern. I then got some graph paper and began designing my own patterns. Eventually, I was able to show and sell my work through a local gallery and I felt I was really on my way!

After I had been doing this for a while, someone mentioned Joyce Scott and Ornament magazine did an article on her and I was amazed at what she was doing with 3D peyote that was self supporting (nothing inside to hold it) and the social commentary of her bead work. Here was someone who was using beads as a fine art medium and I was intrigued. I eventually was able to meet her and attend an opening of her exhibit at a gallery in Salem but I never took a class from her....still, I consider her a main inspiration because I began to see the endless possibilities of beads.

A few years later (around 1995) I decided I needed a new challenge and decided to try the right angle weave, made popular, and taught by, David Chatt. David had found an old Russian piece made using 2-needle RAW and had developed it into the single needle RAW and was doing wonderful 3D objects with it. Since David was in Seattle, I was able to contact him and organized a 4-day series of classes to be taught at our visual arts center. It was a great experience and taught me dimensional RAW before there were any how-to books about it except the small pamphlet that david included with his classes.

I began making jewelry using the technique of RAW using vintage charlottes (tiny size 13 Czech beads) and nailheads, which hadn't been made since before WWII. I found more galleries to carry my work and began selling larger pieces and felt I was doing well. But I still kept my "day job", LOL!

So that's the beginning of the story of how I was drawn, step by step, into the fabulous world of beading.


Beadwright said...

Nice story Bobbi.

Purple Girl said...

thank you for sharing - there will be more?

Carol said...

thanks Bobbi!!
Interesting history of a bit of beading and about yourself. I'm really glad that you shared it with us. Boy, the beading books have come a long way, haven't they!

beadbabe49 said...

thanks, nicole!

yes...later on a bit more of the journey, kate.

thanks carol...and yes...books, magazines, bead shops, online beading and blogs....who woulda thunk it!

Roberta said...

I only recently learned of Joyce Scott. In the latest issue of Ornament it said she was having an exhibition here at Mobilia Gallery. I do hope to get over there to the other side of the river to see it before it is gone!
I had no idea of all the wonderful things being done in beads! It is truly another medium!

Jan said...

Thanks for this little glimpse into your background, I'm looking forward to reading more of the story when you care to share.

The wealth of wonderful books and magazines in every art medium these days is truly astounding. What are your favorite books and/or magazines these days?

beadbabe49 said...

I sure hope you make it, roberta! I know joyce's work is one of theresa sullivan's biggest inspirations!
thanks, jan! My initial favorites (and I still look at each issue even though I rarely buy them) are bead & button and beadwork. I also like to look at ornament, american craft, metalsmith, quilting arts, cloth paper scissors and the occasional surface design.
For books, I love all of robin atkins (of course!), carol wilcox wells, valerie hector, and diane fitzgerald who wrote shaped beadwork, my latest book purchase.
One really interesting aspect of practicing beadwork for over 20 years is you get to see many of the same things re-done over and over again, with the differences that new eyes (artists new to a medium or just young) make in an originally ancient idea.

Penny said...

I loved reading about your beaded journey. Thank heavens for these books in which the 'masters' teach us. For many of us, traveling to a class is not a possibility. I prefer to learn by reading because I can do it in my own time and at my own pace.

beadbabe49 said...

yeah, penny...that's mostly been my experience too. Luckily the number of books now is huge compared to 20 years ago!