For someone who reads a lot, I haven’t been reading. Well, I have, just not what I typically read. The month of April came and went with not one novel finished let alone what I typically read. Between working from home, helping five teenagers with their remote learning (only four more weeks to go), and trying to maintain some sort of normal routine for my family; it just isn’t happening for me. Somehow holding onto a plot is just not something my brain is good at right now. While I did manage to read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park with my middle son for school, even that was a challenge for my short attention span.
So what have I been reading? Other than the posts from friends on social media I have used this time to look at some of my books with shorter articles and a lot of pictures.
One of my go to books for beading inspiration is 500 Beaded Objects jurored by Master Bead Weaving Artist Carol Wilcox Wells. It is a diverse selection of many of the best beadwork artists around today with simple, humble, beautiful and marvelous beads.
While 500 Beaded Objects is more of a picture book than novel, one of the things I find most fascinating and worth spending as much time as I can taking in each piece of art is the story and inspiration behind the pieces. I love knowing the why behind what an artist was thinking as they envisioned and created each piece. If you never thought of beads as a worthy art medium, you need to look through this book. Even if you do love beads, inspiration can be found on any one of the 415 pages.
Take Jennifer Maestre’s work. Done by sharpening one inch sections of pencil, drilling holes into the ends of them and then weaving them together she creates intriguing and perplexing sculptures. I have been beading since I was a young kid, over 25 years at this point, and I wouldn’t think to put materials together that way. Each piece reminds me of an alien creature masquerading as a new creature. I can also see them as a previously undiscovered creature of the ocean. They remind me of one of the corals in my husband’s reef tank.
Cindy Wrobel and Bonnie Berkowitz pieces make me smile. Beauty Within, Beauty Without reminds me that there are two sides to who we are and both sides are worth noticing and appreciating. Mother May I: Accordion Book Bra makes me happy. Berkowitz embroidered a message of self expression into her piece. I can’t imagine anything more fantastic than that. Being able to express yourself, through words, beadwork, paint, song, etc., is am important part of who each of us are.
Gemstone Twist by Ronnie Lambrou brings me joy. I love the silver lined lime green seed beads combines with delicately created lampwork glass by Jeri Wharhaftig. The added contemporary glass and fringed nature of the piece, for me, brings whimsical delight with it’s vibrant color pallet.
We can all use more joy in our life. For that matter we can all use more beauty in our life too. For me, that’s what beadwork is. Small glass, clay, wooden, plastic, metal pieces of beauty strung together to create joy. I am blessed that my Mum, Aunt and several others introduced me to beadwork when I was younger. It opened up a world of creativity and expression I never thought was possible. To this day I struggle to draw a stick figure but I can bead just about anything.
Rediscovering the book 500 Beaded Objects has inspired me to pick up my bead needle again. In the midst of a pandemic, I will strive to create beauty, joy, and more.