about the Jewelz
I am a painter who loves to design with beads.
I started playing with beads at about the same time I worked with crayons. The common thread linking them is color and texture, and working with either medium still involves focus and design.
Making beads has always been a hobby, a way to relax with something 3D: beads and thread that I could hold in my hands as opposed to skimming over the surface of a canvas with brushes and pencils, or hovering over illustration board with the airbrush, never touching the image in progress.
I had always made jewelry for my Mom, my sister, some friends, and myself. My mom in particular, preferred my jewelry to any gift I might give her, so I always made certain to make some for her birthday and Christmas. Sometimes those dates were the only reason I had to justify playing with beads during a long busy spell of illustration work.
The year she died left me with no one anticipating my efforts. At Christmas, I finally had the excuse of making my sister’s gift, and as I got out my beads I realized how much I missed it, and how much I missed her.
Someone once told me that beadwork is grief work: focus on one thought at a time, just as you place one bead at a time. The solitude and introspection is worthy of any meditation, with the comfort of following a reliable pattern. As the design is set, your hands can simply follow the process while your mind is free to follow wherever your thoughts might lead.
That Christmas an avalanche of beadwork pored out of me. The work shifted and changed, it seemed to open up and become more of an avenue of expression. It was no longer tied to my mom; it was mine, her Christmas gift to me.