Friday, November 14, 2008

The Lone Beader. Beading as Contemporary Art

If you make search in Wikipedia by the word "beader", it will suggest you a few definitions, one of them says, "A beader uses beads to create many kinds of decorative items." Don't try to find in encyclopedia who The Lone Beader is. To start, we will tell you, that The Lone Beader is an extraordinary bead embroidery artist. Would you like to know some more? OK, The Lone Beader tells you her story on beads, bead embroidery, and beading as contemporary art.

"I have always been involved in the arts ever since I can remember. During elementary school in Erie, PA, I loved both art and music class, but I had a strong preference for music. I learned how to play the viola and I was very active in music all through my childhood.

Music was my #1 priority, but I had other interests, as well. I loved coloring and painting. My younger sister and I were always doing something creative. I remember that we made a lot of beaded necklaces and collages, but I think we tried almost every kind of craft at least once. My mother was always telling me I should try drawing, but I never thought I could, so she showed me how to cross-stitch. I remember spending hours outside under a tree working on my needlecraft.

My father also influenced me in a much different way. He loved racing cars and flying airplanes, and was always taking me with him on his journeys. Because of him, I had great big dreams of becoming an astronaut, fighter pilot, or roller coaster engineer. But instead, I decided to study music in Boston.

During college, I began working in the theatre, setting up rock concerts for a living. While I have worked other jobs, this was the only one that has interested me enough to stick with for well over a decade - perhaps it is because this career's infrequent schedule has given me the opportunity to rediscover the arts.

It never occurred to me to pursue a visual art until about 6 years ago. One day, I walked into a bead shop in Boston, and when I saw all of the seed beads, I felt like I finally found what I had been searching for. So, I started reading books and magazines and teaching myself how to make complex jewelry designs in almost every technique. But, when I tried bead embroidery, I knew this was what I loved most.

The idea for my first bead painting came after I embroidered a 6" x 9" panel depicting a flock of flamingos. I needed a way to display the finished piece, so I stitched the beaded panel to a canvas and painted in the extended environment. It was a simple concept, but I really liked the result, so I sent in a photo to Bead & Button Magazine. They published Flamingo Moon in 2005. That publication eventually led to my first commission, which was an experience that helped me find my artistic path, and has driven me to follow it..."

Full story by The Lone Beader

Beading as Contemporary Art

About artist:

The Lone Beader, Massachusetts, USA
Official Website:
E-mail address:
Gallery Shop:

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Beaded jewelry by Jama Watts

Jama Watts was born, raised and currently lives in Kentucky. She was introduced to art as most kids, in elementary school. "Getting to go to the art room in elementary school was always something special for me," Jama said. "I loved getting my hands dirty with clay, painting and drawing. But, since my dad was an engineer and I was good at math, I always thought I'd be an architect."

Watts took mostly construction, drafting and other classes in middle and high school, but during the summer of 1992 she began to focus on drama and the arts, and later Jama decided to study art in college. After graduating from college Jama has spent a few years working in jobs that had nothing to do with the arts. In 200 Jama had a life-changing moment: needing a creative outlet, she began stringing beads and making rosaries to pass time. She is a self-taught beader, learning through books, magazines and experience.

Shortly after her daughter, Amber, was born, Jama left her office job and opened a small art gallery and coffee bar in Lebanon. The gallery, These Precious Things, represents 30 central Kentucky artists, allowing Jama to spend "down time" making jewelry at her desk.

The ideas for her pieces come from a variety of sources. She has a slight addiction to beading magazines and books but most of her inspiration comes from a background in painting, sculpture and nature. She loves color and texture, which shows in her jewelry. Jama often begins a piece as a way to examine a new stitch or color palette then lets the piece tell her where it wants to go. Her favorite work is in freeform beading as she feels it allows her to express herself more freely.

Jama has come to think of her pieces as "wearable art" rather than "just jewelry," which she feels allows her greater creativity when designing and working on her pieces. Watts' work is also a reflection of what she's into or going through at the moment she makes the piece. Music, emotions and paintings are starting points for many pieces, as is the desire to test out a new stitch.

"I'm very ADD when it comes to my craft, learning new techniques constantly and playing with the results," she said. "I guess you could call it contemporary tradition! I do everything from pieces that look vintage to incorporating computer and watch parts into my pieces."

Watts has ventured into cold-connected metal work, wire wrapping and silver clay but always returns to the beads, elaborating on traditional designs and creating her own. Her work has been featured in many national and local magazines, media and Internet outlets. She also filmed a segment for HGTV's "That's Clever!" which is tentatively scheduled to air in February 2009. Jama is a winner of several awards for her pieces over the last few years, she is an active member of beading and art associations. She also enjoys teaching jewelry-making classes at the local community education center. Jama's work can be found in her own gallery These Precious Things in Lebanon, KY, as well as in several retail outlets throughout Kentucky.

An article by Jama Watts

Beaded jewelry by Jama Watts

About artist:

Jama Watts, Lebanon, Kentucky, USA
E-mail address:

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Celebrating Beads, the journey of... Pictures

At last! A week ago I had a chance to go to the Bead Museum in Washington, DC and to see all winner items of the Celebrating Beads, the journey of... contest. I tried to make some pictures but it was pretty hard using my old camera.

All items were in cases, and the light in the room wasn't bright, so I had to use flash on my camera, that's why the pictures are of such quality... Anyway, my husband and I enjoyed watching all amazing works live! I'd like to congratulate the winners, the finalists and the participants of the Celebrating Beads contest, I know many of them, and to wish them all best of luck!

Slide show: Celebrating Beads Winner Items

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Google for beaded jewelry!

On October, 17th, I discovered that the Google search for "beaded jewelry" returned 2,340,000 websites with on the first place. I could hardly believe that! I checked out the same search criteria next day, in a week, in two weeks, but my website is still on the first position. I'm pretty excited!

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Celebrating Beads, the journey of... Bead Gala

Celebrating Beads, the journey of... First Annual International Juried Jewelry Design Competition is over, bead artists from over 14 countries and 33 states participated in the contest. The culmination of the competition was The Passion for Beads Gala held at the Naval Heritage Memorial Center in Washington, DC on Saturday, September 20th, 2008. There I met one of my readers - The Lone Beader, and I was happy! We talked a lot and we are like old friends now!

The Lone Beader, an extraordinary bead embroidery artist from Boston, MA, and me

It was really exciting event, where the contest winners were announced, and the World Premier of Diana Friedberg's final documentary in her award winning series World on a String, Part V: A Passion for Beads took place. This documentary features bead makers and jewelry designers from around the world and was the perfect touch for that evening Celebrating Beads and the designers who make and use them.

Rafael Matias, California, USA, a guest artist from the documentary

I met many wonderful people at the Gala: four of contest jurors, editors from two national beading magazines, and a lot of contest participants. It was my first such an event, and I can say that the entire experience was necessary, fun, and interesting.

Slide show: The Passion for Beads Gala

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