When did you first get interested in beads and beading and how did it come about?
One night in the late 1960's, playing in the backyard of our apartment complex with my brother, I took an ugly garden pot in my hand and held it up in the air stating, "This is a great artifact from the days of the Egyptians!" Then I hurled it to the ground where it exploded into shards, each one more beautiful than the next. Blame it on the eerie outdoor lighting and the marshmallows, an epiphany followed and my brother grew up to be a ceramicist while a seed was sown in me which lay dormant for decades till just a few years ago.
I started making necklaces out of pure curiousity. In art school in the 80's I had taken a metalsmithing class, and abandoned that to concentrate on painting. So art history and color had always held me in a stranglehold, manifesting itself in a funky way of dressing, cutting my own hair, or altering my clothes. For years I more or less floated along regarding my creative life, never quite taking myself seriously enough to do anything about it. Then one day the tides changed.
My love of personal adornment began to grow when I came into the possession of vintage bakelite and multi-part antique metal buttons, and thought I could make something out of them. At that time I was working from the diningroom table on my bags and things.
I see from your blog and your Etsy shop that you work a lot with textiles and also make jewellery using different fabrics. Did this interest start before your interest in beads? Can you say a bit about how your work with textiles informs your jewellery designs.
I'd say it was a parallel development. Working with textiles makes me predisposed to finding other solutions to construction techniques, which fascinates me because of my love of contrasting hard and soft. But it's not about a technique shouting. For me, it's about the beads.
You use a lot of art beads in your designs. Who are your favourite bead makers and what is it in their work that appeals to you?
I look for a singular voice, show of hand, sculptural organic forms, attention to detail, artistic development and especially passion.
I've only touched the tip of the iceberg, and forgive me for leaving anyone out. Happy Fallout first caught my eye with her Tea in the Sahara ceramic beads. Her layering of glazes and textures is hypnotic. Balela Ceramics makes magnificent sculptural porcelain and stoneware beads with subtle glazes and powdery pastels and neutrals. Edooley seduced me with her translucent color and delicate lampwork forms. Donna Perlinplim has such a refreshing take on things, from delicate decals to ancient looking glazes on embossed ceramic. TwoSistersDesigns makes organic painterly beads and I love her matt effetre lampwork. LaccentNou's pitfired and gold glazed beads have me swooning. RaggedRobyn robbed my heart with her tribal handpainted ceramic beads. Calisto makes gorgeous luminous lampwork, and I have just discovered NuminosityBeads (delicate explosions of natural beauty in her lampwork) and Something to do Beads (your work is at once modern, fun, and delicate, and I love how you paint with glaze, leaving raw ceramic edges).
I'm still educating myself about bead artists, trying to better manage my time and budget.
Do you have a favourite medium when it comes to buying art beads?
Stoneware, porcelain, lampwork, bone, and other natural materials. I'm open for anything though, and always ready to experiment.
Do you have a dedicated studio or do you work around the home? Can you describe your work space?
My studio is in the garden with a view to the garden house.
I work best in organized chaos, so at the end of the day I can close the door and leave things sitting around on the table. I don't have a decent photogenic image. It is what it is, a space I can take my hat off in.
On occasion I'll work at the diningroom table.
Do you have a favourite piece or pieces?
The one I'm working on. When I'm finished with that one, the next one will be my favourite.
Most of my pieces are accompanied by a story, and I'll often consider a piece to belong to one of three lines: Lost City, Earth Lines, Stone Diaries.
Are there any designers (whether of jewellery or textiles) who have been a particular influence on your work?
My inspiration comes from the women and men in my past who made beautiful things with their hands, because that was what they had. I'm also influenced by street fashion, mythology and history. I gravitate to things that have a warm human nature, yet are designed with skill and imagination with a tendency to minimalist simplicity. It could be a loaf of homemade bread, or the wooden hull of a sailboat. Both forms, by the way, require some design element. To that effect there are no shortcuts.
Thank you, Claire. It's a pleasure being featured on the Art Bead Scene Blog.
Thank you, Dawn! For more eye candy and insight into Dawn's work, head here: