Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wikibeadia: defining the world of art beads

We here at Art Bead Scene are all about art beads. So you might be wondering, what do we consider art beads to be? Well let me explain with a few examples...

Polymer clay beads by Heather Powers of Humble Beads

Lampwork glass bead by Lori Greenberg

First, art beads are made by individual artisans in independently owned studios. They work either alone or in very small studios, making one of a kind beads by hand or in small batches. Most are self representing, meaning you can buy their beads directly from them, although some work with stores to get their beads into the hands of the public. Art beads are not made in factories or sweatshops in mass quantities. When you buy art beads, you support the people who make them directly.
Ceramic Moose Pendant by Virginia Miska

Stoneware Component by Elaine Ray
Now, before you get out your dictionary I must say that here at Art Bead Scene, we use a very broad scope when we use the word "bead". Of course, by definition, a "bead" is a item with a hole to be strung onto string or wire and worn. But there are so many beautiful things that are related to "beads" that we like to expand our vision to include buttons, charms, pendants, links, and other components that are intended for making into wearable crafts. We are aware of the literal definitions and prefer to just use the word "bead" for all of it.
Lampwork Glass Spiral Bead by Cindy Gimbrone

Ceramic buttons by Tari Sasser of Clay Buttons
Art beads can be made in many materials. Glass, ceramic, polymer clay, metal, and natural materials are all very popular choices for artists to use for handcrafted beads. We hope to write about all of these materials, and intend to seek out new and exciting new materials that artists are using to create art beads.

Ceramic bead and charm earrings by Melanie Brooks Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio

Art beads are usually made with the intention of becoming a part of a beautiful piece of jewelry. Bead makers are often the first step in the process of the journey of the art bead, making the beads and sending them onto another artist who uses them to create their own art in the form of jewelry or other crafts. It is a truly inspirational process and very special relationships can develop between the artist who make the beads, the artists who turn the beads into jewelry, and even the owner of the finished jewelry. 

Great jewelry tells a story. Artists write the story, and art beads are the inspiration to that story. We at Art Bead Scene hope to bring together the creative people who can make these stories come to life!

***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.
Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***


Vanessa A Williams said...

I've been wondering for a while now exactly what an 'art bead' was and thanks so much for making it clear. I took a metal arts class and learned to solder and it open a whole new world. I've created several turquoise inlaid sterling silver pendants and now I know they are and will be considered as 'art beads'.
Maybe now I'll get up the courage to start entering some of the monthly challenges you promote here. Thanks so much


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Tracy Van Niel said...

I recently took the complex canes (felted) bead class from Carol Cypher and have absolutely fallen in love with that technique!!! Because the felted caned beads can be strung, used as cabochons and in numerous other ways ... would those also be considered an art bead?