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Marica DeCoster Presents—Now Available!

February 11, 2014, 15:08 pm  Posted by Kevin Kopp
 

 

Marcia DeCoster interviews 30 leading beaders on inspiration and technique

Just published! Beadmaster Marcia DeCoster delivers page after page of inspiration by offering you the personal stories and latest creations from 30 leading jewelry designers in her latest, Marcia DeCoster Presents.

 

Through interviews conducted by Marcia, these artists open up about their beginnings, their successes, their muses and influences, their favorite materials, their membership in the worldwide beading community, and their future beading dreams.

 

In addition to the insight and innovation present in these discussions, this volume is filled with gorgeous color photos that showcase a number of the most beautiful pieces from each contributor.

 

The artists in this book represent an international roster of the best in the field:

Daeng Weaver, Miriam Shimon, Patrick Duggan, Kerrie Slade, Melissa Ingram, Beki Haley, Betty Stephan, Sian Nolan, Debi Keir-Nicholson, Nancy Dale, Martina Nagele, Helena Tan-Lim, Heather Kingsley-Heath, Elke Leonhardt-Rath, Riana Bootha Olckers, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, Isabella Lam, Petra Tismer, Marsha Wiest-Hines, Christina Vandervlist, Linda L. Jones, Gabriella van Diepen, Idele Gilbert, Kinga Nichols, Susan Blessinger, Ann Braginsky, Heather Collin, Patrizia Tager, Zoya Gutina, Edgar Lopez

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t forget the best-selling companion book in this Spotlight on Beading series, Suzanne Golden Presents

 
 
 
 
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Candie Cooper INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

November 18, 2013, 09:23 am  Posted by Kevin Kopp
 

Candie Cooper and I have just finished working on her wonderful next book with Lark, Earringology: How to Make Dangles, Drops, Chandeliers & More. This follow-up to Candie’s previous offering, Necklaceology, will be available in June but can be pre-ordered now. I recently sat down with Candie to ask her a few questions on a range of topics.

Lark:  Candie, as you may not know, in a former life I used to catalog phone conversations for the National Security Agency. A couple of my former colleagues have informed me there was a unicorn sighting recently in north central Indiana where you live. What can you tell me about that?

Candie:  You did?!? That’s crazy. But yes! There was a unicorn sighting on Halloween weekend here in town. In my backyard actually! Ok, it was me. My husband got us horse and unicorn masks to wear for Halloween this year. They were creepy and fun and strange all at the same time. I made a special crystal rainbow necklace to wear with it. It was pretty fun!

Lark:  I see. A lot of horsing around, I imagine. So now that you’ve wrapped work on your latest writing effort, you must have all kinds of time on your hands, right? What are you up to when you’re not sleeping late and watching daytime TV?

Candie:  I actually do tune into Rachel Ray and listen while I work. I like her. But I’m onto the next series of projects, working on some top secret product development stuff (ask your NSA buddies about it), new book ideas, and filming craft videos for different craft companies. I’m also doing a lot of holiday projects for Plaid’s website, Paint Me Plaid.

Oh, and how did I almost forget  . . . I’ll be representing Beadalon and Jewelry Television to teach on a Country Music Cruise leaving from Fort Lauderdale in January.

Lark:  That’s a full agenda! Now, in all seriousness, tell me why you were excited to write a book telling your readers how to make beaded earrings. (By the way, they are all really pretty, and the instructions are easy to follow, the materials are readily available, and the photos in the book are fantabulous. But of course, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must make it clear that I work for the publisher—and also never really worked for the NSA, but as a running joke it’s a fun story to imagine.)

Candie:  Well, writing books is kind of like watching a good movie that you don’t want to end. I loved it when I was offered the opportunity to write Earringology, which is the sequel, so to speak, of Necklaceology. Plus, earrings are so instantly gratifying. Most anyone can make them in an evening, and that always feels good. I also had more techniques and new tools I wanted to share with people!

Lark:  It’s mid November. All thoughts turn to the coming holiday gift-giving season. What are a couple of the favorite items you’ve made in the past as gifts?

Candie:  I love making beaded beads into pendants and earrings with Swarovski crystals. They’re especially great around the holidays. In fact, here’s a link to my blog tutorial.

For my family, I usually make everyone an ornament. This year it’s going to be stenciled burlap ornaments with everyone’s initials on them immersed in glass. Sounds weird, but trust me, they’re cool! Should I be worried any of them are going to see this?!

Lark:  Well, we want as many people as possible to see this blog, but I’ll talk to my buddies at the previously mentioned top secret government agency and have them monitor your family’s internet traffic. We won’t let them near larkcrafts.com.

Other than telling us to start making projects ten months ahead of time, what advice or thoughts can you offer about making your own gifts for the holidays?

Candie:  Mmmmmm, keep it simple. I’ve learned over the years that if I try to make everyone something really involved, it gets tedious and exhausting. Holidays are supposed to be fun! If I do make something tedious, it’s usually for my mom (because she is AWESOME). My second tip is to wrap your gift as pretty as possible (but still simple). The presentation is just as much part of the gift (at least for me it is). I love tying a sprig of evergreen onto packages with a lace ribbon.

Lark:  Speaking of gifts, we are offering up two sets of signed copies of Metalworking 101 for Beaders and Necklaceology. Just leave a comment on this post telling us about an piece of beaded jewelry or any handcrafted item you made as a gift for someone by Tuesday, November 26 at noon EST. We will choose two names at random from among all eligible comments and will announce the winner on Wednesday, November 27. (Click here for the official rules.)

Candie:  Woot!  Woot!  THAT is a great idea! I’m all for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candie Cooper is the bestselling author of Metalworking 101 for Beaders and Necklaceology. In addition, she is a featured guest on the popular PBS series, “Beads, Baubles, and Jewels.” Currently working on product development for the jewelry industry, Candie also designs new products for craft companies and teaches creative beading workshops. Visit Candie’s website for the latest on what Candie’s been up to lately.

 

 
 
 
 
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I recently had the opportunity to chat with beading author, teacher, and award-winning designer Kristal Wick to discuss her new book Metal Clay 101 for Beaders. Check out our earlier teaser post about the book here.

What do you find appealing about metal clay as a jewelry material?

I have always love the mixed metal look. Metal clay gives me the opportunity to create my own custom findings and charms in copper, bronze and even sterling silver — such a fashion forward look! I wear a lot of different jewelry styles from simple office wear (in my past life working in a cubicle farm) to outrageous over-the-top wearable art (teaching on a Swarovski cruise) and wanted to capture both ends of the spectrum for my beady peeps! No matter their style, they’ll find something exciting to create in my book to showcase their personal story because I believe that is truly the mission of handcrafted jewelry-to tell a story.

What is your favorite technique to use with metal clay?

Anything with beads! I love combining my love of metal clay with beads (particularly seed beads) since they are my addiction! I wanted to incorporate beads into my metal clay world so they’re equal partners. This book does just that! While I was pondering my initial book idea I did some research and found many of the metal clay books and techniques very challenging and intimidating. I decided to present some very simple techniques even the most basic beginners could succeed at; mix with their beaded jewelry and delight in this expression.

What do you hope readers will get from reading Metal Clay 101 for Beaders? 

I want my readers (particularly beaders) to just go for it. Dive into metal clay and eliminate any fear of trying something new. This is an exciting way to explore and introduce metal clay as your bead stash’s new BFF! Using copper and bronze clay to begin with then moving into silver clay presents a more cost effective way to explore this creative venture and you don’t have to worry about ruining an expensive piece of silver clay for your first project!

 
 
 
 
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Gordon K. Uyehara at Bead&Button

Gordon K. Uyehara is a fabulous artist working in metal clay. He teaches, creates, interacts with the metal-clay community online, and inspires with his beautiful, elegant designs. He is the author of Metal Clay Fusion: Diverse Clays, Detailed Techniques, Artful Projects. Learn more about Gordon at his website www.honudream.com.

 

Why metal clay, Gordon? How did you discover this medium, and why is it such a good fit for you?

There was just something about it that set my imagination off. I could spend hours working with it and then when I wasn’t, my mind was still engaged to the point of obsession.

 

How do you describe your work and your aesthetic sensibility?

I’d describe my work as organic and nature-inspired, with sculpted features, in restrained refinement.

Artistically, it’s an ongoing process about observing the world around you and learning how to express yourself in every aspect of living.

 

Poison Pill Ring from Metal Clay Fusion

What are your hopes for the book Metal Clay Fusion? What do you want your readers to receive in practical and artistic terms?

I would like the book to inspire as many people as possible. I hope readers will try different techniques and that the book will help them discover their own artistic voice. And I always hope artists are thoughtful as they create.

 

What most impresses you about how metal clay is maturing as a medium today? And in which areas do you think growth is still most obviously needed?

I think the amount of experimentation people are willing to undertake is impressive.

Growth is needed in all areas. Having said that, it is proceeding just fine, under its own momentum.

 

Bronze, Silver & Pearl Pendant from Metal Clay Fusion

I’m not going to make you name your favorite metal clay artists, but would you name a few who you think are doing exciting new things, and say what it is about each that you find exceptional?

There are a lot of artists doing terrific work. As far as exciting new things, a few people come to mind:

Wanaree Tanner: youthful exuberance with a willingness to experiment, coupled with a keen aesthetic sense and natural talent

Hadar Jacobson: tireless innovator with super accessible projects

Samantha Braund: wild and beautiful shell-scapes (as they look to me) combined with wire-wrapping and stone setting

Lisa Lynn Barth: outstanding metal clay and leatherwork/knotting combinations

 

Speak to someone who has worked with other materials but not with metal clay: Please explain what you find most appealing about the medium.

I like that it is pliable and picks up deep texture effortlessly. Plus, it is easily sculpted. The entire transformative process is fun. It can be used in a myriad of ways.

 

Bronze Clay Mask Pendant from Metal Clay Fusion

Do you feel a community has developed in metal clay, with artists really knowing one another and the work intimately, offering ideas, feedback, and support? Or is that still nascent?

There is definitely a real community where ideas are shared freely. But it is also still very young. So it is both.

 

What do you do for fun, Gordon? And what are a few things that might surprise people about you?

Other than playing with clay, I like to relax outside in the sun, play guitar, and watch movies. It might surprise people that I have a mischievous side that I struggle to keep under wraps.

 

In what ways does your home state of Hawaii influence your work?

The flora and fauna definitely play a part—to what extent I do not know.

 

Bronze Asian Bell from Metal Clay Fusion

What’s next? Where do you see yourself going from here professionally? What are your biggest ambitions that you’re willing to share?

I’m not sure. The possibilities are endless, and you never know where you’ll end up. I’m just going to keep creating and see what life presents before me.

 

Thank you, Gordon!

Mahalo!

 
 
 
 
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Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley, the authors of Making Wire & Bead Jewelry

I’ve done a lot of interviews over the past two years on this blog, and I figure y’all are getting a little tired of my questions. (Okay, I’ve been in Asheville, North Carolina, for six years now, but “y’all” still doesn’t sound right from me even when I type it.)

So, when I was ready to interview Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley—owners of the business Wired Arts, fabulous teachers, renowned jewelry designers, and the authors of the new book Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques—I came up with what I think proved to be a better idea: Ask Janice and Tracy to interview one another instead.

They were remarkably good sports about what a skeptic might have perceived as my avoiding work on the weekend.

Enjoy the interview, and click here to go to an earlier blog post with two project PDFs from the book (one from Tracy and one from Janice, naturally) and a collection of preview photos of projects in Making Wire & Bead Jewelry.

I encourage you to buy the book at your local bookstore or bead store, and of course it’s also available via Amazon and BN.com.

Janice:
Okay, first question: Tracy, what was your favorite part of writing Making Wire & Bead Jewelry?

Tracy:
My favorite part of writing the book was knowing that I could put out what I consider to be good, solid techniques in an easily followed format.

I also wanted to reach more students than I ever could in the past, and now those people who do take classes with me finally have a book to go home with that they can use as a reference in their wireworking ventures.

Question: What do you hope people will take away from this book, Janice?

Janice:
Thanks for asking, Tracy! To me the most important thing is technique. Because the book has so many step-by-step images, the processes are easy to follow visually, making this the go-to guide for wire-bending techniques.

Wire-Wrapped Bangle, a project by Tracy Stanley in Making Wire & Bead Jewelry

After technique, the rest is just plain wire-bending fun!

Rock and Roll by the Sea necklace, a project by Tracy Stanley in Making Wire & Bead Jewelry

Which of your projects is your favorite, Tracy, and why?

Tracy:
My favorite project to make is the Rock and Roll by the Sea necklace. It has a little bit of everything in it, from my favorite—a double loop wrap—to coiled eye links. It’s hard to get bored making this one because there are so many fun components, and every necklace you make looks so different depending on how you combine the components, beads, and charms!

My favorite piece to wear is the Wire-Wrapped Bangle. I wear mine every day. The specific one I wear every day is made up of all metal beads. This bracelet is so comfortable and it goes well combined with other bracelets.

How about you, Janice: What is your favorite project you created for the book?

Janice:
It’s hard for me to choose. My two favorite techniques are making spirals and basket weave. For that reason, I would choose my Beach Pebble Bracelet and Wire Pod.

Beach Pebble Bracelet, a project by Janice Berkebile in Making Wire & Bead Jewelry

As far as everyday wear, I choose my Beach Pebble Bracelet. It has simple techniques that I would use every day, especially the spiral. The spiral, one of the common forms found in nature, is one of my favorite techniques.

While we were writing the book, I made a Beach Pebble Bracelet, and it has only left my wrist once since then. That was at the Denver airport. I took it off for the TSA and promptly forgot it!

Some jewelry is just meant to be yours, though. The Denver airport was on its game and got it back to me in no time, so it’s safe and sound on my wrist again.

Wire Pod pendant, a project by Janice Berkebile in Making Wire & Bead Jewelry

And basket weave—I have always been a fan of pods. With the Wire Pod project, you learn the basket weave technique, which is a soothing and tranquil process. All the while you’re creating a pod form, and then you get to stuff it with your favorite beads. It doesn’t get any better than that! [Editor’s note: The Wire Pod pendant is one of the projects posted as a PDF to download in this earlier post.)

So, tell me a little bit about how you began wire bending?

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Dana Schneider's 22-karat gold-plated sterling silver mockingjay pin for The Hunger Games movie

 

Today we talk with Dana Schneider, the jewelry designer who made the mockingjay pin that actress Jennifer Lawrence wears in the movie The Hunger Games. As you know if you’ve read the books or seen the movie, this pin (worn by main character Katniss Everdeen) is an especially important part of the story—a symbol of rebellion in a post-apocalyptic world.

When I found out I was going to interview Dana Schneider, the jewelry designer who made the mockingjay pin for The Hunger Games movie, I was excited. But I was also not sure what to expect from a woman who has made jewelry for more than 50 films and television shows (including Planet of the Apes, The Matrix sequels, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), designed what Cher has described as “her favorite ring,” and is friends with Marilyn Manson.

Within moments on the phone, I realized I was talking to one of the most engaged, confident, and also humble and generous artists I’ve ever met. She loves what she does and at the same time is very clear about just how hard her work is.

She is equally passionate discussing the magic of movie making, heavy metal music, women with charm bracelets jangling beside her at the symphony, and her own work in her studio and her Etsy jewelry shop.

Can you tell me a little about how you got started designing jewelry?

Dana Schneider

Jewelry artist Dana Schneider with a necklace she made for The Matrix Reloaded and a solid sterling silver piece she made for a Marilyn Manson video (Lynn Ischay/The Plain Dealer)

I learned basic jewelry-making skills as a child from my father, who was an engineer: how to cast, how to solder, how to use a pair of pliers. I’ve always just naturally been a craftsperson. I’ve also always been a movie fan.

When I attended the Rhode Island School of Design, I planned to focus on animation, but in my freshman year I decided to do sculpture instead—foundry work with heavy forged steel, cast bronze, and aluminum. Then when I graduated, I decided I didn’t want to have a career as a fine artist.

Why not?

I felt art was about communicating, and I knew that I was young and didn’t have a lot to say yet.

I got a job in the repair department at Tiffany & Co. in New York City. But I didn’t actually repair the jewelry—I did public relations for the repair department. And I learned how people use and abuse their jewelry, how they don’t want to think about chains breaking and pearls needing to be restrung—especially on pieces from Tiffany.

I realized that when people buy something, they want it to last, and I could understand that. I started my own jewelry business as soon as I left Tiffany, and I’ve been making jewelry ever since.

So how did you start designing jewelry for movies?

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Jamie Cloud Eakin is the popular author of three books — Dimensional Bead Embroidery, Beading with Cabochons, and Bugle Bead Bonanza — with more than 50,000 books in print. She was generous enough to do a little interview with us, and even more, to create and let us share a wonderful stitch index for Dimensional Bead Embroidery and Beading with Cabochons, as she explains below.

Jamie lives in Modesto, California, and she teaches classes all over. See more of her work at http://www.studiojamie.com/.

Jamie, what are your favorite bead shops?

I love ALL bead shops! I can’t walk into one without some treasure that calls my name and has to come home with me.

But it really is more than just the beads. I love spending time with other beaders and people who love beads.

There is a joy and energy in bead shops that is difficult to describe. I think many people go to bead stores and bead shows thinking “I’m here for the beads,” but it really is so much more than that.

My theory is that the creation process accesses certain parts of our brain. Whether you are designing something yourself or following a pattern by someone else, the transformation process, the creation process, has an elevating influence on the person.

Classic Chic Earrings project from Dimensional Bead Embroidery

I think this happens more in beadwork than in some other crafts because of the process itself. You’ve heard many times, “When you are angry, count to 10 before you act to calm yourself.” Well, think about how many times you are doing this “counting” when you are beading … lots!

For this and other reasons, I think beading lets us get in touch with the best of ourselves. The end product is a huge bonus, but it’s the process itself that keeps us beading.

There are many types of beading — from stringing to elaborate stitches — so there is a process available for everyone. It doesn’t matter what your choice of process is, it is all wonderful.

How much do you teach in a given year? What do you enjoy about teaching, and what do you find most challenging about it?

How much? That’s hard to say in terms of a number or count — let’s just say LOTS.

I teach at my local bead store and some shows and even at my local bead society.

I love spending time with other beaders. I get a special pleasure seeing new beaders discover the joys of beading and experienced beaders take it to a whole new level.

It is really fascinating to see how different people can see the same instructions and interpret them differently. The challenge is to create instructions and illustrations that work for everyone. Teaching a class where you can see the reactions to the instructions is a big help in doing that.

 

Midnight Waterfall Necklace project from Dimensional Bead Embroidery

Dimensional Bead Embroidery, your recently released book, is already a popular bestseller, and of course your Beading with Cabochons is widely regarded as a bead-book classic. But these are both technique-driven books focused on bead embroidery. Why would a beader want to have both of them?

Good question! This really comes down to my philosophy of beading, which says that techniques are tools in your beading toolbox. Both books are filled with techniques, and there is very little overlap. So you actually need both to fill your toolbox.

I find that many people who do bead embroidery tend to use the same techniques over and over again. These books give you more options for design — and for beading fun!

Personally, I’ve used a list of stitches and techniques at my beading station that I refer to when designing. I thought a much more useful thing would be pictures and a page reference guide for other people.

So, I created a kind of cross-index of stitches in both books that shows a picture of the technique results, which book each one is in. and the corresponding page number. [Download a PDF of the index here.]

Both of these books are used by many beaders as reference books while they’re designing and beading. I think this index will help those people.

Jamie Cloud Eakin

Jamie, what are you working on right now, bead-wise?

I’ve been working on new books concentrating on design. One of the questions I hear most often is, “How do you come up with that?” These books attempt to answer that question and give advice for doing it yourself.

 

 
 
 
 
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Rachel Nelson-Smith

Rachel Nelson-Smith is one of the most popular and talented beadwork designers and teachers in the world. Rachel is the author of the new book Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs, as well as an earlier release Seed Bead Fusion, and also a contributor to numerous magazines and books, including the gallery book Masters: Beadweaving. Visit her online at www.rachelnelsonsmith.com.

We also invite you to sample projects from Rachel’s new Bead Riffs book we’ve posted on this blog: Download a PDF of the Billie’s Bounce necklace or a PDF of the gorgeous Rondo neckpiece.

Rachel, this is a distinct variant of the standard first question for my interviews with beaders: How did you start … singing jazz? Tell us about what that experience—and that work and play—are like.

A mutual high school friend of local ladies I sang renaissance madrigals with, Michael Parker, once asked me if I was interested in singers like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. In response to my disinterest he made a mix tape featuring jazz singers like those two, along with others like Bette Midler and Edie Brickell.

The music really grew on me as I listened to the recordings over and over—particularly the song “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” because Parker said it was a very difficult song to sing. Years later, my friend Craig Pena introduced me to his coworkers who had a garage band called The Jazz Dogs in San Jose, California. With this group, led by Apple software engineer Kris Stephens in psychologist Tom Martin’s garage, I learned to sing jazz.

Kris later took me in and I became his housemate. With his experience as a jazz trombone major, he taught me many of the ins and outs of jazz from a musician’s perspective, rather than a singer’s. Another member of the Jazz Dogs group, Nick Beason, who worked for Compaq at the time, would share his jazz CDs with me. We’d shop at Tower Records after practice and attend live shows at Yoshi’s in Oakland, Bimbo’s in San Francisco, and other venues in the Bay Area. Those concerts, recordings, and discussions expanded my jazz knowledge.

Later, I attended the weeklong Stanford Jazz Festival as a student of the well-recorded singer and pianist Dena DeRose, as well as Bay Area singer Madeline Eastman and one of my all-time-favorite international singers, Mark Murphy. Drummer Billy Higgins was also teaching that summer, along with bassist Ray Drummond. The horizons really expanded. In a vocal jazz class with Roger Letson at DeAnza College, I was even beginning to scat and gain more live performance confidence.

It was during this time I volunteered regularly at the local jazz station KCSM 91.1 FM in San Mateo for its fund drives—answering phones and taking donations—and this lead to volunteering on a near-weekly basis with radio announcer Jesse “Chuy” Varela. Chuy would share extra CDs and concert tickets with me for the volunteer work I’d do, mainly entering CD information into their database.

Ultimately, I had attended so many concerts at Yoshi’s through the gratis tickets from the radio station that the Yoshi’s ticket-takers would let me in whether I had a ticket or not—and, most importantly, whether or not the show was sold out. Many times a single chair was pulled into the center aisle so I could listen to a sold-out show.

As my love of listening, performing, and singing grew, I drove many miles to attend jam sessions in San Francisco at Rasselas and Bruno’s, as well as in Santa Cruz, where I ultimately spent time on the board of the Jazz Society of Santa Cruz and conducted their weekly jam session.

Great origins story, Rachel. Is the story about how you started beading as dramatic? Why don’t you tell it?

After a failed semester away at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, studying musical theater, I returned home to live with my parents in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I took up classes at the local junior college as a mostly undecided English, psychology, and theater major with a short attention span. To help with expenses I got a job in downtown Santa Cruz at the local bead shop, Bead It.

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Interview with Anneta Valious

August 13, 2011, 06:28 am  Posted by Nathalie Mornu
 

When I attended Bead&Button, I was absolutely bowled over by the pieces on display in the Bead Dreams showcases. One necklace that really wowed me was Helen of Troy, by French beader Anneta Valious. Not only is it luxe and gorgeous, but it uses a technique I’d never seen before.

Helen of Troy, by Anneta Valious

Back at home, I found Anneta’s website, clicked through it, and discovered she describes her designs as being soutache jewelry. That still didn’t tell me much. I resolved to find out more and emailed the artist, proposing to share this technique with all of you. She accepted. Here’s a translation of our Q & A. All photos in this blog are by permission of the artist, and any errors in explaining what she said are mine!

Anneta in Barcelona. Photo by James Brosseau

What is soutache?

Soutache is a type of trim or gimp, and more specifically a flat braid with a groove down the center. Soutache began to be embroidered onto garments beginning in fifteenth-century France, becoming quite popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. [Think of the military uniforms of that era, festooned in braid. --NM]  Soutache enjoyed a brief resurgence during the macramé craze of the 1970s. Today, it’s used mostly to embellish lampshades. It’s less well known for making jewelry.

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With Maggie Meister’s first book, Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance, part of Lark Jewelry & Beading’s best-selling Beadweaving Master Class series, due to reach stores in the next few weeks, I asked this incredibly busy teacher and designer to take the time to answer a few questions about her work, her life, and the new book. Maggie teaches nationally and internationally, and her designs have been featured in virtually all leading bead magazines. She is one of the artists showcased in the inspiring gallery book, Masters: Beadweaving. Maggie lives with her family in Norfolk, Virginia.

Maggie, when did you start beading—and beadweaving—and why?

I started beading in 1993. My son’s kindergarten teacher was wearing a great pair of earrings and told me that she made them. It had never occurred to me that I could make jewelry myself.

I took some classes and liked it. When I tried seed beads, something immediately clicked, and I was hooked. I liked the colors of the beads and the rhythm of the stitches.

Maggie Meister

 

How much time do you spend beading? What does your beading space look like?

 

I bead about 7 to 10 hours a day, particularly when I’m getting ready for a show. I take breaks throughout the day to catch up on administrative tasks and work on my Beadventure trips to Italy.

My beading space? Maybe I should let my husband answer this one! He always says that I have my bead room—our sun room is my studio—and the rest of the house is the “bead annex.”

One of the tables in my studio is full of components that I am using for projects or plan to use for projects. I have cabinets full of beads and stones that I love.

The walls have mosaics, prints, and postcards of things I love and my framed piece of vintage beaded fringe that I found in Murano.

 

Rosette Earrings from Maggie Meister's Classical Elegance

 

In your new book, Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance, your inspirations are explicit: classical architecture, jewelry, mosaics, textiles, and motifs. What do you think it is—about you and about it—that draws you to the ancient world?

As far back as I can remember I’ve loved ancient history. Maybe it started when my parents would take us to museums when we were young. I don’t know, but the interest has always been there, and when we lived in Italy it really came alive for me. It opened doors for me while learning the history.

I love the ancient myths and the iconography of those myths incorporated into the art and architecture. I think I’ve always been drawn to mosaics and patterns in rugs. I love researching the history and stories behind pieces that I see.

I’m also interested in other periods of history and gradually working my way through them. What I find interesting is how the ancient motifs find their way into each period of history.

What design principles guide you?

 

The line! When I studied mosaics, I learned that the lines in the mosaic were so important. I think they’re also important in beadwork, whether it is the lines in a geometric pattern or building a three-dimensional component. When I see a piece that inspires me, I look at the lines and try to determine which stitch will give me the lines I need to make the shape.

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