Roswell, Georgia – Margie Deeb is an artist, designer, author, and musician, but perhaps she’s achieved greatest prominence for her work with color. As the author of The Beader’s Guide to Color and The Beader’s Color Palette, both from Watson-Guptill, Margie has become the leading authority on color trends in the beading world.
Margie blogs about color at Colorforbeadartists.com. She’s written articles for Bead&Button and Beadwork, and talked about color on the show Beads, Baubles and Jewels (see the great video of her appearance here). Margie regularly issues “color reports” for beaders and jewelers, and she offers online classes as well as projects for beaders; access all of it through her website Margiedeeb.com, and be sure to also check out some of Margie’s artwork on Skineart.com.
I asked Margie about her life and mission, what trends she’s seeing in the bead world, and, of course, what her favorite color is.
What are the most popular beading trends you’re seeing these days? What do you think is coming next? And what’s missing?
Beaded rivolis are everywhere, but personally I am a bit tired of seeing them. I think — and hope — that the days of anything-goes-free-form peyote are behind us (the kind with every bead ever made sewn down and no sense of aesthetics).
I don’t know what’s next. I’m always seeking looking for, as well as looking to create, more beautiful beaded jewelry, as opposed to intricate beadwork.
I see so much extraordinary beadwork that does not focus enough on design, but instead emphasizes process and technique. It smacks of “Look how many beads I can use!” or “Look how intricately I can bead!” rather than being an integrated, exquisitely designed piece of jewelry, beautiful in form and function.
I want us to be more concerned with overall design and aesthetics. Beaders forget this and sometimes don’t see the big picture. They’re used to looking at the intricate small-scale picture, and they get lost in the process.
Whether a piece takes one hour or 30 hours to make, or whether it employs one stitch or 50 techniques, isn’t the point. The overall design of the jewelry is what’s most important: the shape, the silhouette, the wearability, the drape, the visual impact.
I’d also like to see more collaboration between seed beaders and lampwork glass artists. So much potential lies there. Seed beaders and lampworkers are genetically related, with glass and color spiraling throughout all of our DNA.
What led you to focus much of your work on color? And how has your own art and perspective been changed by the work?
I’ve been an artist for all of my life, and color has fascinated me since I could hold a crayon. Color has been primary to every medium I’ve worked in.
It’s a world and a language to me. I live in it. It wasn’t really a choice. I’m so passionate about color, I naturally live and breathe it.
I didn’t realize what I could do with color as a career — or how the way I understood it was different from anyone else’s — until people began asking me how I achieved certain things with my colors in painting and in bead art.
Then I saw the need. I realized I could inspire others to expand the boundaries of their creative expression.
Writing about and teaching color has made me more focused, more open-minded with color, and more committed to learning all I can about its movement and mysteries.
It has to be asked, Margie: What’s your favorite color?
Fully saturated jewel tones thrill me. My true love is luscious, full-bodied purple.
I have occasional flings with others that sometimes last for years. But my heart has belonged to purple since childhood, when I had a purple rainbow painted across the lavender walls of my room. It is the color love of my life.
Who’s your favorite author and why? [No need at all to be craft related.]
How cruel to ask for just one! Diane Ackerman super charges all my senses and makes me fall in love with life all over again every time I read her.
You’re so well-connected to other artists: Who are some artists — specific to beading and extending to other mediums — you want to point out who are doing work that’s really surprising, innovative, and out of the box?
Sherry Serafini inspires because she pushes the boundaries of what can be done in the medium of beads. She’ll use anything she can sew or glue down in her jewelry. Her work is exciting.
Jeannette Cook breaks the boundaries of beaded jewelry design with her delightful sense of play and use of vibrant colors.
Marcia DeCoster has a brilliant mind for creating form and shape and making beads do things no one else can dream of. There’s a genius engineer hidden beneath a creative designer there.
Diane Fitzgerald pushes the medium of beading in all aspects. She’s always searching for new ways to approach bead work.
I also follow a lot of innovative illustrators and designers online. Some of my favorites are Mattias Adolphsson, James Jean, Craig Mackay, Brian Despain, Sergio Mora, Jon McNaught, Jon Reinfurt, Susan Rudat, Judy Kaufmann, and Amy Sol.
Please describe all your mediums of artistic expression, Margie, including what you like best about each one.
There’s nothing in the world that compares to the high of dissolving the boundaries of self through creativity, and when the medium is paint, ahhhh — that is the best!
Oil painting is my favorite medium. On the flip side, because I love it so much, when I’m painting is when I have to confront the worst of my fears and insecurities.
Drawing: I love line and have been drawing all my life. Drawing forces me to focus and pay concentrated attention.
Music: Music gives me some things that the visual arts do not. For me, it is the most emotional of the mediums I enjoy. I sing, write music, and play flute and piano.
Writing: Writing challenges me because it makes me focus a different part of my brain than visual arts. I love the precision and more logical thinking required of me. Crafting sentences, paragraphs, and stories that capture the heart is my goal. I am participating in NaNoWriMo (writing a 50,000-word novel in a month) for my first time this year, and it is both a blast and grueling!
Were you a crafty kid?
Yes, I’ve always been crafty! I exhibited in art shows from the time I was 9 years old. I also painted on rocks and shells.
All through junior high I illustrated the school lunch menus, and I also wrote skits and plays. I loved macrame. I sold my embroidery to local surf shops when I was 13 (remember peasant blouses?).
I airbrushed surfboards for boyfriends in high school. I spent my summers at music and art camps. I played the flute in the band and sang in all the available choruses and choirs.
My greatest inspirations were children’s book illustrator Joan Walsh Anglund and Walt Disney. I was lucky to have teachers along the way who took interest in me and parents who were artistic and made sure I had lessons in everything I was interested in.
This is my business mission statement, which stands on the wall of my studio:
MargieDeeb.com provides high-quality products, content, services, and seminars that inspire bead artists to creatively express themselves and discover their color voice.
Would you describe your personality?
Passionate, enthusiastic, outgoing, playful, high-energy, intense, goal-oriented, obsessive, detail-oriented, focused, disciplined, and constantly seeking to improve myself and my work.
Beyond the craft world, what’s most important to you in your personal and professional lives?
Spiritual growth and creative expression. Everything I do falls under those two categories, and they overlap.
Finally, Margie, what do you think would surprise people most about you? And please don’t tell me that you’re color blind.
I don’t know that much would surprise people. I speak my mind and wear what I’m feeling all over my face, unfortunately.
Maybe this: If I weren’t an artist in this lifetime, I ‘d spend my life studying dolphin behavior (cetacean intelligence). Dolphins fascinate me.
*Read other Lark Jewelry & Beading interviews with leading jewelers, beaders, and metalsmiths—please leave comments on the articles and let us know what you think:
Laura McCabe (with free project PDF)
Jamie Cloud Eakin (with bonus project PDF)
Nathalie Mornu (with two free project PDFs)