10 year old me, wearing one of my first necklaces, holding two of our angora rabbit babies.
Hi, my name is Lindsay, the newest
member of the Art Jewelry Elements blog team. I grew up in Alaska,
and have always been creative. My mom is a fiber artist – the smell
of wet wool and vinegar, or the whirring sound of a spinning wheel
instantly take me back to my childhood. While she was working on her
projects, she was also looking for ways to keep me busy and artistic.
Sewing, drawing, polymer clay, and “helping” with Mom’s fiber
art endeavors kept me busy some of the time…but I think we knew
that fiber arts were not for me in the long run. My mom had a
friend, Clara Jo, that was a fantastic beader, and she was my
introduction to beads and beadwork.
These were some of the first bracelets I ever made!
Beading really took off for me in 4th
grade, when my teacher decided to have the class make simple beaded
bracelets as a mother’s day project. I ended up making a few dollars
off of the little boys in class by finishing several of their
bracelets for them…and I never stopped!
Anyone I knew with pierced
ears, ended up with earrings. All of my female relatives have a few
bracelets like the ones above. Beyond the bracelet skills, Clara Jo
taught me everything that I needed to know to make very simple strung
jewelry and simple wire loops. The next Christmas, Santa brought me
a super nice pair of German round nose pliers…oh, yes, the snobbery
started at an early age!
When I was 12, we moved to Oregon to be
closer to my Dad’s family. Other hobbies came and went, but beading
was always my go to craft when I needed a gift for a teacher,
relative, or friend. While I was in high school, Mom drove me up to
Portland several times to go to Embellishment. I wish this show still
existed – it was an enormous show full of beads, buttons, and fibers.
I was fortunate enough to buy beads from people like Bob Burkett,
carved tagua nut animals from Ginny and Harry of Red Horse Ranch, and
Virginia Blakelock and Carol Perrenoud of BeadCats. It was during
this time that I taught myself peyote stitch and netting, and made my
first piece of beadwork art jewelry.
My first piece of art jewelry, with a hand carved tagua nut anaconda from Red Horse Ranch.
I went to a local community college for
my first few years out of high school, and during this time I worked
part time at a bead store. The owner was super passionate about
trade beads, so my education and obsession with those beads grew.
One of my coworker’s was a wire working guru, and I learned how to
make pretty wrapped loops finally. With this resource, my bead
collection grew by leaps and bounds. I’m pretty sure I didn’t take
home a paycheck several times…
I distinctly remember spending my first bead store paycheck on this lampwork goddess.
I finally decided to major in technical
theater, and left home to head to Southern Oregon University. I spent
the next couple of years consumed with theater and costume classes
(and working part time at another bead store). I relished the
classes where we got to draw, design, and make anything…and
struggled with the classes where we read plays. After graduating and
hunting for a job for a year, I moved to Nashville to take a position
as a stitcher at a puppet company. For the next four years, I helped
to make costume characters, hand puppets, and parade float puppets
for theme parks, cruise ships and commercials. The job was fun, never
boring, and I learned so much. Eventually, my boyfriend got a job as
a manager at Tandy Leather. They have transferred him around a few
times to run their stores now, and I’ve gone with him.
Halloween at the bead store in Knoxville, TN, as the “Bead Bandito”.
Maybe it was growing up in Alaska, and
near the Oregon coast, but sea life and the underwater world is a
constant inspiration for me. I am also inspired by animals and bugs,
color, anything miniature, amulets and talismans, prehistoric
creatures and the history of human adornment. Working with art
beads is one of my favorite things to do – I love taking another
artist’s work creating an environment for it to live in. People
often ask which stitch is my favorite – but I don’t really have
one! I’ve found that they all have their strengths, so when I
envision a shape or texture there is generally a stitch that will do
what I want, and that’s what I use.
Beads and beadwork are my therapy –
the one time I am truly in the moment. I feel that this is something
we share as artists – we go to our craft in need of support and
positivity. I look forward to sharing with all of you on AJE – it
such an honor to be a part of this team of creative souls.