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My name is Patrick Duggan. I was born in 1950 and still live in Sydney, NSW, Australia. I am the youngest of four and the only male child in my family. My Mother was an embroiderer and a knitter, also one of my sisters was very good at knitting and sewing so creativity was fairly prevalent in my younger years.
I began knitting at 10 years of age. As a teenager I remember watching a woman crochet whilst sitting on a railway station. I went home, asked my Mother if she had any crochet hooks and started to crochet. In the 1970s I taught myself macrame and tatting, I wrote my own knitting patterns - great at cable designs - and I sold some of my work. In my mid 30's I eventually moved away from thread work as I found I wasn't completing anything and I had lost interest.
During my mid 30's to early 40's there was very little expression of my creativity and in hindsight; I can say it was a very unhappy time in my life - perhaps a midlife crisis?
In my mid 40's I went in search of other creative pursuits. I did some leadlight work, did bonsai plantings, began drawing and painting and then went into sculpting in clay - successfully exhibiting and selling my art. I also studied and had a career change, started my own business, working part time as a Remedial Massage Therapist, which I did successfully for 15 years, retiring from that in 2010.
In 2006 a friend returned from Bangkok with some braided men's beaded wristbands. I really liked them and since I worked very close to a bead shop I decided to make one for myself. Well they proved popular with my friends and so my love of beading was born. I did macrame with beads and progressed to stringing gemstones. A friend, one day, showed me how to make a seed bead spiral rope. That was it, I was hooked and I knew I had found my passion in beadweaving.
Since I could read knitting patterns it was easy for me to read beading patterns. I learnt every beading stitch, thinking if I have the skills I can create my own ideas. I loved being able to create from 'bits and pieces' finding it absolutely fascinating that from all these shiny little things and with ideas and skills something really beautiful could be created.
I found it even more satisfying when another person wanted to pay money for my creations. I remember thinking "Wow-wee! Beading may be able to subsidize my income when I retire" and I set out to make it happen. I currently have my work in a gallery and a women's clothing store. I love designing and am very lazy at selling my pieces however I do run several sites (listed at the end).
Once a year I display and sell my pieces at the King's School Art Show - a very respected and prestigious Art Show in western Sydney. I enjoy the connection with the ladies and seeing my designs being enjoyed. I get to share my passion with others. In mid-2009 I began teaching beadweaving by running workshops in my home. I had a regular group of ladies attend my classes and started to make a name for myself.
In September 2010 I entered the Bead Society of Victoria's bugle bead competition and was awarded First Prize as well as receiving a First Time Entrant Award. In November 2010 I entered a neckpiece called "Dragon's Bane" in the BSV Expo and was awarded the Elly Feldman Award - best in show. Marcia DeCoster was teaching at the Expo that year and personally congratulated me on the phone. You can imagine how thrilled I was. I ceased teaching beading home needing a break from working three jobs.
In January 2011 I had my first bracelet design published in The Australian Beading Magazine. In April, 2011 I had my first major gallery showing at Flourish Arts Gallery in Birchgrove, NSW. In February 2012, after over a year off teaching, I started teaching Beginner's Bead-weaving classes at Sydney Jewelry School
In March 2012 I did a featured Artist interview on the Beads Perles blog. In April 2012 my neckpiece "Fiesta" was a featured color-way on Eva Maria Kaiser's blog. In June 2012 I was published in the German magazine Perlen Poesie with my neckpiece "Summer 2012". In July 2012 I was one of 80 International Artists who entered the inaugural "Battle of the BeadSmith Competition" with my neckpiece "Davinia".
In August 2012 I had my "Gerbera" flower pattern published in Australian Beading Magazine. Recently I received notification from Lark Publishing that one of my submitted designs has been accepted for the Gallery Section of Marcia DeCoster's new book "Beads in Motion" being released in September this year.
My creative process.
I wake around 3:00am every day. I worried about this for a time then decided worrying about it was probably worse for my health than just accepting it. I usually start beading around 3:30am and I will bead for 4-5 hours, sometimes longer, almost every day. I like the absolute quiet of that time and I can totally focus on my design without interruption. If I am making something that I am excited about (which is often) I cannot wait to go to bed at night so I can get up and bead. It is rare for me to bead in the afternoons. I usually retire by 9:00pm, so I get about 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Needless to say I nap often.
It comes from different places. Making one design I may get an idea for another variation, one leads to the next. Other artists inspire me. When I made "Davinia" for the BOTB competition some inspiration came from an old 1980's brooch. Flowers inspire me a lot - one day I intend to do a design with lots of flowers. Architecture, the lines of a building, can inspire me. Periods of art inspire me. I also get fascinated by new beads and will play with that bead and see what I can make. Recently twins, superduos and spikes have taken up some of my time; also a small polymer clay rose has appeared in a number of my creations.
I see it as very eclectic. I make something that looks very Art Deco one day, and then the very next design can look like something Marie Antoinette would wear and the one after that be very contemporary. Another item I love making is beaded beads. I find them fascinating to figure out and to create. I enjoy doing them all. I recently looked at "Romanticism" in art and realized that most of my work falls under Romanticism - i.e. "Defining the nature of Romanticism is the primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist. In order to truly express these feelings the content of the art must come from the imagination of the artist, with as little interference as possible from "artificial" rules dictating what a work should consist of. The concept of the genius, or artist who was able to produce his own original work through this process of "creation from nothingness", is key to Romanticism." I definitely fall in this category.
Where I work.
I worked on my dining table for years but I always missed having friends around for a meal as it took too long to put everything away. My dining room is at the back of my home with a whole wall of louver windows looking out onto my garden, so plenty of light. Last year I set out to properly set up my workspace. I bought two tables, drawers, and cabinets and set up the corner as my studio. I keep everything off the dining room table so I now feel I can entertain again and am doing so. I now call the room my "dining-studio".
My favorite components.
I love Czech seed beads in size 11. I recently discovered they are called round rocailles. I just love how they look and how they weave together rather than the flat sided beads. I am currently looking for a reliable supplier who has lots of bright colors. I use Miyuki Delica beads to make a piece with a precise pattern, they are great for that. I use a lot of Swarovski crystals. I can always find a place to put a crystal in a design. I sometimes challenge myself to make a piece with NO crystals. The twin beads have won me, as I am able to achieve more in designing, having the possibility of two layers. Spikes are fun however I think they will be a fashion thing and fizzle out eventually.
My favorite colors.
I love pink, green, burgundy combinations probably because they are colors I live with in my home. I have been very tonal in my creations up until recently. I now want to work in bright colors and have begun collecting lots of new colors. My current favorite combination is a pink/orange coral color with lime green, green iris and peach.
My favorite technique.
I love herringbone and have created a lot of my work in this stitch. About a year ago I began using right angle weave and saw how it can be a "building" block. I now probably use cubic right angle weave the most. Thanks to Marcia DeCoster talking about ERAW, I came up with my own way of embellishing as you do CRAW - I call it ECRAW - and fast becoming my most favorite stitch, quicker, easier and more flexible than CRAW.
My support in beading.
It comes from two very good friends also great beaders in their own right. My dear friend Neva Brown is my beading buddy, and we often get together once a week for a beading session, she also teaches me the graphics for illustrating my designs - not something I love doing but I know I need to go in that direction. Neva has been a tireless support in getting my patterns for the magazines done and I am truly grateful having her in my life. Neva has been recognized for her work by way of various awards through an international forum as well as receiving a Special Mention in the 2009 Swarovski competition. Neva's designs can be seen on:
My other support is Melissa Ingram of Social Butterfly Jewellery. Melissa and I formed a Facebook friendship, eventually telephoned each other and last year I flew to Brisbane and spent a few days getting to know her and her family. It is terrific having that other person to discuss and share ideas. Melissa was recently (2011) awarded the Presidents Award for her Lashed Lily Neckpiece; she was placed third (2012) in the Bead Dreams in the Seed Bead category for her "Tequila Sunrise" neckpiece, and Melissa won another third place in the Crystal Jewelry Category for her "Melbournian" Neckpiece. Melissa was also one of the top 5 Finalists in the inaugural "Battle of the BeadSmith" contest for her "Arabesque Armour" neckpiece. And you can see more of Melissa's designs on:
What do I do besides beading?
Not a lot really, and that is okay with me. Beading has become my life and I am very content to be at home enjoying my passion. I maintain my home and garden, I enjoy movies, lunches with friends and I read a lot. I have put on quite a bit of weight since I started beading - I guess it is too much sitting. I now make myself exercise by walking and lap swimming. I recently coined a phrase that has become my mantra. "Get up and get going so you can sit down and keep beading," I say this to myself regularly as a way of reminding myself what I need to do and what is best for me.
My future dreams?
I would like to start entering some International Competitions. I will be placing two designs into Bead Dreams Seed Bead category this year. I have submitted some beaded bead designs to Lark Publishing, hopefully to be included in their future book - Showcase 1000 Beads. I want to write and publish my designs in a book. I love the Lark series of Beadweaving Master Class books and I would love to be the first male seed beadweaver published in this series. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I also would like to continue being a passionate beader until I am no longer able to.
|Patrick Duggan, Sydney, NSW, Australia|