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I'm Mikki Ferrugiaro. It is said by my family that I came out of the womb as an artist, which was a surprise because no one else in my family is artistic. Born in England, I grew up around the art of local greats David Hockney, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. However, when it came to drawing and painting my influences were not the modernists but the classical masters, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and I sought out a classical art training at a local college. I didn't reserve all my artistic abilities for painting and drawing, I have taken my artistic eye to many crafts.
Northern England, where I was growing up, had a heavy fiber industry which stimulated me into the crafts of knitting, crochet, spinning and weaving. I did inherit the sewing skills of a great aunt and a love of jewelry from my paternal grandmother which are probably contributing factors to my being a bead artist today.
Though I had used beads to make jewelry for myself for years it wasn't until I started creating knitwear that I discovered seed beads. At that point I knitted them into garments and used them for embroidered embellishments. It was while designing knitwear that someone brought me a couple of antique Victorian beaded lace collars to repair and I began to really learn about beading.
Almost five years ago I found myself needing to create a new career for myself and after a few false starts I began making and teaching jewelry making beginning with the basics and chain maille which I had taught myself a few years previously. I entered and won the glass category in Bead Star contest by Step By Step Beadwork magezine with my wirework take on the beadwoven stitch "Daisy Chain". As I looked online to learn more I discovered bead weaving, greedily learned every stitch I could find in about two weeks and started designing my own projects.
I love the versatility of bead weaving, the variety of stitches and I truly believe you can do anything with seed beads and thread. I don't have a favorite stitch, I love all the stitches and I work hard to create new ones. As a designer with a background in Graphic Design and Illustration I prefer to design and create tutorials and take joy and pride in the fact that people make my designs around the world. I love the fact I may be helping people create an independent income by selling commercial tutorials.
When I design I am always thinking about teaching something new, a new approach to a stitch, a new stitch or technique. I think of my tutorials not only as a way to create the actual design but to teach the purchaser something they might incorporate into something else.
My inspiration comes from things I see around me, it can be as simple as corrugated cardboard from a box, which was the inspiration for my Corrugated Peyote Stitch and Industrial Chic series. A trip to the hardware store can set my muse into a design frenzy and my color inspirations come from anything from rusty metal to a flower bed to rotting fruit. I'm a big believer that inspiration is everywhere if you just have your eyes and mind open.
Some designs come together quickly, some take a lot of tweaking and reworking... The crochet lace designs I've translated into beads are the things that have taken the most time and from the idea to the finished tutorial there's a full month of work. I bead quickly and if I was just beading and selling finished product I could quickly stock my store but I find repeating things boring and my muse always has a long list of things she wants me to create. I'll never be caught up... even if I never have another idea for the rest of my life.
I'm inspired by so many bead artists who set the bar high and encourage me to stretch myself... there are really too many to mention but a couple are Heather Collin and Kate McKinnon, and I am in awe of the Russian artists. I am particularly inspired by the bead sculpture of Betsy Youngquist and have plans to create my own beaded sculptures and dolls in the future.
I'm the founder of the Dixie Bead Society, my beadwork designs were published in Bead Star, Beadwork and Perlen Poesie magazines. My dream and goal is to create beauty, inspire others to create beauty and to keep the crafts alive.
|Mikki Ferrugiaro, St. George, Utah, USA|