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I'm Douglas Johnson, I live in Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA. I first came into contact with seed beads in 1970. At first I strung them into necklaces using different patterns of color. I loved the colors and was soon shown how to weave them on a loom.
Being a guitar player at the time, I decided to make a guitar strap out of beads. I built a long loom and started weaving a strip of beads to be sewn onto leather. As I was weaving this long strap, I thought it would be nice to get wilder and make a scene out of beads. Imagine, a house, a barn, or even a village.
Soon, I built a loom that could hold four strips in a row. Each strip was twenty five beads wide, like my guitar strap. I ended up with a piece 100 beads wide! I wove each strip separately, and wove them together when they were done. It was not until 1990 that I figured out how to connect the rows on the loom ending up with a solid piece when taken off the loom.
I started with about a dozen colors available and could not find much more for years. I only made a handful of pieces over the years. Then in 1986 I found an ad in a magazine for the Garden of Beadin in California. They offered hundreds of colors of beads which got me into beading steadily, it was the beginning of my journey.
I built a bigger loom and started making pieces of 40-50 thousand beads. As time went on I found more and more sources of beads, built a larger loom and started making pieces of 100,000 beads. Now I am making pieces of two to three-hundred-thousand beads.
I stayed exclusively with size 11 seed beads. They are the most common and offer the largest selection of colors. I now have close to a thousand shades of beads, offering me endless possibilities to create works of art that span from Fenway Park in Boston to a city skyline of New York!
As I wake each morning, I look forward to going to my bead Bunker, working on my loom to finish what I have started and ponder what my next piece shall be.
|Douglas Johnson, Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA|