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I have always been involved in the arts ever since I can remember. During elementary school in Erie, PA, I loved both art and music class, but I had a strong preference for music. I learned how to play the viola and I was very active in music all through my childhood.
Music was my #1 priority, but I had other interests, as well. I loved coloring and painting. My younger sister and I were always doing something creative. I remember that we made a lot of beaded necklaces and collages, but I think we tried almost every kind of craft at least once. My mother was always telling me I should try drawing, but I never thought I could, so she showed me how to cross-stitch. I remember spending hours outside under a tree working on my needlecraft.
My father also influenced me in a much different way. He loved racing cars and flying airplanes, and was always taking me with him on his journeys. Because of him, I had great big dreams of becoming an astronaut, fighter pilot, or roller coaster engineer. But instead, I decided to study music in Boston.
During college, I began working in the theatre, setting up rock concerts for a living. While I have worked other jobs, this was the only one that has interested me enough to stick with for well over a decade - perhaps it is because this career's infrequent schedule has given me the opportunity to rediscover the arts.
It never occurred to me to pursue a visual art until about 6 years ago. One day, I walked into a bead shop in Boston, and when I saw all of the seed beads, I felt like I finally found what I had been searching for. So, I started reading books and magazines and teaching myself how to make complex jewelry designs in almost every technique. But, when I tried bead embroidery, I knew this was what I loved most.
The idea for my first bead painting came after I embroidered a 6" x 9" panel depicting a flock of flamingos. I needed a way to display the finished piece, so I stitched the beaded panel to a canvas and painted in the extended environment. It was a simple concept, but I really liked the result, so I sent in a photo to Bead & Button Magazine. They published Flamingo Moon in 2005. That publication eventually led to my first commission, which was an experience that helped me find my artistic path, and has driven me to follow it.
I begin each of my bead-paintings with a subject. In the past, my inspirations have been animals and birds, but recently I have been inspired by popular images, such as cars, trucks, and city scenes. Everyone can understand and relate to pop art images in one way or another. What people may not understand is why I recreate these images in beads, but the beads themselves actually contain the answer. Beads are one of the oldest mediums on earth, yet they are a still a rather unexpected medium in the art world - a medium which contains infinite possibilities.
I love bead embroidery because it is like a combination of painting and collage, but I also enjoy freeform peyote. I like to use glass seed beads for much of my work. Seed beads can be similar to paint, because of their many colors, but I also use them because of their textural quality. Once I have created a felt foundation for a new piece, I begin by stitching beads on 3-4 at a time. Then, I add details each day until the piece is complete. Details often include mixed materials, such as: vinyl for windows and tires, zippers for tire treads, silver wire for auto moldings, and computer circuit board for side panels. My larger works can take hundreds of hours to design and create, so much patience, motivation, and determination is needed.
My work habits can be rather sporadic and borderline obsessive. I do most of my beading very late at night, or in the early morning hours. I also work whenever inspiration hits me. I have a small workspace, but my pieces are getting quite large, so it"s just a matter of time before I will require my own studio. I can bead anywhere from 4-8 hours per day, depending on my schedule. Of course, this does not include the time spent designing and constructing the foundations for my pieces.
In addition to beading, I'm also the author of a popular blog where I document the daily progress of my beadwork. I began blogging nearly three years ago just for fun, and it has since proven to be an essential part of my creative process because it helps me envision my pieces. Blogging has also helped me connect with bead lovers from around the world. I try very hard to post something fun and educational nearly every day. I have been known to present music and pop images with my beadwork-in-progress. I encourage my readers to get involved in the development of my pieces by asking for their feedback and responding to their ideas. My goal is to inspire readers to "bead outside the box", but I also hope to encourage them to consider beads a contemporary or fine art medium.
My blog is also where my artist name, The Lone Beader, was born. I even wrote my own definition of the term: Lone Beader (n) 1. one who creates beadwork without the assistance or company of others. 2. one who prefers solitude while creating beadwork. My decision to use only this name came about a year ago. I realized that many people were finding me by searching for this name. Then, I thought about the fact that I do beadwork because I love to do it, not because I want to see my name published or displayed somewhere. The Lone Beader name is my answer to the art industry's competitive nature, but it is also just plain fun!
My work has been selected for national and international juried fine art competitions and exhibitions around the country. My beaded fire truck was exhibited in Bead Dreams 2007 and Bead International 2008. My bead-paintings have been finalists in the Fire Mountain Gems beading contest, as well as this year's Celebrating Beads, the journey of... at the Bead Museum in Washington, DC. My beadwork has been published in Bead & Button Magazine several times, and it has also been published in the Sacramento News & Review earlier this year. And, I have participated in my local art festival the past two years in a row.
I feel that my love affair with beads is just beginning. I have a long list of pop images that I'd like to create. I have ideas for possible bead embroidery kits to design and sell. I would love to create beaded images for a children's book, but I'd also like to write my own book someday. And, in between all of that, I plan to travel the world in search of beads.
|The Lone Beader, Massachusetts, USA|