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My name is Lynn Davy; I'm a beadweaver and designers based in the UK and have been beading "seriously" (selling my beadwork and kits, publishing projects, entering Contests, etc.) since 2006. I have now seen over 50 projects and articles appear in print in various beading magazines in both the UK and the US: Bead, Beads & Beyond, Bead & Button, Beadwork and the sadly missed Step by Step Beads have all carried my work, and I have more projects in the pipeline.
I started playing with seed beads at the age of about 10 (i.e. mid-1970s) and have never really stopped. My beading career began by accident: my mother had a women's magazine with a free self-assembly plastic bead loom on the front (it was blue) and we spent ages tracking down the seed beads to go with it. They weren't widely available back then and all we could find was four little packs of Czech seeds: white, green, orange, and dark blue (I still have some of them). By the time I'd made my first bracelet I was hooked! Next birthday brought a more sturdy wire loom and a book on Native American beadweaving, I learned daisy chain and netting and started experimenting, and it all just carried on from there...
What fascinates me most of all about seed beading is the way you can build up something really huge from the tiniest beads (I have a full-size chessboard made of size 11 seed beads). I am also amazed by the way in which different colors combine to produce different effects; the challenge of incorporating lots of different materials into a single piece; the endless variations of texture and pattern; how the same project made by different beaders can turn out in so many different ways; the very subtle but important variations in the shapes, proportions, properties of different beads and how these affect the look of the finished piece; how you can combine simple, readily available materials to produce something extraordinary that's never been seen before... I guess everything about it fascinates me really!
I love all the off-loom weaving stitches, especially peyote for its versatility, and right angle weave for its supple texture and potential for joining seamlessly to make interesting constructions. My favorite way of working is just with needle, thread, and container of "bead soup", the more diverse and colorful the better!
Seed beads are still my first choice of material, but these days I also use lots of handmade lampwork art glass, freshwater pearls, copper findings, crystals, turquoise, vintage buttons, found objects... but generally not all in the same piece! I have a dozen or more UFOs on my desk at any one time as I always find starting a piece easier than finishing it. Every "major" thing I make seems to go through a crisis about half way through where I absolutely hate it; 9 times out of 10 if I can force myself to work through this point it turns out fine in the end, though!
When I'm not beading I am usually writing about beading, drawing diagrams of beading, writing instructions for workshops, packing beading kits, photographing beadwork, thinking up new beading designs, submitting beading ideas to magazines, proofreading Bead magazine, entering beading contests, answering emails about beading, packing and shipping beadwork, buying beads, chatting about beading, promoting my beading, listing beadwork for sale, dreaming about beading, tidying up my beading stash, hovering beads out of the carpet... I also have a young son and another freelance job as a copy-editor of scientific textbooks (more tiny details to pore over). And yes, when I go to bed I do often dream about beads too!
In 2007 I had to give up selling at craft fairs for health reasons so I opened an online store on Etsy.com. I have loved this venue and its community spirit, and I'm now a member of two Etsy "Teams", the Etsy BeadWeavers and the FHF team made up of members of the Frit-Happens Forum, who are lampwork beadmakers and jewelry designers mostly based in the UK and Europe. I've made lots of lovely friends in both places and I'm constantly amazed by the wonderful work that other makers are constantly producing!
In 2009 I was fortunate enough to win prizes in four beading competitions, although oddly enough only one of these was a seed bead piece! I entered the Step by Step Beads "Gemstone Challenge" (for stringing and wirework using four different gemstones) mainly because I'd been complaining bitterly that previous contests were only open to US/Canadian residents, but this one was international and so I felt I should put my beadwork where my mouth was!
"Treasures of Atlantis" was one of those happy pieces that just came together perfectly first time, and like much of my work it looks complex but is all made with very simple techniques. I was astonished and delighted to be placed first, and even more delighted when the judges complimented me on my wire wrapped loops, a technique I'd really struggled to master. I also won first prize in the "Crystals" categories in two UK competitions, the British Bead Awards and the jewelry Maker of the Year, with two pieces made by my tried and tested technique of "mix everything up on a tray and see what happens".
(So when the Bead Awards judges asked me how long it took me to draw the charts for the color placement in my piece, I fell about laughing!) "Fading Beauty" uses a vintage chandelier component and is inspired by the colors of faded vintage fabrics; "Volcano Flower" started out as a way to use up some yellow crystals that were a color I absolutely hated! My proudest (and oddest) contest achievement was finally winning the Land of Odds "Ugly Necklace Contest" at my third attempt: this competition is the absolute highlight of my beading year (and yes, I've entered again in 2010) and I was their first "international" winner.
Where do I go from here? Well, I plan to continue publishing projects and designing kits and tutorials, and would like to do more teaching (it's hard work but I just love it). I would really like to bring my work up to the next level now, and be placed in one of the big juried US shows such as Bead Dreams. One of these years I'd love to write a book but that would mean putting everything else on hold and at the moment there are so many other avenues to explore! I've come a long way over the past few years, and traveled in some unexpected directions, so I'm looking forward to what my beady future holds.
|Lynn Margaret Davy, Colehill, Wimborne, Dorset, UK|