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Bead artist Maiko Kage Felton

I am Maiko Kage Felton, a bead jewelry designer and instructor. When I was in the United States in 2001, I happened upon some beautiful bead magazines. Impressed by the beauty of the pieces profiled in the magazines I found beadwork very inspirational and I set out to master various beading techniques, and soon embarked on my journey as a jewelry designer. Now I live in Irvine, California.

My jewelry pieces tend to explore the interplay between symmetry and nature. I prefer to let my creativity flow freely; this allows the piece to seemingly define itself during its creation. I love sharing my jewelry interpretations of nature and life. Inspiring and exchanging ideas with others has always been one of my main objectives as a bead artist/designer. So many people, including family, friends, fellow artists and students have given me so much throughout the years, and I would like to respond in kind.

Bead artwork by Maiko Kage Felton
click to see gallery

Beadwork is a very personal endeavor. It can also be a very solitary experience with very few opportunities for feedback, and punctuated with times of doubt and frustration. Sure, displaying one's work in a public forum can be frightening. But the sharing of one's work and ideas is necessary to give life and energy to that work.

I've published two beading books in Japan and conducted bead workshops in Japan and the United States, my tutorials appear in Bead & Button Magazine. I like participating in bead contests and have been a finalist in the Bead Dreams contests in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. My beadworks have also won in the Bead Arts Award in 2005 and 2006.

Bead artwork by Maiko Kage Felton
click to see gallery

Interview with Maiko Kage Felton

1. Maiko, how do you start your beadwork pieces?

I start my work by thinking about the shape and colors of natural objects. Then I decide what kind of beads to use.

2. Traditional question: what inspires you?

I am inspired by the beauty and energy of nature. Inspiration and creativity usually comes when I'm relaxed, especially when I'm in my bed ready to go to sleep. For this reason I always put some paper and a pencil on the night stand.

3. How long do you create your items?

Bead artwork by Maiko Kage Felton
click to see gallery

That depends on how big a future work is. I can create a small piece within a few hours. A large piece, say for a contest or exhibition, might take from 10 days to a month.

4. What are your favorite techniques, colors, styles, and designs?

My favorite colors are gold, orange, blue, black and red. I like making jewelry using a variety of techniques. It is very funny! I like jewelry with symmetry and geometric shapes. I tend to mix in natural themes and symbols (for example, leaves and flower). I often consider the cut and style of a wearer's clothes when creating my designs.

5. Who are your favorite artists and your artwork friends?

All artists (bead designers, painters, musicians, etc.) are wonderful because they each have a unique artistic expression. I don't have a favorite artist, but I do like the work of the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt.

Bead artwork by Maiko Kage Felton
click to see gallery

6. How would you describe your beadworks?

As I mentioned earlier I like symmetry and geometric shapes. Almost all of my works include these motifs, which are generally connected together. Some of my pieces are just exploring different artistic avenues and may be too big for a person to practically wear.

7. Can you tell us please about your experience being a juror of the Fashion Colorworks?

I have been a juror for Fashion Colorworks twice. It has been a great experience and an honor. Many of the participants' pieces are very inspirational and beautiful.

My gallery on

About author:

Maiko Kage Felton, Irvine, California, USA
Website (galleries)
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