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From Gladys Seaward
I'm Gladys Seaward and live in Virginia, USA; Wendy Seaward is my daughter living in North Carolina. We are not in a family business although both Wendy and I have chosen to do sculptural freeform beadwork. Wendy introduced me to bead weaving one evening when her daughter was two (now she is turning 20). Wendy began to work with beads several years before I did and she gave me the idea of making beaded jewelry.
If you wanted to trace back the origins of our interest in artistic works, you would have to go back to Wendy's grandmother and my mother, Mona Jordan. She was a very successful abstract artist who began with classes at the Corcoran Museum of Art. Throughout her years of traveling as an army wife, Mona Jordan continued to paint wherever she happened to be. She became an accomplished portraitist during the few years we lived in Japan, painting, mostly in pastels, many of the Japanese people when we lived in Tokyo.
A number of these portraits were of the 5 servants who lived in our house. When her army traveling days ended she spent many years (1957-1990) in Florida focusing on abstract, intuitive paintings and portraits. She had done many notable portraits, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and his wife, Grace. The official Kennedy White House photographer, Cecil Staunton, also modeled for his portrait.
Another artist in our family was my mother's cousin, Katherine Hobbs, who had a studio in Georgetown for number years where she produced many beautiful animal sculptures. She spent many hours at the Rock Creek Park Zoo studying and sketching the animals she would bring to life in her sculptures. She sold her works to many prominent Washingtonians of the 40s and 50s, to include Drew Pearson, a well-known journalist of his time.
One of the most important lessons, which my mother applied to her paintings and I learned from her, is to frequently stop and study the progress of the design element as the construction of the piece progresses before continuing. It is also helpful while beading and stopping to stretch and move around from time to time. Frequent short breaks help to prevent stiff and tight joints and muscles, etc.
The flow of freeform work continuously changes directions so that it is hard to recognize the finished piece from its beginnings. I have discovered that if I don't like the looks of the way the piece is progressing, I can easily start off in a different design direction, or even switch from constructing earrings to the construction of a quite complex necklace. I hardly ever begin with a design in mind.
My usual starting point is to select a combination of beads in different colors, sizes, and shapes that I think might be interesting to work with. From there, the beads dictate the rest. I also enjoy working with sea glass, polished rocks, semiprecious gemstones, chips, freshwater pearls and anything else that can be incorporated from nature. Many lend themselves to be turned into cabochons.
When I first began bead weaving I preferred to work with monochromatic color combinations, using different shades and tones of the same color and I still enjoy working with them because I like the serenity the single color imparts. However, I have also learned to enjoy using various combinations of other colors, which produce a more lively result.
From Wendy Seaward
Using off-loom bead weaving techniques I compose intricate sculptural works out of glass seed beads and natural materials such as semiprecious stones, pearls, fossils, and found objects. While living in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I was inspired by the dynamic beadwork of the Ndbele, Swazi, Zulu, Xhosa and Basotho cultures.
With a degree in horticulture and a passionate interest in sustainable agriculture and the environment, natural forms are lovingly imbued in my work, evident especially in my freeform pieces, which may feature spirals, curls, droplets, openings and other forms found in nature.
My edges are uneven, I am not perfect. I embrace the charm of imperfection. In many cultures throughout the world it is considered a sign of humility to leave one element of a work imprecise. Absolute perfection is considered the realm of the creator. In weaving, a straight, even edge is often the focus. I enjoy playing with the accidental.
Some of my pieces revolve around accidents. As a child I watched my grandmother demonstrate intuitive painting to her students. She would close her eyes and scribble all over the canvas and then spend the next several hours coaxing forms and images out of the tangle. Using sculptural techniques of bead weaving, I create freeform shapes and textures out of tangles of beads and threads. I also have received national acclaim for my elaborate beaded masks, which are exotic in appearance, therapeutic gestures of self reflection.
|Gladys Seaward, Virginia and Wendy Seaward, North Carolina, USA|
|Gladys' email address:||email@example.com|
|Wendy's email address:||firstname.lastname@example.org|