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Bead artist Sue Horine
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My name is Sue Horine and I was born and raised in Pasadena, California. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Dietetics I lived in several western states including almost 20 years in a ski resort village, teaching cross- country skiing and operating my own gift shop. I currently live on 10 acres in Mountain Ranch, California with my soul mate, 2 dogs, a cat, chickens and an 80 year old desert tortoise. We also have a home near Sedona, Arizona where we hope to retire one day.

As a child I loved creating things with my hands and especially enjoyed drawing. I know I drove my parents crazy with all my art and craft projects but looking back on it I realize they were very patient and encouraging. My mother taught my sister and me to sew at a very young age and we made all of our own clothes through high school and college. Because I could spend hours at a time drawing and our family didn't have much money, my mother would go to the local newspaper and get the ends of the rolls of newsprint so I would have an endless supply of drawing paper.

Bead artwork by Sue Horine
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The other thing I loved as a child was the outdoors. My dad took us on hikes or picnics in the mountains almost every weekend. Our family vacations involved exploratory sojourns to the deserts of the southwest in the winter and summer camping trips in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Nature has always been a theme in almost all of my artistic endeavors.

A friend who was involved in mountain men rendezvous' in New Mexico first introduced me to beading about 30 years ago. She taught me how to make Native American style earrings but the beading bug didn't really bite me at that time. I continued with my artwork and enjoyed pencil drawing, pen and ink, some watercolor and needlecraft. It wasn't until 2005, when I inherited my grandparent's stone cabochons, that my interest was drawn back to beading. In the 1960s my grandparents were avid rock hounds. My grandfather cut and polished the stones and my grandmother created beautiful silver settings.

Bead artwork by Sue Horine
click to see gallery

I have always admired the old Native American flat beadwork on garments and accessories so the desire to do bead embroidery was always there. I taught myself to bead around the cabochons and eventually began embroidering with the beads to make larger pendants and neckpieces.

My inspiration comes from the scenes I see in the stones and from nature. I look for stones which remind me of a place I have been or a feeling I have experienced. Often times I name the piece before I ever stitch one bead! My designs create themselves as I bead and I very rarely make a sketch of what my plan is with a piece. My pieces vary in size and detail and can take anywhere from 4 to over 100 hours to complete. I usually change my style from piece to piece. If I create an elegant or fancy piece then the next one will be earthy. The theme that runs constant, however, is that my inspiration comes from the focal piece.

Bead artwork by Sue Horine
click to see gallery

At times I have been criticized that my work is too "flat" but after trying to do more textural designs I decided "flat" is my style. It is very rewarding to create pieces using really tiny seed beads, the smaller the better. Some of my favorite creations are the ones in which the cabochon has a beautiful scene and I simply extend the colors and pattern of the cab into the bezel. I do enjoy trying new styles but I always come back to my scenic cabs and tiny beads.

Bead embroidery is what I love doing most and find that making a beaded rope or stringing beads to suspend my pendants is my least favorite part of the process. I have never taken any beading classes and admittedly I don't follow instructions well, so my bead weaving skills are very limited. Honestly, I don't really enjoy bead weaving but I am in awe of those who enjoy and excel at it.

Bead artwork by Sue Horine
click to see gallery

This past year I started making embroidered cuff bracelets and earrings using smaller cabochons. It is a fun change. I also have been making more large collars and have enjoyed entering some contests.

There are several bead artists whose work I admire and appreciate. They each have a different style. I am impressed with Heidi Kummli's flatwork and the inspiration she also finds in nature. In addition to Heidi my favorite bead artists are Marsha Wiest-Hines with her elegant and flowing detail, Betsy Youngquist with her totally awesome and often bizarre pieces and the traditional Cherokee beadwork of Martha Berry.

My gallery on

About author:

Sue Horine, Mountain Ranch, California, USA

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