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Bead artist Beverly Choy

I'm Beverly Choy from Richmond, Texas. Well, I started beading back in 2001, about a year after I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My mom had a container of beads for embellishing her sewing and I looked at them and asked if I could borrow the container for a few days. Idea's were clicking for the first time. I had a tattoo of a koi fish in mind and knew nothing about bead embroidery or beading, but I knew I wanted to bead one. Four days later, my fish was done and I was absolutely hooked on beading.

I spent the next year learning everything I could online, then started finding magazines and books at the local bead shops. Talk about being in heaven! I progressed into making beaded collars, teaching myself different techniques, finding out what worked for me and what didn't, but bead embroidery remained my favorite for years.

Bead artwork by Beverly Choy
click to see gallery

I now have two favorite techniques, bead embroidery and freeform. I think I moved towards freeform because my thoughts aren't always organized enough to stick with bead embroidery all the time. It was a struggle to do freeform, at first. It's not easy to give up the structure and symmetry, but the longer I practiced freeform, the more I began to love it and the more it helped me get through the days where I couldn't focus on any one technique.

When I need inspiration for a piece, I love looking at ladies blouses and outfits. There are also the fabrics at the stores that inspire me. Some of the colors that are put together can be outlandish, but when transferred to beads, they are absolutely stunning. Looking at the beadwork of other beaders is also a great way to get inspiration. A lot of times, seeing someone mixing certain techniques together will give me idea's for a piece of my own.

Bead artwork by Beverly Choy
click to see gallery

Sherry Serafini's "Mermaids Attire" brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it. It was just such an explosion of techniques and texture, toned down with the completeness of turquoise being the overall color, that I was just overwhelmed with ideas. Laura McCabes' work is so intricate and structured. Heidi Kummli's use of earthy colors and her vision of nature are just exquisite.

The bead embroidery techniques of Robin Atkins grabbed me when I first found her and I still go back and have to check her books out for inspiration. There are so many beaders that visit Beki Haley's forum "All About Beads" and post their works, that it'd be impossible to list them all here. Everyone shares their finished work and is so helpful to those who are just learning, that it's a treat to log in every day.

Bead artwork by Beverly Choy
click to see gallery

Over the years, I've collected a rather large stash of beads so that when inspiration strikes, I don't have to go out and buy more. When I've found that focal or pearls that I have just *got* to use, colors start clicking in my head. The colors swirl around in there until I start going through my stash for all the colors and piling them together. Then I get to choose between bead embroidery or freeform. Lately, because the doctor and I have been trying to find a good combination of medications, I go through a lot of highs and lows and they will usually dictate to me what's going to happen.

If I'm hipomanic (hyper, but controllable) I usually prefer to use bead embroidery. If I'm manic (hyper and usually have colors spinning in my head uncontrollably), then freeform is what I use. It's easier for me when I'm having those kinds of days. When I'm low, suffering from depression, I tend to fall back on making necklaces with herringbone, peyote, or RAW. I just don't have the motivation or energy that is needed for bead embroidery or freeform.

Bead artwork by Beverly Choy
click to see gallery

I can say, quite literally, that beading has saved my life. It is the only thing on this planet that demands patience and focus from me and actually gets it. The more stress I feel, the more I bead and the more prolific I usually become. They pulled me out of my drugged haze of medication and demanded that I be in the here and now.

I mean, you can't bead if you're sleeping all the time. It has become something that I am quite happy to talk about and share with others who suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. It has made me far more outgoing than I was before, because I get to share what I make and talk to strangers who has their eye caught by the flashing sparkle that I may have on my wrist or neck.

My gallery on

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Beverly Choy, Richmond, Texas, USA
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