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Lys makes every piece in her home studio in Austin, TX.

Made with intention.

Made with love.


How I became a Beadwork Artist

How I became a Beadwork Artist

How I became a Beadwork Artist

My journey to making beaded art and jewelry

 

As a beadwork artist, one of the most common questions that I get asked is how I got into using beads.   My story is a mix of luck, hard work and a lot of experimenting.

I was living in Toronto, Canada when I was first introduced to the art of bead embroidery.  I lived across the street from the city's First Nations community center.  At the time, I was working at a very serious office job with little creative outlets.  I was searching for something to keep me busy and fuel my creative energy.  One day, I decided to check out the center's gift shop and I ended up striking up a conversation with the front desk person.  I was soon invited to join the center's beadwork circle.  It was such a memorable experience, with people from all different backgrounds, ages and genders joining together to create.  It felt like family.

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The very first beaded piece that I ever worked on.

Created in 2012 by Lys Santamaria

After learning how to use seed beads, I didn't stick to it right away.  I tried all kinds of other things to see if I liked them better - metals, glass, leather, knitting, sewing, crochet, etc.  I even became a professional metalsmith and managed a local jewelry studio for a few years. 

Even though I love all of these other ways of creating, I found that beads resonated with my lifestyle.  Beads travel very well, they don't require a lot of excess materials, tools or chemicals, they aren't bulky and are easy to clean up.  And they are so deliciously colorful!  Beads were especially useful when I was trekking all over Asia and Central America and needed to keep creating.  Simply put, I kept coming back to beads out of love but also out of convenience.

My journey to becoming a beadwork artist was very gradual - it took me about 5 years of working with beads and trying everything else to finally realize that this was my medium.  It is my daily reminder that some of the most significant things in life develop slowly and without a grand entrance - a chance opportunity can grow into your life's work.  So stay open to little changes and try new things - you never know what might happen!

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The creative process behind my beadwork C O L O R series

The creative process behind my beadwork C O L O R series

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