Finding My Artist Voice as a Beadwork Artist
How Traveling Led Me to Becoming a Beadwork Artist
It has taken me years to develop a style that I am happy with – and this is still a constant process for me. I am always evolving. Using beads as my main art medium wasn’t really a conscious choice – it just fit into my lifestyle. Let me explain…
In 2012, I quit my job. I hopped on a train that took me across Canada – from Toronto to Vancouver. From there, I got on a plane and traveled through Asia for a year – by myself. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done – but it was amazing and I knew in my heart, it was what I really wanted and needed.
Before I left home, I packed my backpack extremely carefully. Every item had to be carefully considered, as I would be carrying all of my belongings on my back. My only luxury items needed to be things to help keep me creative. I decided to back some beads, thread and a tiny pair of safety scissors (which were later taken away from me in Malaysia – rude!).
The beauty of seed beads is in their size – they are often smaller than a grain of rice. I considered taking some yard or knitting needles but they were bulky and big. Maybe watercolor – but the paper is delicate and I knew I would probably get caught in a storm at some point – I was right! Beads were the best choice – it was practical and convenient. Bonus: I was only making earrings at time and I could wear my work or give it away if I wanted to. I was too shy to sell my work at the time.
Over the years, I tried so many different methods of creating: leather work, ceramics, paint, lampwork, metalsmithing, sewing, knitting, crochet, origami, etc. I loved all of them but my traveling lifestyle always led me away from these because they required so many tools and physical space. Beads became the consistent choice in my life and travels.
Really, my travels provided me with a lesson in creative restriction. When you only have one choice – you make that resource work for you however you can. Restriction helped to expand my work exponentially – into one-of-a-kind jewelry, portraiture, sculpture and abstract art.