Snippets from a bead artist.


What has it done for YOU??

I should be beading. Yup. But I have been feeling terribly contemplative as of late, and thought I would share some of my pondering. In fact, I feel like I HAVE to share some of it!

So, what have I been thinking about? Beads, of course. But also a lot of self analytics, apparently - although I had no idea I was doing that. I learned some stuff. It's kind of cool stuff. Wanna know?

Beads have made it possible for me to be more outgoing! I feel like I can share my feelings and even some of my thoughts through my beadwork. I have found out that I work with fairly specific color combinations depending on my mood. I have always hidden anything emotional (unless it's good) from habit - but I have been sharing through my pieces for years things that I haven't been able to vocalize.

Beads have let me break out of my hermitage, even if it is mostly vicarious. I can't make friends IRL - it's amazing if I am able to smile and grunt monosyllables if I actually meet someone face to face. But through beading and the internet I have made friends with people from ALL OVER!!! And I can talk (type), and mostly don't grunt. All good! I have even been able to relate to someone closer than that - I can talk on the PHONE with some of my new friends!! To me, this is a huge step, and has taken place gradually over the last two or three years. And beading did that for me!!!! I have met the most amazing, talented, gifted, smart, funny and fabulous people through it. I have even been able to take part in a group setting for the first time since 9th grade, something I could NOT have done three or four years ago. I would have had to leave the room - usually in tears. I actually sat down and beaded as part of a group - with other bearers - for two whole hours (Twice!!!!!!) and only needed two breaks.

Beads have shown me that a lot of my limitations were set by myself FOR myself. I can commit to something and follow through! (I have such commitment issues you wouldn't believe it; I have trouble even committing to a dr.'s appointment, don't even ask me about relationships, I am floored that I have been able to commit to my husband.) I can stretch out creatively. I can make decisions. I can even find my own style and voice - something I could never never do with my creative writing (short stories and even one novel length piece). I have a voice?? Honest??This amazes me. This is so new to me. I think I am starting to figure out who "Nancy" is. Because of beads!!!!

I made my first successful attempt at freeform bead weaving (have I mentioned that about a billion times in different arenas? oh well!) and found out that I have to have borders still - I can't make something without some kind of surround. Which is also very true of me, personally. I have been struggling and struggling with all sorts of things, religion, weight, perspectives, etc etc - and I am trying VERY hard to break free of limitations and restrictions that I have put on myself, or feel that society has put on me*. (*Which feels a little like a cop out...) However, I found that I was comfortable with small breaks in the surround on the there's hope for the rest of it, right?! Right!! Hope makes me smile.

Beads have saved my sanity and helped me overcome some of my anxiety and a LOT of my depression. The lovely rhythm of weaving or embroidering soothes my soul.

They allowed me to have a (small) bit of ego. I have become comfortable (in the last six months) with calling myself an artist.

They have allowed me to be lots of things I like; curious ("how did you do that? How do you stitch that together?"), generous (I give away beads sometimes and have given beadwork gifts a LOT), sharing ("I did it by doing this."), even (my God) mentoring someone else, knowledgeable ("HOW many books have you read??? No!"), focused (I can sit at the bead table for hours and hours - with breaks, of course, to stretch), and (see above) enlightened.

I can't remember what I did before beading. Whatever it was, it wasn't enough.

I think that a lot of what I am talking about applies to any artisan in any fine craft. Beading, leather working, metal working, lamp working, crocheting and knitting, sculpting - you name it. I would LOVE to hear about how others have been enlightened or changed by their craft. There are two beady ladies in particular that I am asking to respond to this - either on here, on Facebook, or in their own blogs - Linda Jones (yes, THAT Linda Jones, the incredibly artistic creative fabulous gorgeous woman!) and Julie Harper - who creates so MANY amazing and awe-inspiring pieces in so MANY media!!! Ladies, I would dearly love to hear about your experiences.

In fact, I would love to hear from everyone!! If you have a blog, and you decide to blog about this, let me know!! I will be there in a flash! I will post your blog address! I will kiss your feet! Well, no, probably not. But I will have a great big toothy grin.

PS - the photo at the top is called Woodland Floor, and is a piece of freeform right angle weave, covering a humble rock from a nearby stream.


  1. Wonderful Nancy! You are an Amazing Artist, a Brave Woman and such a Generous and Loving Soul! *HUGS, LOVE, LIGHT* Mx

  2. What a wonderful post, Nancy! I'll have to think about answering that question on my blog. Thank you!

  3. nancy, this is such a wonderful post...Honest, brave, and I believe many many people can relate to it. Beading is an amazing thing...I've always thought of it as meditative and prayerlike and who's to say it's not? I know someone in the beading community..a well known artist and very talented who was saved from drug addiction just by there any wonder why we as beaders come together and share? We are all kindred souls..:o) Have a great week!

  4. What a wonderful thing to share! I love your post and hope you never have any hesitation about calling yourself an artist. Your work is STUNNING!

  5. Thank you, ladies!!! So much! I hope to hear more of your own experiences, and I really appreciate your support.

  6. Nancy -- I seem to be where you were a while back. Newly diagnosed with Parkinson's, I've become dedicated to holding my stitching needle for as long as my fingers will cooperate. It's slow going, but every piece is a victory! I love reading your blog & Facebook entries, and admire your lovely work!

  7. Kay Sea, thank you so much! I love yours as well, and I am so sorry to hear of your diagnoses. Every one of your pieces is a victory in MANY ways!!! Take care of you!!!

  8. I love this! What a way you have with words Miz Nancy, the Artiste! :)
    I will step up to the challenge, and create a blog post just for you! Perhaps this is what I need to thaw out the dendrites????

    "I can't remember what I did before beading. Whatever it was, it wasn't enough."
    This reminds me of how I once told a friend how I couldn't remember how I danced BEFORE I started Belly Dancing!!!! :-D

  9. Catskill Mountain MuseAugust 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    How your words touch my heart... and I'm sure, each one of us who has the privilege to know... I'm sure that we all can relate to this on some level... You are an amazing artist, and a woman with grace and heart... I thank you for your friendship...

  10. Wonderful post, Nancy, and great insights into yourself and the beady world. I bead for all of the above reasons too, and more. And have also discovered many of the same things. Bravo for sharing! and, when I catch up with all the chores "patiently" (ha) waiting for me, I'll share your insights and some of my own on my blog.
    Kathy B

  11. Nancy, thank you for sharing these most intimate and insightful thoughts. It is not by accident your artwork depicts depth and honesty!

  12. It is incredibly brave of you Nancy to bare your soul for all to see in this way. I am in awe of your ability to do this. I can relate to most all you have said (and put so eloquently) and you should stand tall and proud for doing it! Beading has done all of these things for me as well. I am still a bit of a hermit but having Facebook with all the beady friends as well as blogs, etsy team etc. makes it easier to crawl out of the cave and join the rest of the world. Congratulations to you on your revelations!

  13. I am very impressed with your superb rendition of your innermost emotions regarding beading. I personally identify with ALL that you relate with such eloquence. Thank you for sharing YOURSELF with us all.

  14. Wow!! Thank you so much, everyone!! I am so glad to have gotten to know all of you.

  15. Ahh, Ned. I had no idea HOW far you'd come. And it isn't just the medium, but it's that you found and followed your gift - and that was more important than all the stumbling blocks of self and shyness. Take a victory lap, honey. You earned one. And by the way, you write well too!

  16. Wow Nancy, what an incredibly honest and soulful post...thank you so much for sharing all of these intimate emotions with us. Your journey is an inspiration!

  17. Hi Nancy. I admire your work so much and rarely comment on FB. It doesn't surprise me that a lot of artist are discussing this subject. Many are beaders but others have found their voice in other media as well. IMHO, the internet has very much to do with it. You can speak to the screen and say things that are difficult to say out loud to a person. Emotions can flow more freely in the written word.

    I found my voice in beading. No, I am not a pro, just a person that found it easy to express my inner thoughts while participating in Robin Atkins Bead Journal Project.

    I have blogged about this very subject several times in the past, and probably will again. I suffer from depression and thank the stars for the medication that has helped me cope with it and deal with my insecurities.

  18. Thank you so much!! Carol, I am so touched by your words. I am following your blog now, as well, and am so happy that you felt you could reach out to me!

    Belinda and Linda - you guys are the mostest awesomest friends!!

  19. Wow! Nancy, you not only could create amazing beading jewelries, putting your heart and soul towards IT, transferring them into this blog for sharing BUT most of all you write so eloquently.

    I discovered you from FB. I do beading on garments but am such a poor beader... I won't finish any without unpicking several times... ..(

    This is my wonderful Saturday.. discovering you!

  20. Thankyou for being brave and putting this out there, Nancy. It's clear that your experiences resonate with so many of the rest of us. I don't blog much but, if I feel moved to do so, I'll post something and let you know.

    And we never see ourselves as others do. I'll bet you're thinking,"AW, shucks, if they REALLY knew me!" to every nice comment people have made to you but to me you're warm, wise, funny, a brilliant networker and a wonderful inpsiration.

    We Quakers talk about getting to know one another "in the things that are eternal" - at a level beyond the superficial, everyday, chitchat stuff which a lot of people struggle with. And that's what the beauty of your beading says to me: It's a little bit of the deeper you reaching out to connect with the deeper parts of the rest of us.

  21. It's amazing how I've come to 'bracket' everyone according to their beadwork prowess! I always describe you as 'Nancy, yes, much better than me' Dale! It's easy to overlook the reasons a lot of us actually started this in the first place - the average seedbeader is usually disabled and has at least two cats, how's that for stereotyping? Blog (and your work) is stunning Nancy! x

  22. A moving and inspiring blog, Nancy. I thank you for sharing such intimacy and honesty.
    For me, your pieces are so intense and so open .. and the reason is clear .. there is so much of you in each one. It's like love .. giving and sharing doesn't take anything away from you, it doesn't diminish you but rather serves to enrich and you realise that you have the capacity for more.
    Thank you for enriching my life.

  23. Wonderful post Nancy and so on the mark. I retired when my daughter was born and the one thing that I missed about the "working" world was knowing I was really good at my job and was valued for it. Although motherhood has it's own rewards, it's not as concrete. Beading filled that gap while still allowing me to be there for my daughter. I'm still struggling a bit with the "what did you do all day" question, but my beadwork and watching my daughter blossom are answering that question nicely, at least for me.

  24. You are all so amazing! I am so happy that I have connected with each of you, and am humbled and awed by the thought that I may have enriched any of you. I swear, I never ever thought that I would be able to reach out at all, so this experience is mind boggling! Thank you, each one individually.

  25. This post and all of the comments are a wonderful testament to the transformative power of art. It's a beautiful thing when an artist walks on his/her authentic path. Bravo, Nancy! Your work and thoughts are an inspiration.

  26. Hi Nancy, I loved reading your post.
    There are so many parts of this I totally agree with, and can identify with. But what I love, is not that you identify as a beader, or an artist and this is who you are - but the depth of realizing what it has brought to your life, and how it has formed and changed you as a result of being who you are. This is the wonderful part. Some people "just make stuff", in a more factory like feeling. Others, are moved and changed by creating. It is wonderful to know you, and I thank you for sharing - I know this is a big thing too, putting out there your truth, for all to see.
    *hugs*. I will try to write a blog this week like this. It's good inspiration, and I think our "people" like to get to know us, as we share like this. :)

  27. Thank you, Thomasin and Andez, both!! I am so happy to be able to share with so many gifted and thoughtful people. Every person who has commented has really helped me to think through even MORE things!


Thanks so much for leaving me a comment, it means a lot to me! Please don't be upset if I don't have time to respond personally to each comment - but be sure that I read each and every one of them! :)