Learn To Bead

At Land of Odds / Be Dazzled Beads – Beads, Jewelry Findings, and More

Posts Tagged ‘bead artistry’

Proving “Beads” Can Be Made Of Anything

Posted by learntobead on June 26, 2009

Jennifer Maestre Sculpture
www.jennifermaestre.com

This bead artist cuts off the tips of colored pencils, top drills a hole through them, and bead-weaves them together in these awesome sculptures.

maestre1

From the Artist’s statement:

My sculptures were originally inspired by the form and function of the sea urchin. The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the possible consequences. The tension unveiled, we feel push and pull, desire and repulsion.

The sections of pencils present aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and aesthetic experiences. Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials. Quantities of industrially manufactured objects are used to create flexible forms reminiscent of the organic shapes of animals and nature. Pencils are common objects, here, these anonymous objects become the structure.

maestre2 

There is true a fragility to the sometimes brutal aspect of the sculptures, vulnerability that is belied by the fearsome texture.

To make the pencil sculptures, I take hundreds of pencils, cut them into 1-inch sections, drill a hole in each section (to turn them into beads), sharpen them all and sew them together. The beading technique I rely on most is peyote stitch.

maestre3

I’m inspired by animals, plants, other art, Ernst Haeckel, Odilon Redon, mythology. In fact, it isn’t easy to specify particular sources of inspiration. Sometimes one sculpture will inspire the next, or maybe I’ll make a mistake, and that will send me off in a new direction.

I started off in the direction of prickly things when I was in my last year at Mass College of Art. It all comes from one idea I had for a box with a secret compartment that would contain a pearl. The box would be shaped like a sea urchin, made of silver. In order to open the box and reveal the secret compartment, you’d have to pull on one of the urchin’s spines. The idea was of something beautiful, sculptural, but that you wouldn’t necessarily want to touch, and that also held a secret treasure. I never developed the small-metals skills to ever make the box, but it got me thinking about that kind of form. I started experimenting with different materials to make urchin forms. I found that nails, pushed through window screen, worked well, and I could use many different types and textures and colors of nails.

maestre4

After graduation, I didn’t have the facilities to do glass, so I kept playing with the nails and screen (very low tech), and gradually started working larger, adding zippers and other elements. Continuing with the container theme, I started making the tack-coated eggs to place inside the nail baskets.

The eggs were so beautiful on their own, as well, that I decided to open some of them up, putting little windows in, for example.

While I was doing that work, I was also dabbling in bead work. I taught myself several beading techniques, especially peyote stitch, which is great for creating sculptural work.

I was constrained a bit with the nails, because I couldn’t get all the turns and twists I wanted. I loved the textures and the contrast between the industrial qualities of the nails and the organic forms of the sculptures, but I wanted more complex forms. I was also thinking about how bad the liquid rubber probably was for my health.

So, I experimented with other pointy things and techniques, and finally hit on turning pencils into beads and sewing them together. Using this combination of technique and materials allows me to retain all the qualities that I want in my work, with the potential for more variety of form.

Advertisements

Posted in beadwork | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Joyce Scott – Is There A Place For Controversy?

Posted by learntobead on May 21, 2009

Joyce Scott
Bead Artist, Multi-Media Artist, Social Commentator

scottheadshot

I consider Joyce Scott to be one of the founders of today’s modern beadwork movement.    Her work is intricate and layered, both technically and socially/politically.

Peeping Necklace

Peeping Necklace

A couple years ago, her less provocative bead works were to be on display at our local Frist Center Gallery in Nashville.    The curator of this traveling exhibit switched out her pieces with more provocative ones.  Ones dealing with inter-racial relationships, sexuality, rape and the like.   The Frist pulled the exhibit.

Race Gender Politics Mixed Media

Race Gender Politics Mixed Media

I wrote them to ask why they would take away a prime opportunity for local beaders to experience this master — Joyce Scott?   

Day After Rape

Day After Rape

They phoned a few days later.  In our phone conversation, they explained that this kind of charged material takes months to market to the community, set their expectations, calm knee-jerk emotions.    Otherwise, the likely headlines and the included images in various publications around town, could be too inflamatory.   They explained that Nashville wasn’t ready for this kind of exhibit yet.

Painful Death

Painful Death

We were left to view her pieces as images online or in magazines, or to travel to New York or California or Maryland, where Joyce works and lives, to see her pieces in person.

And the action of the Frist Center sent a chilling message to artists that they tread lightly on difficult themes, and that they avoid finding powerful voices within their media, lest they be without a display showcase and livelihood.

Posted in Art or Craft? | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »