Friday, July 1, 2011


The bead photo is of a technique I have done for a long time. I think the primary experience in this came from a class with Dustin Tabor. He’s a generous young man who never holds back. This isn’t status quo with all teachers or mentors. And, IMHO – if you don’t have a teacher who is going to explain to you the “whys” of doing this or that (or at least why they are doing it) the you’ve picked the wrong teacher. I’ve had a few of those too.

When I was doing this set of beads I was thinking about the Gathering – and about how I will miss seeing so many of my favorite people. Then, the thought crossed my mind how we all have kind of “bead heroes” in this business. You know, the persons you aspire to, or admire greatly. Sometimes they are teachers – sometimes they’re just friends and colleagues.

I admire talent – it’s an intangible, you can’t purchase it. You can practice, practice, practice and it will improve a technique. There are tons of talented bead artists. But to me there are only a few who have been heroes for me and here is why.

Larry Brickman – talented artist. When I first started showing “just beads” he came by the Glass Act booth at a Bead and Button and made a huge deal of the beads I was creating. I wasn’t at the booth at the time and he made such an impression on my friends they marched me over to his booth. He called me a “Bead Star”. I was embarrassed and elated beyond words and the girls took a photo of me with him. It encouraged me greatly and he was so kind I never forgot it. I think of it often as I give out compliments to others – how such a small gesture can mean so much to someone else. HERO!

Brad Pearson – I like to think of him as the Super Boy of dot placement and manipulation. What a totally sweet fellah. I’m good at writing in this blog. And, when I have to I can be a social creature (I am when I teach). But, ordinarily I am kind of a solitary person (the only child) who learned how to make art for self-amusement. When I run into him at beadish functions he remembers who I am…..uh, me –shrinking violet here. Tickles me – nice guys should finish first and I love his books, his talent, and his all around attitude. I also hear he’s a great teacher and I can vouch for the presentation at last years Gathering. HERO!

Not that you should think it’s only the guys I think of as heroes. There is Jennifer Geldard and Sylvie Lansdowne who top my list here of artist’s artists. They are both outstanding teachers and both for the same reason. Both of these artists are full of technique – okay, technique is nice to learn. BUT, much better (and more important to me) is they each showed you where to find some inspiration. Where to grasp that platform of an idea so you might run with the technique to the sound of your own drummer. Some teachers are good mimics of a technique - others are good artists!

Now you can argue forever as to which came first the chicken or the egg (technique/ talent) but you can learn all the techniques in the world and if you do not understand how to translate that into possible work of your own then you are actually nothing but a parrot regurgitating what you’ve been taught. And there have been plenty of teachers who have said (insert concern of being copied here), “Now remember – you have to take this technique and learn to apply it to YOUR OWN WORK.” Okay, but - - - how do you do that? Were does the idea hatch from? HELP. This is the part where you can cut the wheat from the chaff. And these two teachers are the wheatiest I've had the pleasure of.

Sylvie and Jennifer have taken the time (and most certainly have the talent) to understand where to catch that cue of inspiration. Ask either and I am sure they can and will be able to point you in a positive direction with definitive answers. It is what I remember most from their classes. Heroines both!

Now, this isn’t to say that other teachers or colleagues I have had aren’t wonderful – Let’s take Jeri Warhaftig for example. Holy Crap – what this woman knows about the craft could make several books – all pun intended since she has two already. And talk about open to discussion on techniques mixed with talent - - Jeri knows them, has them, shares them, and can point you in the right direction. If it weren’t for her and Neil (Dr. Fab and terrific DH to Jeri) I’d be richer but not having nearly as much fun. Who’d of thunk a quiet lady would love the feel of a sand blasting nozzle in her hand and own her own “blastomatic” – not to mention a lap grinder – and puffy mandrels – and on and on. My husband just howls where he hears me say things like, “Uh – honey – where do you think I might be able to find a __________.” The look he gets – priceless!!! And it’s Jeri I have to thank for opening doors I would never have considered.

Trust me – it’s not like anyone asked to be on this list of personal heroes because it’s not subjective in any way shape or form. I’m not taking a poll and it’s not up to a vote. I was just making a bead with dots and pulls. It reminded me of Larry and Brad (I’ve taken classes from neither) and then Sylvie, Jennifer, and Jeri. They are Hero’s and Heroines to me.

So who cranks your invisible chain when it comes to your craft? Who are your Heroes?


angelinabeadalina said...

Wonderful tribute to your bead heroes, Sharon!

Sharon Driscoll said...

Thanks Ang!