Monday, November 1, 2010

Interview with the artist - Cindy from Bead Origami

By N Valentine Studio

Featured artist - Cindy Holsclaw from Bead Origami, San Francisco, CA

Cindy's intricate work often makes me wonder how people can create such unique pieces out of such tiny beads! Her seed beaded beads just blow my mind! I can't even imagine the hours that go into these, and I'd need a magnifying glass just to find the seed beads! My favorite piece of her are the Sea Green Beaded Earrings.

I'm a huge fan of sea green or turquoise green and these astonish me that they are one, so small. Two, a perfect match! Read Cindy's interview below to find out a bit more about this week's featured artist.

How long have you been working in your medium?
I've dabbled in beading since I was a child, but I became seriously involved in beadweaving about four years ago. Since then it has been and continues to be my primary craft.

What drew you to this medium?
Now that I look back on it, I was doing a lot of cross stitch at the time and I had the idea of translating cross stitch patterns into beadwork, using either a loom or off-loom techniques. After a little bit of research into the beadweaving world, it wasn't long until I discovered that the geometric origami forums that I so loved could also be made with beads. I was immediately hooked.

What is your favorite thing about your art?
I like how so many different kinds of beads can be woven into geometric objects. I generally work with even, regularly-shaped beads including all shapes and sizes of Japanese seed beads, Czech glass, and Swarovski crystals, but I like trying to incorporate stones and freshwater pearls into my pieces as well. I'd say that my pieces are as much engineering projects as they are art projects, because so many technical factors go into creating a stable, sturdy, yet pleasing geometric object. It's like piecing together a puzzle, and when it works, it's very satisfying.

What's your favorite piece?
That's a tough one because it's constantly changing. Certainly my most ambitious project to date was the necklace I created for my wedding a few months ago. I used crystals and tons of freshwater pearls to create a layered necklace with seven beaded bead charms plus matching earrings. I usually don't get the chance to wear very fancy jewelry, so I took the opportunity to go all out.

What's the hardest piece you've ever made?
Well, this project isn't particularly hard for me to create, but the most challenging piece to design was my Circle Starburst beaded bead. I bought a few strands of Czech glass lentil beads and I was stubbornly determined to incorporate them into an original beaded bead design. It took me over a year, a dozen prototypes, and many, many broken needles, but I'm very pleased with how this design turned out. I really like how it also works with Swarovski circle pendant crystals; I've been told that resulting beaded beads require sunglasses for viewing.

What's the one favorite tool you cannot live without?
I received a set of Lindstrom tools as a gift a few years ago, and I'm never going back to cheap tools. I like spending most of my time on beadweaving, so I tend to put off the wireworking portions of projects, but my Lindstrom tools make it so much less of a chore.

What's your favorite thing about your workspace or studio?
My beading desk sits at the corner of a room up against two big windows on both sides, so I get tons of natural light when I bead on weekends or during the summer evenings. I also have a trusty Ott light for the night and the dark wintertime. However, when I'm not at my desk, it tends to be occupied by one or two felines.

What is your other craft?
I've dabbled in a number of crafts including crochet, woodworking and cross stitch, but the creative medium that is near and dear to my heart is modular geometric origami. In this medium, several pieces of paper are folded into "modules" which are then assembled together to form the completed object. This kind of artwork readily transfers to beadwork, and still heavily influences my beadweaving designs today.

Who or what inspires you?
Oh, there are so many fabulous bead artists out there ... I've admired the spectacular geometric beadwork by Gwen Fisher and Florence Turnour for years, and I'm so grateful to be work with them on a couple of beaded bead patterns. I love the stunning and eclectic portfolio of Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, and it was so inspiring to see her make her own variations on some of my beaded bead designs. I also like the beadwork of Margie Deeb, Judy Walker, Diane Fitzgerald, and Carol Wilcox Wells, as well as the fabulous origami of Tokomo Fusé and Rona Gurkewitz.

What's your favorite inspirational saying?
Art is 10 % inspiration, 90 % perspiration.

What's one thing you've never done you always wanted to do?
I've taken one glass lampworking class, and I ended up with two ugly beads and a bunch of shattered glass. Someday I'd like to invest in the equipment and materials for a lampworking bench and take the time to learn how to make beautiful lampwork beads.

Don't forget - it's the SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway and you can win a fabulous charm bracelet if you enter until November 28th!
Click here for more info!

The SATeam blog features artisan handmade creations by the etsy starving artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current etsy shop owner members can be found at


mcstoneworks said...

Great interview. I am constantly amazed at the beautiful, intricate designs that Cindy creates.

Bonnie said...

I so admire artists that work with the tiny beads. Cindy's geometric beaded beads are fascinating. They always remind me of the molecular diagrams in chemistry class.
Thank you for a wonderful glimpse into her craft.

galadryl said...

Always great to get to know somebody better. Awsome beads and jewelry. You must be a very patient person to work with such tiny beads. I know I couldn't *g

tjrjewellery said...

You must have infinite patience Cindy - i would go crazy putting all those little pieces together!

Kady said...

Cindy does such beautiful work!!

nicole Valentine-Rimmer said...

I loved doing this interview, her little creations always amazed me. It was neat to find out more about her.

Ramona said...

I love, love Cindy's designs so much that I even purchased a pair of earrings from her shop a lil while ago. And I must say, it is one of the best purchases I've ever made. They are stunning and I love them. I take very good care of them...that's how much I like them, lol. Can you tell I really like them? :P

Cassie said...

I am in awe of the work Cindy does! I would go blind and/or crazy trying to make beaded beads... she's got some talent!