Becky Cheston

I’ve been designing and looming seed beads for more than a decade. A few years ago, I began selling my creations under the label BeadLoomery. I've always incorporated some type of art into my life. I loved painting furniture, mirrors, and little wooden boxes. I'd spend hours etching intricate designs on pottery or using the teensiest brushes to paint details on wood. Through it all, I discovered a love of the tiny and small. So, when it comes to beads, the smaller the better.

After experimenting with various beading techniques, I tried a loom and never put it down. I love the meditative feel of weaving back and forth across the warp threads and the satisfaction of seeing a pattern emerge as the rows add up. Especially rewarding is the “fabric” feel of each piece, evidence that I’ve assembled thousands of tiny specks into a swatch of glass material that drapes like silk.

Working with seed beads is like weaving little drops of paint. I love color, and the seed bead makers of Japan and the Czech Republic provide plenty of it. They also create various shapes from rocailles to cubes to faceted beads and more. I work mostly with Delica beads which, due to their uniform shape, allow me to design precise patterns in grids and squares. When working on such a small scale the beads blend together like brushstrokes. I make all of my patterns by hand, sketching within a given space on grid paper that encompasses the size and shape of the piece I'm designing. The key to any design is color selection, though you can't see the final effect until the colors interweave on the loom. So, it's not unheard of for me to unravel rows of weaving because a certain color doesn't look quite the way I envisioned. Often, the key to a design is not simply the right combination of color, but a mix of finishes, weaving flashes of transparency or hints of gold among the matte and opaque beads.

Nature is my muse and I enjoy exploring the subject in different styles and color palettes. At any given time I find myself inspired by a single facet: fantastical mushrooms, mermaid scales, molluscs, or humming birds. I work in my Norway, Maine studio and exhibit in towns throughout Western Maine including Bethel, Norway, and Paris (where in 2017 my Tumbled Swirls Necklace won Best in Show). My work has been displayed at Norway’s Nomad Café and the Matolcsy Art Center. I teach classes in bead loom weaving for both adults and children in various venues including the Folk Art Series at Fiber and Vine, Oxford County’s summer L.O.O.K program, and in my own studio.

To see more of Becky's amazing beaded creations:

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