Making a Spectacle

Beading is a huge part of my identity.glasses close

This particular piece was a finalist in the 2008 Bead Dreams competition, the largest beading contest in America, sponsored by Bead & Button Magazine. Without  a speck of modesty I say that it is every bit as beautiful as the day I finished it.

This endeavor took over five months of full time work to complete, including weekends.

 I will never do this again. My back would ache, my shoulders would crunch and my eyesight is not nearly as sharp. I have lost the ability to do this work but I will always have the joy that my art has given to me. I will always have the pride of knowing that I supported myself as an artist and that I earned the recognition of my peers for its originality.

As far as I know, these were the first beaded beads to be structurally unsupported (completely hollow) inside. For this entry I invented eight completely different hollow structures. Some were were spherical, some were square, some free form or with points like a Moravian star.

The glasses are comprised of beads embroidered onto leather, stiffened with wire. They open and fold with a hinge constructed entirely by beads (as per the rules of the competition). A hidden snap holds them in the folded  position.

The first place ribbon went to a woman who beaded a full sized bench. It was lovely and undoubtedly, it took longer then five months to complete, but flat sheets of a common stitch over an existing bench must have bored the winning artist to tears.

At least I hope it did!

Almost ten later, I can still detect the faint odor of sour grapes.


Imperfectly yours,


Published by jonna ellis holston

After gaining notoriety as an Internationally published bead artist Jonna has redirected her energy, humor and creativity to writing, and public speaking. This avid student of humanity has lived and traveled extensively on 4 continents. "I have spent a lifetime watching people and find that we are the same everywhere, we all want the same things... just in different flavors," says Holston. She combines her lifelong observations and adds a dash of silliness to her speaking engagements, "We all need to laugh so let's do it together!"

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