Posts Tagged ‘Bead by bead by bead’

Jeweler Transforms Art After Loss

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Amanda Taylor shows off her Iowa-inspired wall hanging

By Marcia E. Gawecki

When jewelry artist Amanda Clark Taylor closed Artisans, her art gallery in Idyllwild, it wasn’t her only loss.  Family members, including her beloved mother, had died all within a short time period. To cope, Amanda found solace in her jewelry making.

“I had lots of time on my hands when I was closing up my father-in-law’s house in Iowa, of all places,” Amanda said. “But I fell in love with the area and the people.”

At first, Amanda was frustrated because she couldn’t find her normal bead supply stores, or even the brighter colors in her artist’s palette. So she began working with square beads in earth tones and took a few classes.

“I drove to a bead class in Iowa City, which was four hours away,” Amanda said. “The trip wasn’t so bad because there were frozen custard stops along the way.”

The result was an impressive wall hanging made out of square beads.

“It started out as a 3-by-7-inch bracelet,” Amanda explained. “And then I just kept going, and made it into a square. Well, that didn’t look right, so I made it into a larger rectangle.”

Right now, she’s in the process of making the 26-by-13-inch sculpture so it can hang on a wall. She’s weighted the bottom and is attaching a backing to the top so that it can take a hanger.

“Ribbons,” the Iowa-inspired wall hanging is shown on her personal web site, Bead by Bead by Bead, but there are no prices listed—yet.

“I didn’t put any prices on my web site because they were all for sale at Artisans Gallery,” Amanda said.

The beaded wrap for this sculpture broke three times before Amanda perfected it

At her gallery openings, she was famous for wearing her own large, colorful jewelry with the price tag hanging out. When well-intentioned people would tell her to hide the tag, she’d laugh and tell them it was for sale.

“I sold a lot of pieces that way,” Amanda joked.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Amanda and her friend, Tawny Crist of Banning, were selling their excess bead supplies at Oh My Dog Gallery in Idyllwild, which is right next door to where Artisans Gallery used to be. It’s now The Hub, a new bike shop.

Amanda has no bitterness about being so close to her former location.

“I miss the artists, but not the business end of running a gallery,” Amanda said.

But she talked about her transformation as an artist.

“I am now an artist who uses beads, instead of a beader who did artwork,” she said.

Tawny was sitting cross-legged on the floor of Oh My Dog Gallery looking at several of Amanda’s necklaces. The two she most wanted were made of Venetian coils about 15 years ago.

“There’s just something so special about the colors that she uses,” Tawny said. “She’s a true artist.”

"Amanda is a true artist," said friend Tawny Crist, with dog, Mick.

Amanda’s new art emphasis will not be on the beads, but the sculptures that she creates with the beads.

Another piece that she had created during a workshop last year depicted a round, dark stone in the middle. The “wrap,” or beaded attachment, was a challenge, Amanda said, because it broke three times.

“The first time, the thread wasn’t strong enough, and then the stitch wasn’t right (too open),” Amanda explained. “Now the wrap is made with 14-pound fishing line with a peyote stitch.”

She said that the stone, which has a natural white line carved into it, weighed about 10 pounds.

Amanda plans to use more organic material like stones into her future work. Right now, she’s working on a beaded nest for a large ostrich egg. And she’s also making a patchwork quilt with 2 1/2-inch squares made with her leftover beads.

Amanda sold her excess beads to help pay for a class with Betsy Youngquist in Chicago

With the money she made by selling her leftover beads, Amanda is planning on taking a class with Betsy Youngquist of Chicago, whom she met through a friend.

On her iPhone, she showed us a picture of “Otto,” an octopus Betsy created with beads. (You can see the image on www.byart.com).

“Isn’t that wonderful?” Amanda said with glee. “Of course, we won’t be making octopuses like that right away. They’re starting us off with spoons.”

Taking this class will help Amanda move her art in a new, and more challenging, direction, she said.

To view Amanda’s art, visit Bead by Bead by Bead at www.beadbybeadbybead.com.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Amanda After Artisans Gallery

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Artisans Gallery featured the work of more than 80 local and regional artists

By Marcia E. Gawecki

This month marked the closing of Artisans Gallery. It was the largest in Idyllwild, showcasing the work of more than 80 local and regional artists. Some of their work in painting, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, photography and fabric art can still be seen at www.idyllwildartisans.com.

“It was a good run,” said Amanda Taylor, the gallery’s owner. “But the economy forced me to quit.”

Amanda sat among the clutter that comes after all the paintings and sculptures have been taken from the walls, tables and stands. Her neighbors in Oakwood Village, Bob Cox of The Vintage Shoppe and Frank Bruynbroek of Oh My Dog Gallery, were there to keep up her spirits and take “extras” for their own shops. George, from the Acorn Gallery, walked away with three pedestals and a display rack.

“I’m going to miss her a lot,” said Bob. “She did a great job here, but we’ll stay in touch.”

Amanda is an accomplished artist who makes jewelry and jeweled scuptures

The Artisans Gallery closing came on the heels of a death in the family, and months of supplementing the gallery rent with her own income.

“I always enjoyed the customers,” Amanda said wistfully of her client base. “I told myself that I would close down if that ever happened. But the economy happened, and I’m forced to close. It’s time to go.”

She’s not wasting time dwelling on the past.

An accomplished jewelry designer, Amanda plans to spend next spring in Nantucket, near Cape Cod. She received an artist residency at the Nantucket Island School of Design and Art, after submitting a portfolio of her work. The Nantucket work study lasts five months, but Amanda will likely stay only three.

There, she plans to do a large installation, a “crazy quilt” made up of beads and stones.

“A crazy quilt is generally made up of material scraps, mostly the odd shapes left over from making a uniform quilt,” Amanda explained. “There is no uniformity to a crazy quilt, except the outside shape.”

Amanda plans to make a crazy quilt of stones from the Cape Cod area, and glass seed beads. However, it’s not going to be an easy feat logistically. The beads and the thread have to be as strong as the stones that they’re covering and bonded to, or it won’t work.

Last summer, Amanda had another art residency in North Carolina. There, she spent two months creating a beaded sack around an 11-pound rock.

“Three days later, it broke,” Amanda admitted. “So then I constructed the beads tighter around the waist. For these kinds of installation, the construction is your limit.”

For her Nantucket crazy quilt, Amanda will only partially cover the stones with beads.

“I love to show the rocks because they’re natural objects,” she said.

Amanda's beaded condom over a Jeffrey Pine Cone. Photo courtesy Artisans Gallery.

On her personal web site, beadbybeadbybead.com, Amanda has a “Mountain Series” of sculptures from Idyllwild in which she covers acorns, Manzanita wood pieces and pine cones with beads. The “Pine Cone Condom” shows a glistening and intricate beaded covering for a Jeffrey Pine Cone.

Although Artisans Gallery lasted four years, Amanda hasn’t given up the idea of having another art gallery in the future.

For more samples of Amanda’s jewelry and sculptures, visit www.beadbybeadbybead.com.

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.