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Artist Bio - FAQ's

Q)  Are you Indian?

A)  I usually answer this with a "by proxy" as I have nieces and nephews who are "registered" (Chippewa - Turtle Mountain), as well as many a Native American friend.  In actuality, however, I personally, genetically, have no Native American blood running through my veins, just in my spirit.  ( as a side note:  I was made an honorary member of the Kuiu Thlingit Nation of Alaska by the holder of the Allodial Title Third Chair Tribal Judge, What Staw, George Sucknaw James, Jr. ..known to some of us 'lower states' folks as 'Rudy James'...I am "skiouros"..(squirrel...and no not 'cuz I have a squirrelly personality...apparently it's because I'm considered a 'gatherer'.

I greatly admire all the different Native American Nations artwork, their pottery, basketry, weavings, totems, masks, carvings, drawings, and regalia.  It is rich with spiritual symbolism and I have a great affinity with it.  I like to reflect this in some of my work.

Native Americans gave us one of the most recognized forms of beadwork, but let us not forget that evidence of beadwork has been found dating back thousands of years, from all over the world, and from many different cultures,  and continues to flourish to this modern day.

Q)  The beads are so small, do you use a magnifying glass?

A)  Even though I am really, really, really, nearsighted (blind as a bat), I'm not using a magnifying glass......yet.  I have a secret technique, in reality, I'm a professional "bead trainer".  It takes about 2 years to train the beads to jump on the needle and thread in a specific pattern.....grin...I'm kidding!!!! 

Truthfully, most of the time I can't see the holes in the beads, I've basically got a "feel" for placing the needle against a bead so that it pops right on.  When I'm weaving, I sometimes have difficulty finding the hole, however, the embroidery/appliqué  seems to be easier to do as far as bead placement and bad eyesight. I'm ornery and should start using that magnifying swing arm light given to me, but I worry about distortion in my work if I can't look at it with my naked blind eyes (must be an 'artist' thing).  I try to work in natural daylight so that I can differentiate the bead colors.
For the last couple of years I have pretty much kept it a secret to myself that I was having increasing difficulty working with the itty bitty beads.  Granted, witnesses of my work in action will testify that I truly do seem to work by feel alone......but even that was getting to hard for me. Worse yet, I haven't admitted to anyone that I could no longer see the findings clearly enough to mount some of my work.  I have actually avoided doing any micro beadwork 'cuz I didn't want to face the possibility of having to admit I was going to have to give it up...blind is blind don't you know.  Anyhoos.....I was hooked up with a really superb ophthalmologist and now I have some new beading glasses!!  See......the problem is that not only am I very nearsighted, but I also have astigmatism and myopia in my left eye as well as double vision in both eyes!!!  Double vision requires a special prism to be in the lenses and they are pretty darn expensive, so I haven't had a new prescription since 1996.  Well, because of my degenerating eyesight, it's impossible for me to get the prisms done in my bifocal with the thickness they are in a regular bifocal eyeglass. My regular eyeglass is just under 1/8th of an inch in thickness while my prism bifocal is just slightly over 3/8ths of an inch...triple the can't get those to match up in a single eyeglass frame...not in a million years!!!!  Well, I just got a pair of "reader" glasses that I now refer to as my "beader" glasses, check out these super thick glasses....gadzooks!!!

glasses I should be able to see the itty bitty beads for at least another year eh??

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In the mean time here are some of my favorite philosophies that I try to live by.............

Never forget how to PLAY.
(in other words, hang on tight to that inner child)
Work like you don't need the money.
(creates less stress if you aren't constantly preoccupied by finances)
Work at what you LOVE to do.
(you cheat yourself the most if you hate what you do)
Honesty will always be the best policy.
(shouldn't need an explanation)
In business, the customer always comes first.
(without happy customers, there is no business)
Love like you've never been hurt
(which means, don't let the past cloud your future)
Dance like nobody's watching
(Don't we always dance best when we think no one's watching??, big grin)
And there is no such thing as having......

Too Many Beads!!!
(okay, fine, this comes from an admitted BEAD addict, but we ALL have to have at least one vice, right???)

and on a totally selfish note.........
May every day of your life include a little bit of SUNSHINE!!!


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