Artist Bio - FAQ's
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.
The beads are so
small, do you use a magnifying glass?
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
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.
Update: 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 thickness....you 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
okay......so 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
Never forget how to
(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
May every day of your life
include a little bit of SUNSHINE!!!
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