Monday, September 21, 2009

Etsy Featured Artist - Nativebeads

When I first became active with the Trade-A-Holics, I was lucky enough to meet Theresa, the owner of Nativebeads. When I first looked at her shop, I recognized right away that this is a beader after my own heart. Her work with seed beads, and her native style, is the kind of thing that attracted me to beading. And then I saw that she wrote the book on beads - literally! Not only is she amazingly talented, but she is a published author on the subject of beading! I am lucky enough to own two of her books, and I love them! The Illustrated Bead Bible is my favorite. I am a completely self taught beader, and this book has gone a long way in educating me about beads, materials, and techniques.

Her bead work is also quite amazing. Her love for her craft shows through in everything she does. If you love beads, you are going to love her! Her work is diverse and never boring! Take a look at her shop, and if you are looking for beading books, you will not go wrong with hers.

Theresa took time to answer a few of my pesky questions recently. Here is what she had to say:

Name: Theresa Flores Geary
Age (if you don't mind): 58
Where do you live? Moriarty, New Mexico

How did you get started working with beads? My dear mother invited me to a bead class with her “old lady” friends when I was 14. I was surprised to be included in such a group and had NO IDEA how much fun she was having. I got hooked immediately. Now I hang out with MY “old lady friends” who act a lot like teenagers.

What inspires you most?
My friends and other artists are so inspirational when they share their artwork and techniques, where they get their supplies, information on sales opportunities, etc. We teach each other new techniques. The social aspects like laughter and sharing make the pursuit of artwork even more delightful. I spent way too many years as a solitary beader, all by myself into the wee hours of night.

What do you do in your spare time?
Well, I grow gourds, vegetables, fruit trees and chickens for eggs. I have two cats and two dogs as well. My kids are grown and living independently so my husband and I share a quiet life in the country with our animal friends.

Tell us a little known fact about you.
I am a retired clinical psychologist. My career was very rewarding and interesting but I am so happy to be doing what I am doing now – much less stress too!

What are you working on now?
Right now, I am finishing up an order for a bead store that is doing a display for Day of the Dead or Dia De Los Muertos. It is a fascinating Hispanic and Native cultural celebration to honor people’s deceased relatives. The folk art that has developed along with the ceremony is delightful in its own right. Part of the tradition is to make arts and crafts to leave as an offering on an altar or at the gravesite of their loved ones. The five senses are emphasized to help guide their ancestors to join the celebration. As such, there is music, colorful flowers like marigolds and roses, rattles or noise makers, food, costumes, jewelry and various arts. Our family did not celebrate this particular ceremony but now that I am older, I find it intriguing. Etsy has it listed as one of its most popular holidays. Do a search to see a huge variety of artwork mediums.

Do you sell anywhere besides Etsy?
I have my own website I also do occasional shows, maybe 1-3 a year, plus have a few local connections like a farmer’s market and bead stores where I sell my beadwork, bead kits, books, dried gourds and gourd art.

I see that you are a published author! What books have you written, and where can people purchase them?
The first two books are project books, mainly emphasizing Native American beadwork. The books include information on cultural traditions and symbolism used with designs, colors and ceremonies. The first book is called Native American Beadwork – Projects and Techniques of the Southwest.
The second book is called Creative Native Beading. They both categorize projects according to skill level, such as beginner, intermediate and advanced. The third book, published just this year is called Illustrated Bead Bible – terms, tips and techniques. It is more of a reference book on everything you ever wanted to know about beads including gemstones. It has over 500 color photographs to help you learn bead names, stitches and bead types plus reference charts on things like needle size, bead size and threads. It was designed to help people learn about many facets of beading, including how beads are made, different cultural and historical information and samples of beadwork from around the world. I carry my own books to sell on Etsy but run out from time to time. They are also generally available in many fine bookstores, museums and gift shops throughout the world and online, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

You have several types of bead art that you do. From gourds to jewelry...what is your favorite thing to do with beads?
Since I was intrigued with beads at a young age, I first learned how to make jewelry and after so many years of that, I wanted to branch out to discover different uses of beads and different types of techniques. So now, the challenge is to continue discovering all the ways to use beads in a variety of projects besides jewelry, which is why I started doing beadwork on gourds. I still make jewelry too because it is simply delightful to handle so many beautiful beads and gemstones.

Do you twitter, flickr, facebook, blog..or anything else where people can follow you? Please feel free to list all of you "social networking" addresses.
I am on Face book and , a social networking site for artists who enjoying trading with each other. I just joined this site: which is a group of crafters, many of whom are from the UK and Ireland. My profile name is NativeBeads. It is more of a place for “Show and Tell” rather than a market place.
I do NOT do twitter or blog seriously, although I do have a blog with People can reach me there by searching under my name (Theresa Flores Geary) and leave comments. However, I seriously do not have the time to sit in front of the computer all day. I have chickens and veggies and gourds to tend to!!!


pulley-whipped said...

How fascinating! I always enjoy learning the "behind the scenes" of artists. Keep up the good work, Raveyn.

Ellen said...

Thank you for inviting me to return to Theresa's website. I am a very satisfied customer, owning each of her books, a miniature gourd doll and a beautiful gourd necklace. Oh yes, there is a gourd doll kit in my stash of projects - how exciting! Tonight, the miniature gourd mask "called my name" and is awaitng my check!