Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bead Journal Project - July 2011

This piece is based on a technique with no name, in fact, a technique I created out of desperation!

In 2004, the Mackinac Island Community Foundation hosted the "Turtles Around Town" - 21 giant fiberglass turtles were embellished be artists, displayed in a variety of locations and auctioned off at a grand celebration.

I was one of the chosen artists and, of course, I wanted to cover my turtle in beads - but there were a few issues I had to figure out how to work around.

1.) The size - did I mention that the turtles were giants? So big that they do not fit in the back of a pickup truck. And we were living in a a very tiny studio apartment, while our house was under construction.

 2.) They were delivered in early spring, snow still on the ground and had to be completed in just three weeks time. So I needed to come up with a modular method of construction - something I could construct in the warmth of our apartment and then assemble in the freezing cold basement of our new home.

I decided to create typical Island scenes, one for each of the turtles shell plates.

I drew an individual cartoon for each plate:

I then filled in the cartoon with wire and beads - much larger beads then I usually use - my cat supervised the bouncing wire very closely.

I then wired all the individual pieces together and finished with a border. He then went for a ferry ride to St. Ignace to be clear coated.

I used the same technique for this, much smaller piece, my inspiration photo serving as the cartoon. I wanted to keep the background light, so as to highlight the trillium; my background is roughly woven wire.


 Not a technique that I'll use very often, but it does have it's applications.

My husband is now the director of the community foundation and they have been considering hosting a similar project - if they do, I will NOT be beading my submission!


  1. The turtle looks fantastic. So far I have seen this done with horses in Billings, MT, and Fishing lures in my city Montgomery, AL.

  2. Your piece so wonderfully captures the singular beauty and elegance of the trillium - my favorite wildflower. Loved the story of the beaded turtle - what an accomplishment!