Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Foundation or In the Beginning

This is the piece I've spent the past six months working on - and I finished just in time to submit it to the jury for a very special exhibit.

I'm thrilled to announce that it was accepted (1 of 15 pieces) and will be on display at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, beginning May 11, 2012.

This year's theme is "Mackinac's Grand Hotel" in honor of Grand's 125th anniversary. My piece is a life size, three dimensional Michigan white pine stump, formed entirely of seed beads. You may be wondering how this piece fits the theme - but it's actually a perfect fit, when you know the early history of the hotel.

 Grand Hotel is one of few remaining "classic" resorts built of wood and the wood used was Michigan white pine, known as the "Eternal Wood". 

Grand Hotel was built in 1887 by Charles W. Caskey, who also built many of the large "cottages" on Mackinac . A work crew of three-hundred men built the one-thousand guest hotel in less than four months. Building materials were hauled across the ice during the winter from St. Ignace where Caskey had his own lumberyard. The original foundation was the pine stumps cut to clear the building site and they purportedly remain beneath the building to this day.


I spent many hours studying actual stumps and living trees, so as to properly capture the color, form and texture. 

The cut portion of the stump was done in bead embroidery in size 15/0 and 11/0 seed beads on a heavy wool felt base. This was attached to a wire armature also covered in wool felt. I created dozens of bark plates in freeform peyote stitch using size 8/0 beads, which were individually attached to the form - the joke was I'd be "barking mad" before I finished!

I'm so looking forward to the show opening and can't wait to see the other pieces on display - do come visit if you'll be in northern Michigan this summer!


  1. Beautiful! You have way more patience than I will ever have.

  2. Just an amazing piece!!!! And our history lesson again!! Love your posts!

  3. Oh my!!! What a wonderful piece. It's incredible. I would love to see it in person - will have to make a note in case we come up north this summer!

  4. Your piece is absolutely spectacular!!!

  5. this is a fantastic piece! The rings are so specific - the colouring, is great! I love the stump bark pieces, and understand how you could have gone "barking mad" at the end of it!! Did you make them and sew them on as you went or make them all and then sew them? What are the dimensions? How heavy is this piece?
    Wow, it's great!!
    Cheers, Denise

  6. Amazing piece!! They would have been crazy not to accept this into their exhibit, and I'm feeling a bit jealous of all the people who get to see it in person. Congrats!

  7. your work is amazing! i found you via pinterest!
    will be visiting that wonderful island next summer :)

    1. Thanks!
      I hope you have a wonderful visit to the Island.