In the Studio with Liz Cunningham
This Saturday we introduce you to artist Liz Cunningham!
How did you begin making art?
A colleague at work offered a workshop to a few of us on how to make a beaded necklace of hers. After being bitten by the beading bug I began watching beading videos. Each video taught me a new stitch which became a new necklace. Eventually, I started combining stitches and techniques which led to designing my own pieces.
What need does it satisfy?
I love a good mathematical puzzle and that is exactly how I view the process of designing and bead weaving. It begins with numerous sketches of what I want to achieve. Once I have an acceptable design then comes the puzzle of what stitches and beads to use to get the affect I’m going for.
I’m a retired math instructor and I believe the designing and producing of intricate patterns keeps me thinking systematically and mathematically.
What is your most important artistic tool?
My bead collection is like a painter’s palette. To me, it is my most valuable “tool”. Choosing the correct size, shape and color combination of multiple beads is critical to creating a great piece. I know almost immediately if the beads will work together as soon as I pour them out onto my bead mat. (Of course there’s lots of beading and tearing out until what I get what is in my mind’s eye to become a reality)
Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
I use a magnifying lamp which I could not do without. I wear what I call my “Mr Magoo” eyeglasses but the magnifier is essential for getting the tiny details right.
Creativity can be imaginative, inventive, and original. Understanding that creating artwork is a very personal choice; what inspires your creativity?
Oh my goodness, besides beading videos and magazines, so many things inspire me. I have a little notebook where I am constantly jotting down ideas.
- Color combinations or formations found in nature are always inspiring
- Geometric patterns are one of my favorites
- The pattern on the edge of a birthday card
- Native American graphics
- Rocks, feathers or driftwood laying on the beach,
- A planter box with a particularly appealing combination
- The shape of a diamond necklace in a store window
- The color combination of the three t-shirts I just folded
- Necklaces of anchorwomen on TV
- A cloud formation
- A chunk of bamboo
There doesn’t seem to be an end to things that generate possible stitch patterns and bead combinations for me to try.
woven jade and glass seed beads
Rings of Saturn
woven glass beads
woven glass seed and bugle beads