If you’ve been in the shop recently, you’ve probably seen the charming display of beaded artwork near the register. But did you know that the artist who creates them works right here at Lilygrass Flowers & Decor?
Meet Shana, owner and operator of Beadbrain Creations and an integral part of our shop family. Here at the store she is a jack-of-all-trades with her customer service, floral design, and design aesthetic abilities.
Shana says, “I love working at Lilygrass because I get to use my artistic side nearly every day, one way or another.” I asked Shana about all of her creative and artistic hobbies which are not limited to: crochet, beadwork, gardening, and coloring. Although, she asserts that beadwork is her favorite as it is the most relaxing for her.
I asked Shana when and why and how she started doing beadwork and this is what she had to say:
“I think it was 1995. I went into the Ben Franklin Craft Store and saw an amulet pouch hanging on display and decided I wanted to make one. So I bought some beads and figured it out at home. I still have the final result in my collection.”
Shana remarked that she has grown leaps and bounds since that first amulet pouch. Her creativity really started to shine after discovering that she could build 3D objects with beads! About two years after she first started, Shana began testing pattern designs for other beaders not just across the states but around the world. She tells me that although the community is not quite as large as those for crocheting, quilting and other creative endeavors, it is still a rewarding group of people to know. In fact, Shana recalls the most intricate project she has ever made was a beautiful three-dimensional Christmas ornament that was designed by the late Paula Adams, a beloved member of the beading community.
I figured there had to be a trick to all of this so I asked Shana if she uses specific beads. Are the different varieties more of a personal preference or does cost truly affect quality? Seed beads are used for the bulk of the projects that Shana makes. There are a ton of different manufacturers all over the world and the quality and cost greatly vary. Shana personally uses Delica beads which are made in Japan by Miyuki. Not only do they have a wide range of colors but the beads are actually lazer cut, ensuring every bead is the exact same size. The price of importing these beads for Shana’s projects has grown quite a bit since she started, however, she says she will continue to use the Delica beads instead of sacrificing bead quality.
I asked Shana: What sets “great” beadwork ahead of “good” beadwork? And she said: “It’s truly a combination of design, technique, and good materials. If any of those elements are lacking then the viewer is more apt to be looking at what’s lacking rather than the piece itself.”
Her advice to people who want to give beading a try?
“Try different types of beading techniques. Ask lots of questions and expect lots of different answers as there are definitely more than one way to create. Most of all, I have been beading for quite a long time now and I am still learning. There is always a new innovation to the age-old techniques.”
Finally, we had some time to discuss Shana’s competitive side! She has been entering her beadwork masterpieces into State Fair competitions on and off for a number of years. Shana likes to create what she wants throughout the year and when Fair time rolls around she’ll check out her inventory against the categories and see what she can enter. This year she entered several pieces at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Of those pieces included an intricate geometric necklace inspired by technique designer, Jean Power. This particular project took Shana about 250 hours to create. Shana’s piece was awarded First Place and received the “Best of Show” award! Several of her other entries placed as well.
We are very lucky to have an artist like Shana on staff here and so are all of you! More Beadbrain Creations are available for purchase exclusively at Lilygrass Flowers & Decor. Come on in, talk to the artist herself and find a beaded masterpiece to take home for yourself of a loved one!