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Janice Hengel Beadweaver

Janice Hengel Beadweaver




Janice Hengel Beadweaver Website

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Janice Hengel Beadweaver

Juried by the Bucks County Guild of Craftsmen, the foundation of Jan’s work is glass seed beads that are woven into one of a kind designs to create art pieces. Gemstones, crystals, pearls and found objects are examples of embellishments integrated into wearable designs. Functional art and custom work round out Jan’s offerings.

About the owner
I grew up in a family of “project people”; knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, sewing and more. We were always busy making things. In adulthood my career as an occupational therapist focused on purposeful activity as a therapeutic tool. As a therapist I continued to pursue my ever expanding interests which, in 2010, led to my focus on beadweaving.

Self-taught from books and experience, my pieces are a work in progress. No two are the same and what I make today often evolves into something new for tomorrow. One of my first projects was at the request of a friend and avid downhill skier. She often fumbled with her parka zipper due to cold hands or bulky gloves. I beaded a large wooden bead using size 11 seed beads, a few decorative beads over the holes and attached a large lobster claw to hook to her zipper. It made it easy to locate and slide her zipper when she was on the slopes.

Next I discovered bead embroidery. I experimented making medallions but soon moved on to collars. My template is used to outline the basic collar on suede cloth as the foundation. I create an initial design on graph paper. It is my general guide which I always modify as I work. Materials include primarily seed beads and odd shaped beads, cabochons, bugle beads and found objects.

Having made a number of collars using the back stitch, brick stitch, stop stitch, and peyote stitch, I became interested in learning other stitches and how they could be used, modified, and combined to make a variety of items. I am inspired by many things. Sometimes it’s the stitch itself and how it would look if I used a different bead. Or, what if I added another kind of stitch to the original. Then what would it look like? Sometimes I ask myself what could I make that would enhance this piece of clothing (maybe a hatpin for a hat) or, be functional yet decorative ( perhaps the beaded handle of a letter opener). Although I do make jewelry, I choose to work this way rather than design a necklace, or bracelet, for several reasons:

  • I prefer to be identified as someone who works with beads rather than someone that makes jewelry
  • It opens up the creative possibilities available to me.

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