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Artist Focus: Jeannette Cook

Jeannette CookJeannette Cook is amazing woman. She's been beading for 40 years and she inspires hundreds of beaders all over the world. Jeannette is the author of «Beading with Peyote Stitch» and «A Sculptural Peyote Projects Primer». I adore her freeform peyote beadork designes!

Visit Jeannette's website www.beadyeyedwomen.com to order her books, kits, patterns and find out more about her beadwork classes.
Jeannette has answered my questions, here are they:

How/When did you start beading?
I started beading in 1967. I was 14 years old and living in a beach town south of San Diego. The Hippie movement was at full tilt then and all us girls had to have Love Beads to wear.

What's your favorite stitch?
Freeform Peyote Stitch is my favorite but I have been doing a lot of Right Angle Weave lately. It is very versatile and feels like fluid glass fabric.

What inspires you as a beader?
Color, texture, lampwork beads, my garden. Designs just pop into my head and I try to get them written down or just start beading right away so I can see them taking shape and becoming real.

What's you favourite beadwork link(s)?
I rarely go out on the web and surf. I am not really a computer person. I consider it a work tool and usually get my emails, write and illustrate my class handouts and then turn off the computer and go bead, bead, bead. But when I do go out, it isn't always bead related. I usually go to one of the bead stores I teach at or a friend's website or my daughter's website, she is an oil painter. www.jennikai.com, laughingsisters.com, gailmoore.com, cynthiarutledge.com

Do you have any beads you don't know what to do with?
I buy a lot of beads and just keep them until I am inspired. I don't think a bead addict needs to know what do with beads in order to justify buying them, do you? I just must have them!!!! Sometimes I will have beads for many years and then one day I put them into a wonderful piece.

Who is your favourite beadwork artist?
I can't name one favorite. There are so many amazing, talented people out there. Both with seed beadwork and lampwork. A few are: NanC Meinhardt, Cynthia Rutledge, Linda Smith, Gail Moore, Karen Ovington, George O'Grady, of course I am drawing a blank on more, but it should come to me after I send out this interview! The world is full of wonderful talent!

Which beading book is your personal favorite?
My newest favorites are 500 Beaded Objects, it is a compilation of beadwork submitted by many, many beadwork artists. And A Beader's Guide to Color by Margie Deeb. It is brilliant and very helpful when it comes to understanding color theory as it relates to beadwork.

Copyright is a huge issue on the internet. How do you feel about people stitching up your designs for pin money?
I really think people need to look at copying in a way that puts them in the shoes of the original artist. I don't mind people selling the beadwork they learned in classes, books, or from kits and patterns, but give credit to the person who worked for many hours developing and creating these designs. It is ethical to ask permission before teaching a project, but many people don't bother or even give credit to the person who originated the work. I wish everyone would sit down and design an original piece, then work on it for 20 to 60 hours. Then photograph the piece and write, illustrate, edit, rewrite then print out instructions. It gives you a new perspective on how much work it is. We all deserve to have credit and be paid for the work we do no matter what field we choose to make our living in.

Do you bead while watching TV, or while listening to music? What shows or type of music?
All of the above. I bring my beadwork everywhere. I travel about 65% of the year to teach and bead on planes, in airports, in hotel rooms, at home in front of the tv or listening to PBS or music or outside in my wonderful garden near the pond and waterfall with cats all around and the dog at my feet. I have beaded on camping trips in the woods, in a castle on the Rhine, on the verandah at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, in Big Sur, Glacier National Park. Anywhere is a good place to bead!!!

Where do you usually bead?
I do most of my beading in my studio and on planes.

What cultural influences do you think have the strongest influence on your designs?
I love the sparkly glamorous stuff. I am not really influenced by ethnic beadwork or artwork. I used to watch old 1930's and 40's movies where the women had beaded gowns. More European influence, I guess. My favorite costume era was the 1910 - 30's. I love the wardrobe in Out of Africa.

Do you have a strong aversion to any colors? Colors that are hard for you to design with? A strong preference?
That changes over the years. I used to hate red, then I began using it a lot. Baby Poop brown isn't a happy color!

Do you wear your own beadwork?
Yes, I am a walking advertisement! I actually love my work and love to wear it and touch it as I walk or sit. I love the weight of it and the texture of it and I love color.

What are you interested in (except beads :)? Do you teach, write articles?
I teach a lot. I love, love, love teaching! I am crazy about traveling. Teaching allows me to do a lot of that. I have a sailboat, a 16 foot Hobie Cat, (catamaran), and though I don't get out on it as much as I used to due to all my travels, it is one of the most fun and exciting things I have ever done. I used to ride motocross in the desert in my 30's as well as body surf, I grew up at the beach. I played softball and racquetball when I was younger and hiked and camped a lot more before I began traveling to teach so much. I was really athletic! I love blues and rock and classical music and will go hear live music whenever I can. I really love getting together with my husband and my 6 grandchildren, daughter and son and their spouses for backyard barbecues and parties. I like beading with my girlfriends here at my house and drinking champagne.

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