Cynthia Campbell

I’ve been a crafter since childhood, working mostly with fibers. As a nurse and ex-Air Force officer, jewelry was a closed book to me. Only ear studs, wedding rings and watches were allowed. I continued in that vein until I discovered bead woven jewelry in 2010. I took a few classes at the now-defunct Gem-o-rama in Hanover, but I am mostly self-taught.

I use a wide range of materials from crystal to semi-precious gemstones to natural objects as accents and focal points, but my main material is little tiny seed beads.

As a coastal New Englander, I am heavily influenced in my color schemes by the ocean and beaches of the area. Courtesy of the USAF, I have also lived in California, England and Arizona. I find influences from these experiences creeping into my work as well.  But I find the seed beads themselves to be my biggest influence. They fascinate me. The colors and finishes are seemingly endless and, like paint, change color based on the color of the beads next to them. The different finishes and sizes impart amazing texture. Even with the basic stitches, changing the bead choices changes the look of the piece completely. Working with them is slow, as it’s a one-bead-at-a-time process, but rewarding to watch the piece grow and very relaxing in a Zen-like way.

Those little seed beads have recently led me into bead embroidery. So far, I’ve only made pendants using semi-precious gemstones and sand dollars, but it’s a technique that lends itself well to found object and mixed media pieces. I’ll just have to wait and see where those little seed beads take me next.

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