Is it BEADED or is it Jell-O? … High Art Surprise!

June 20th, 2009

World of Beads VIII & Jell-O Mold Design Competition

Color, Form, Texture & Design —  imagination, unusual use of materials, do-it-yourself-advice –  and a sense of humor  …

IMG_5677This year’s Bead Society show <>included vender booths with everything you might need to fashion your own designs, free demonstrations by well-known beaders, and a truly astonishing array of MUSEUM QUALITY pieces on display.

The juried exhibit judged by MICHAEL COAN and LOIS SHERR DUBIN was intricate, balanced  – and gosh – astonishingly … well,   “NEAT.” Viewers were slack-jawed, marveling at the array of designs –  asking ourselves “how on earth do these artists have the PATIENCE and DEXTERITY to execute their intricate and time-consuming visions?

This year’s show demonstrated, once again, that beading is not just a casual “old ladies” activity, (not that there’s anything wrong with being an old lady – I’m approaching that respected title myself) …  but it’s also an art form as worthy of HIGH ART respect as painting or sculpture. And in fact the form’s demands are as strenuous  in terms of  technique and conceptualization – not to mention excellent eyesight and a steady hand.


Yes, these beads are PLASTIC!

Yes, these beads are PLASTIC!

In terms of vender offerings, I was particularly impressed by the THE BEAD GOES ON … <>, a jam-packed booth . They featured multi-colored balls covered with tiny beads from BALI and NEPAL, Thai Hill Tribe Silver, along with these lovely PLASTIC beads that completely fooled me until I picked them up. I bought some wonderful silver beads for my hair which I’m enjoying thoroughly.

Colorful offerings from Bali & Nepal

Colorful offerings from Bali & Nepal

Shirley A.J. Mitchell sporting her Wine Cork & Sequin Necklace

Shirley A.J. Mitchell sporting her Wine Cork & Sequin Necklace

While walking around the show, I saw several attendees bedecked and bejeweled by their own creations. I was immediately attracted to Shirley A.J. Mitchell’s lovely necklace — and surprised to find, upon closer inspection ,that it was made from WINE CORKS and SEQUINS! Heres is a relatively easy and very inexpensive project that enhances her natural beauty – simply great!

Native American Museum_IMG_2272Earlier this year, when I attended the opening reception for the  THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN’S <>, which featured the intricate traditional and more modern beadwork designs – I was equally awed by its perfection.

If working with your hands to create wearable works of art intrigues you – peruse the many opportunities for learning and community at the Bead Society of Greater New York at

Welcome to Hawaii by Suzanne Golden

Welcome to Hawaii by Suzanne Golden

Ate A Slice by Yoshie Marubashi

Ate A Slice by Yoshie Marubashi


This piece garnered FIRST PLACE.  The judges termedAte A Slice” an “Excellent concept that displays a wonderful sense of humor.”

Speaking of ART from ODD MATERIALS with a SENSE OF HUMOR …



SURPRISE, SURPRISE! You can make just about ANYTHING out of JELLO!

Hey - Do You Know "Melancholy Baby?"

Hey - Do You Know "Melancholy Baby?"

This event, lusciously appealing mostly to a young, artsy, crowd, featured not only an array of entries ranging from a PIANO LOUNGE, complete with a martini and deviled-egg appetizer …



heads …

To one of my favorites, these beautiful “precious gems”


… necklaces that sparkled just like the real thing.

The designs were evaluated by a panel of lab coat fitted judged according to

– Creativity

– Aesthetics

– Structural/sculptural ingenuity

– Edibility/culinary appeal

and of course – Best use and showcase of Jell-O

IMG_5773The JUDGES had a great time TASTING other entries to determine if the EDIBLE ART was in fact as GOOD AS IT LOOKS.

Getting HIGH on Jell-O

Getting HIGH on Jell-O

Organized by MICHELLE ZATTA and many others, this group effort was MC’d by NY and Williamsburg Spelling Bee host BOBBY BLUE. The theme party/exhibit included a rainbow array of  JELLO SHOTS, a LIVE DJ, and lots of people documenting the scene with video and still cameras – definitely THE PLACE TO BREAK OUT OF THE MOLD IN BROOKLYN.

Body Painting - An American Tradition

Body Painting - An American Tradition

When I was planning my Saturday adventures, I wanted to look as colorful and vibrant as the shows I anticipated attending, so I popped down the street to my local Brooklyn NAIL SALON where the lovely Jin Yi Wang paid expert attention to my digits.  This Chinese 26 year old lives in Sunset Park with her husband, baby daughter and extended family. She works 4 days a week at the salon and attends school the other 3 days. Ms Wang moved from China just 3 years ago and has worked as a waitress and at otherl nail salons. Instead of experiencing the kind of night-life and myriad of activates I enjoy, Ms Wang goes home completely exhausted with just enough energy to help her family around the house and barely enough money to survive. She told me that she wants to learn to speak more English but found that on the West Coast English classes were free, but here in NYC they are expensive. I’ve searched online and found this opportunity for free classes – so I plan to stop by to share  this information with Ms. Wang.  Let’s give a shout out to all those people who work so hard to make us feel pampered and beautiful. Let’s remember to tip them well, help them navigate the complex systems in NYC, and support FREE ESL PROGRAMS for IMMIGRANTS!

Mandate for the week?




’till next time,

Judith Z. Miller

aka Artist Soul  Speaks

PS Tune back in soon for a SLIDE SHOW featuring more Jell-O and Beaded art!

About artistsoulspeaks

Zelda (aka Judith Z. Miller) Bio Zelda (aka Judith Z. Miller) is a multifaceted artist who lives in an erotic, musical, spiritual universe. As a feminist Jew who studies shamanism, she is inspired by the beauty of nature and the guiding force of her intuition as she explores the themes of connection to the Earth, spirituality, sexuality and gender. She sculpts, draws, writes, performs, photographs, and is an ecstatic dancer/percussionist/healer. Currently, under an Individual Artist Commission awarded by Arts Mid-Hudson, Zelda is developing Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), a multi-media one-person show that chronicles the joys and challenges of navigating non-binary Queerness from a childhood in the 1950s to adulthood. This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson. She is also producing ZELDA’S Happenings, a series of black-light, body-painting, percussion dance parties that will produce original wearable art for a new UpState Artists Clothing Collection representing artists of the region. Zelda co-founded The Fine Line Actors Theatre in Washington DC and performed at such venues as Source, GALA Hispanic Theatre and the Kennedy Center in DC, in NYC at WOW Café Theatre and Dixon Place, at the Lace Mill and with the TMI Project in Kingston. She published in Inside Arts magazine, The Washington Post, and American Theatre magazine. Zelda currently resides at the Lace Mill artist residence in Kingston NY with her Great Dane “Z”.
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