Sunday, February 21, 2021

Black Tiles Matter

The newly founded Museum of Beadwork launched a beautiful collaborative beading project called "The Beaded Square" project to celebrate their opening. Bead artists from all horizons were asked to bead a 6"x6" square for a permanent exhibit. You can see the photos of all the squares here and will discover amazing art. Not one piece is the same, but all are amazingly beautiful. 

This is my square (photographed on a red background that is not part of the square).

Black Tiles Matter

 It was a humbling process to create. I am not a very good bead embroiderer, which shows, ugh. Admittedly, I am not even able to cut paper or fabric straight, but with this piece I discovered that doing straight bead-embroidery is... de la folie. But I really wanted to make my tile like this.

Pondering where to place the
The guidelines for the squares (size, etc.) included a preference for jewel tones. That tickled me, and my muse, rebellious by nature, said "make a dissent tile with Diamond Weave black tiles and call it "Black Tiles Matter" (as a wink to "Black Lives Matter", of course).

As a beadweaver, I used quite a bit of beadweaving and because so many things happened in 2020, the BLM aspect of the piece is quite obvious.

The overal construction was inspired by the sky view of the road painted with yellow letters in New York City:

The variations in the black tiles represent black lives in their diversity. The crystal stones represent talent, potential - some have loads, some not - it doesn't matter: they all matter.

The long bugles and the crystal cup chain represent walls (of wealth) and fences (of fortune), or how power emprisons the black lives. 


The raised center represents the growing force beneath the whole BLM movement, deep and strong. 

Because the long bugles broke the thread continuously, I attached them all with coated wire. It was all lovely, nice, quite straight... but didn't feel good. Because unfair systems should not be maintained. So I disturbed it, and broke the "walls" intentionally.

Artwork by Banksy

Cesar A. Cruz said that "Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable" (Banksy spread the word). I think that many beautiful, non-disturbing things can be considered as Art, but love that our beadwork can convey messages. And that even a collar can have a deep meaning when related to actions - like the one worn by late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to express dissent. It has become so well known, that when searching for the word "dissent" with Google, her image, and items showing just her collar with the words "I dissent" are among the first results.

It is wonderful that now there is a museum of beadwork, chanting the beautiful art of beading and beadweaving. And I'm grateful for the opportunity given to be part of what might well be or become one of the most prestigious collections of modern beadwork ever. Many thanks to the museum, their founders, sponsors and staff.


Your comments are welcome!