By integrating mathematics and physics principles with tiny seed beads, I create sculptural and wearable art. With every stitched bead, I incorporate structure, form, movement, and color into my artwork to achieve bold statement pieces with unexpected surprises.
I grew up as a military brat, bouncing from coast to coast. In the 90’s, I wandered into a local bead shop and bought a book on Native American beadweaving techniques and a few tubes of mixed seed beads. That was enough to start my love of beadweaving. Although I’ve tried other art mediums over the years, I returned to off-loom seed beadweaving. I currently live in the forested hills and canyons of North Central Idaho with my husband and a demanding feline overlord, but my heart is never far from my native state of Oregon.
A pivotal moment in my journey as an artist was a rejection from a juried art show about five years ago. The feedback was that I lacked a unique, distinguishable style and my work was too similar to other bead artists. These valuable comments prompted me to stop beading from other designers’ patterns (common in the beadweaving community) and develop my own designs to create the now-distinct look of Teresa Shelton Designs. My occupation as a printed circuit board manufacturability engineer inspires the geometric style in my art and allows me to easily merge the technical with the creative.
To distinguish my work from other geometric beadweaving artists, I use “round” seed beads instead of the precision cylinder beads most other geometric beadweaving artists use. I prefer to use round seed beads to give a softer, more organic look to the otherwise hard geometric angles. To build visual interest, I stitch unique features in my work, such as one pattern or one element, that intentionally stand out from the rest of the piece. These highlights often act as a focal point, but other details are more subtle, almost hidden.
Inspiration for my art arrives in a myriad of ways: translated from another medium, in nature, through charted data, or from an enticing color scheme. A great motivator for me to discover new designs is to ask the question, “what if?” and then fearlessly explore it. I refer to these creative adventures, with a nod to writer Lewis Carroll, as “follow the rabbit down the hole”. Sometimes things turn out as I have envisioned them, but more often than not, I surprise even myself with what structures and shapes emerge in my hands.