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  • about the artist


    Laura McCabe is a primarily self-taught beadweaver with an education in historical costume reproduction and restoration, and anthropology. She produces elaborately beaded body adornment and sculpture that combines Native American, African, and Victorian beadweaving techniques with modern materials and color schemes.

    She started Just Let Me Bead in 1995, at which time she sold her original designs to boutiques and museum shops. In 2002, she began teaching her art and has continue to do so across the US and throughout the world. She exhibits her work in national and international beadwork exhibitions, and continues to sell some of her finished work here on line.

    She maintains a private studio in Hampton, Connecticut where she and a dog named Lucy continue to live the creative life.

    September 1993 - March 1997; University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut (historical costume restoration)

    January, 2002 - 2003; University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut (anthropology and archaeology)

    Selected Exhibitions, Honors & Awards:
    -June 2013; Bead Dreams 2013, The Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI (second place, objects and accessories)

    -June, 2013; awarded the Excellency in Bead Artistry Award at the Bead & Button Show

    -January, 2013 Saul Bell Design Award, second place in beads

    -July - August 2012; The Art of Beads II, The Mill Gallery, Guilford Handcraft Center, Guilford, CT (juror)

    -June, 2010; Master Class Teacher at The Bead & Button Show, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    -April, 2010; Top Ten Teacher Award, Bead & Button Show

    -April, 2008; Smithsonian Craft Show Exhibitor, Washington D.C.

    -June 2006; Bead Dreams 2006, The Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI (first place, seed bead work)

    -May 2006; Bead International (touring exhibition), the Dairy Barn, Athens, OH

    -June, 2005; Bead Dreams 2005, The Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI (first place, finished jewelry (collaboration with Lisa Niven Kelly), third place, seed beads)

    -June, 2004; Bead Dreams 2005, The Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI (third place, seed beads)

    -September, 2003; Brave Destiny (surrealist art exhibition), Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY

    -September, 2003; DeCordova Style, DeCordova Scupture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA

    -June 2003; Bead Dreams 2003, The Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI (best of show; first place, seed beads)

    -April 2003; Gleaming Treasures, Embellishment 2003, Chicago, IL (third place, seed bead work; third place, finished jewelry; judges choice)

    -June 2002; Bead Dreams 2002, The Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI (finalist, seed bead work)

    -May 2002 - June 2004; Bead International (touring exhibition), the Dairy Barn, Athens, OH

    -July 2001; Gleaming Treasures, Embellishment 2001, Portland, OR (best of show; first place, finished jewelry)

    -May 2001; Bead Dreams 2001, The Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI (finalist, seed bead work)

    -May - June 2001; The Art of Beads, The Mill Gallery, Guilford Handcraft Center, Guilford, CT (first place, jewelry)

    -July 2000; Gleaming Treasures, Embellishment 2000, Portland, OR (second place, finished jewelry; judges choice)

    -June 2000; Bead Dreams 2000, The Bead and Button Show, Portland, OR (first place, finished jewelry)

    -July 1998; Gleaming Treasures, Embellishment 1998, Sacramento, CA (finalist, seed bead work)

    Teaching Experience:
    -Extensive workshops across the United States in: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.

    -Extensive workshops internationally including: Australia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Scotland, Tasmania, and Wales.

  • gallery of work

    Gallery of Work
    Beadwork from Another Dimension - Sculptural Jewelry and One-of-a-Kind Art

    Over the past 20 years I have worked to develop a style of woven beadwork that celebrates form and function, manifested as both wearable jewelry and sculpture. The work is extremely intricate and labor intensive in nature, with each bead stitched in place one or two at a time. There is no use of glue or adhesive; every element is attached to the next using needles and thread.

    In addition to the small glass seed beads that comprise a large percentage of the work, I also work with other unique materials such as custom cut semiprecious stones, shells, glass eyes, insects, computer parts, leather and hardware components. The dichotomy of delicate beadwork with more striking elements creates a unique complexity and conceptual nature to the work.

    In many ways, beadwork has been an under appreciated art because the concept of "beads" is most commonly associated with simple, strung jewelry. Over time I have learned to build highly structured and geometrically based forms using tiny individual beads, most of which are approximately 1mm in diameter. Average time spent on each piece varies with size and complexity, but to give you a sense of the labor involved, most of the 3-4 inch sculptural pieces take at least 40 hours to complete.

    The theme of "eyes" is a reoccurring element in much of my work and actually draws upon ancient traditions in beadwork dating back over 6,000 years. Images of the eyes were and continue to be used in body adornment as a form of protection for the wearer. While initially an unsettling image, the eyes are actually an icon of good luck and fortune. By using both glass doll's eyes and antique human prosthetics, I have found I have been able to add a sense of life to the work.

    It is my wish that by recontextualizing beads in these intricate and sculptural forms, I can help reinvent the ancient traditional of beads and beadwork in both body adornment and unique sculptural objects.

    Here are just a few of the pieces I've created over the past 25 years . . .

  • LM original jewelry

    LM Original Jewelry

    When Laura established Just Let Me Bead in 1995 it was a business that focused on selling one-of-a-kind and limited run artisan jewelry. She was represented by small boutique shops and several museum stores. These days most of her time is dedicated to developing new designs for workshops and artisan kits but she does manage to find a little time to continue her tradition of unique and one-of-a-kind wearable art. Many of these pieces contain unique components and pull their inspiration from traditions in historical costume and jewelry. Each and every one was handmade by Laura.

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