Olympia Bead Retreat with Teresa Sullivan Studio

Recently I talked with Teresa Sullivan about the Bead Retreat she organizes every year here in Olympia, WA.  I asked her a few questions about her business and what inspires her. Here is what she had to say:

“I chose ‘Teresa Sullivan Studio’ to emphasize the fact that I look at beads as an art form. The funny thing is that my studio is a desk in the corner of my living room.  I don’t have to “go away” somewhere to create artwork.  It’s a non-toxic medium, so I can literally live with it—no fumes, no machinery; just my hands, the beads, the thread, and inspiration.

I like that beads can start conversations, that they can travel the world and outlast empires.  I like to make jewelry and sculpture that encourages people to think without telling them what to think.  Teaching workshops, doing trunk shows, and selling vintage beads and clothing online gives me a lot of artistic freedom, and I exhibit my beaded artwork in galleries and museums.  Currently I have several pieces on exhibit at Greater Reston Arts Center in Virginia (http://www.restonarts.org/).


I began working with beads in the early 1990s, joined the Portand (Oregon) Bead Society, and learned as much as I could about trade beads and their history.  Seeing Joyce J. Scott’s work gave me the bead-weaving bug and I dove in to this medium with both feet.  I assisted Joyce at Penland School of Crafts and at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and last summer traveled to South Africa with her and four other artists, where we taught two artist groups sculptural beadweaving techniques.  This trip was an eye opener in so many ways, artistically, culturally and politically, and it was a treat to hear Xhosa, the “click-talk” language, spoken.”

About the Retreat:

“I began the Olympia Bead Retreat in response to hearing friends wishing for more than what is typically offered.  Being in a place where you’re thought of as an artist, being challenged in a nurturing yet eye-opening way, taking the time to find your own voice; as an independent artist, I can provide a non-cookie-cutter approach.  I keep enrollment limited to 8 participants so that you receive the attention you deserve.

The Retreat is 5 days of exceptional, eye-opening and down-to-earth instruction with written materials, demos and personal time; includes an outing to the Museum of Glass, massages, optional shopping trips, gourmet/locally-sourced food, and if you need a break there is a nature trail nearby.  The cost of the Retreat covers your room, all meals, massage, museum admission, and workshop sessions; everything except transportation to and from Olympia and optional purchases.  You don’t have to be an “expert” beader, but experience with basic bead weaving is recommended.



http://www.teresasullivanstudio.com/workshops.html has images of the type of beadwork I create; when you enroll, be sure to let me know if you want to focus on anything you see there.”




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