>Beaded Abigail Lives On


I’m a little nervous about this, probably because it is unlike anything I have ever done before, but here is the progress of my beaded Abigail Adams portrait:

Abigail Adams pop art portrait quincy MA art association historical society
Beaded Abigail Adams portrait in progress. 12″ x 12″.
Bead embroidery on felt, collage, acrylics.

None of the beadwork is stitched to the canvas yet, because I’m not sure if I’m finished with my painting yet. So far, I did a little collage work and painted her hair blue. I didn’t think about it in advance, I just sort of did it. Now that I look at her hair, it kind of reminds me of the American Flag as it flows freely, so I am thinking to add the few Swarovski crystal stars that I recently ordered from Artbeads.com… How do you think they look?

My collage is made of newspaper clippings of all the old buildings & landmarks around Quincy, MA. and Abigail’s headpiece is an image of the arch at the top of the cemetery gate at the old burying ground. It reads “This Mortal Shall Put On Immortality“. It’s true – Abigail Adams’ spirit will forever live on in Quincy. 🙂

>Too Pink or Not Too Pink


bead embroidery portrait Abigail Adams Samuel John Quincy MA historical society beaded art
Semi-beaded Abigail Adams portrait. 12″ x 12″. Beadwork in progress. 

Yesterday I was brave. Even though I’m not quite finished with the bead embroidery portion of this piece, I took out a brand new paintbrush, and a new tube of hot pink acrylic paint. I painted an entire 12″ square canvas pink! One thing I learned while doing this was that painting just one colour is almost as difficult as it is to paint with many colours!

But, why pink? The exhibition I am participating in is called Abigail in Perspective. I didn’t know much about Abigail Adams, so I began to do a little research. For a woman who lived in the late 1700’s, she was very ahead of her time. While she did learn domestic skills such as sewing, fine needlework, and cooking, she also spent much time in her father’s library reading subjects that women weren’t supposed to read (such as philosophy, history, and poetry). She also opposed slavery and she believed in equal education for boys and girls. By practicing these beliefs, it’s no wonder she was both wife and mother of two U.S. Presidents!

Knowing all of these things, I began to envision Abigail Adams in a more contemporary light. I chose this pink because it is bold, moderne, and feminine – all of which describes Abigail perfectly. What do you think about pink? 😀

>Home in Quincy


Yay! I’m finally back in Quincy! I spent a long weekend in Pittsburgh with family & had a great time! I also got some beading done! Before I show you the progress of my beaded White House painting, I want to show you the new project I started. No, it’s not a portrait of Michael Jackson, President Obama, David Bowie, or Bob Dylan.. It will be a beaded portrait of Abigail Adams.


bead painting Abigail Adams quincy art association historical society competition beadwork bead embroidery
Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States of America, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the 6th. Her final resting place is just 2 blocks away from my home in the crypt at the United First Parish Church in Quincy Center. I recently paid a visit to the church and learned that it is one of only 2 churches in all of the U.S. that has an ‘occupied’ crypt. I also learned that the United First Parish Church was recently awarded a preservation grant of $80,000 to restore its clock tower and the public corridor which leads to the Adams crypt. 😮 

bead painting Abigail Adams quincy art association historical society competition beadwork bead embroiderySemi-beaded portrait of Abigail Adams. Bead embroidery on felt.
4.5″ x 2.5″. Work in progress.

So, why a beaded portrait of Abigail Adams? Because she is the focus of an upcoming visual arts competition called ‘Abigail in Perspective‘ presented by the Quincy Art Association & The Quincy Historical Society. Entries must be “original artwork & reflect a representation of or a sense of Abigail Adams.” Accepted mediums include, oil, acrylic, pastel, sculpture, & mixed media. Sounds like a great opportunity for me to participate in my local arts community once again! I’d better get beading! 😀

>Hidden Beads


Interestingly, the day that President Obama was on his way to Buchenwald, Germany, I visited my local bead shop where I discovered a mass of vintage German glass beads!

beaded White House vintage West German glass beads Barack Obama pop art beading beadwork blog

I had gone to Beaucoup Beads looking for small glass leaves to use in my beaded White House painting. I thought I would probably find some Czech glass leaves, but I really didn’t see any! So, I mentioned to the shop owner that I was looking for leaves. He said he had some vintage German beads hidden in the back, and came out with two boxes full of beautiful leaves in all different colours! Immediately, I could see that they are different than Czech glass beads, so I picked out the few strands that you can see in the photo above.

I mentioned that I don’t think I’ve ever owned West German beads before, at least not to my knowledge. I really didn’t know much about the history of glass bead-making in Germany at all. The conversation then led to the subject of WWII. During the war, many bead factories in Czechoslovakia and West Germany were forced to close down. Any beads that were made during or prior to that time were hidden for many years, and it seems that they are just now re-surfacing. It makes me wonder how many more of these beads are still hidden… 😮