Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Reaching for the Stars…One Bead At A Time

Patricia Vener has lived a fascinating life spanning several careers; an accomplished and published writer, and retired ballerina, she also holds a Masters Degree in Astrophysics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY. She worked as an astronomer and still teaches astronomy as an adjunct professor for University of Maryland University College.)

Her earliest influence was the beadwork and textiles she saw in a Native American exhibit at the local museum on Rochester New York as a young child. Captivated by color and texture, Patricia became interested in Color Theory, inspired by the work of Impressionist painters and such Art Nouveau artists as Alphonse Maria Mucha, Paul Berthon, among others.

Given her background it is not surprising that she chose bead-weaving using tiny glass seed beads as her jewelry specialty, an array of techniques in which mathematical precision is an asset, and patience is a virtue, although her work clearly shows a sense of grace without being overly geometric or constrained.

Using Peyote Stitch, right-angle weave, and a number of netting stitches, the artist typically creates a woven flat base upon which she builds, layering it with various embellishments for texture. Many of her necklaces are elaborate bead-woven collars that celebrities and other VIPs would die for if they only knew about them.

In “Complementary “, ruffles around the neck are reminiscent of Victorian coiffure, while the brightly contrasting purple and orange color scheme and circular centerpiece look distinctly African-influenced. I particularly like what she’s done with this one, blending design elements from two so disparate cultures together within the same piece. Materials include; Seed beads, bugles, triangle beads, malachite chips and a vintage rhinestones. This necklace will appear in a print ad in Ornament Magazine during the months of October, December and March.

Angle Waves” is a lovely pair of earrings in brown and very pale pink with a zigzagging pattern which evokes a feeling of excitement and liveliness, culminating in a spray of fringe at the bottom. They retail for a very reasonable $25.00!

“Red Sky at Night” incorporates exquisite sunset colors in a Russian Peyote Stitch woven in a dramatic V-shape. These epitomize elegance and grace and would make a gorgeous gift for the holidays.

Patricia’s business, Silver Dragon Creations has two web-presences; on on Etsy and the other, a free-standing website. Those of you who have only seen her work on Etsy are really missing out on a treat, as she currently has most of her best work on her other site although she is working more of her elaborate pieces in gradually.

She belongs to the International Jewelry Designers Guild as well as the local Baltimore Bead Society.

Beadwoven jewelry has historically been under-appreciated mostly due to lack of public education about its value. Jewelry like this is worth a lot more than the traditional mark-up normally placed on other styles. It is a skill that takes years to master, so money spent on it is money well-spent. Part of its value is because often this type of jewelry is not mass-produced as you might see in jewelry that is casted, fabricated with a torch, wire-wrapped, or strung.

To see everything and to purchase please check out
and see more of her masterpieces here;

A wide variety of payment options exist, and she currently offers free shipping inside the US.

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