PTBO Makes is back this week and I’m featuring not only a talented maker BUT a great friend! Beadness is an incredible chainmaille and bead artist who has been a friend of mine for over 10 years! Yeah, we’ve known each other for a really long time! She’s also my booth partner for the Hand of Man craft show during the holiday season! I’m so excited she is sharing her work with you today because I absolutely adore everything she creates!
I’m Vanessa, but most people call me Ness. I love beads, so my business name is BeadNess. I live in Peterborough with my sweetie of 10 years, and our 3 black cats. I’m a retail worker by day, and jewellery maker by night! I’ve had blue hair for the better part of 13 years now, and I’ll never grow tired of it! I’m also an avid concert-goer, 223 concerts so far, and 339 different artists. When I’m not crafting, I can be found with my camera and tripod, taking photos of lightning, or planes landing at the airport, although luckily never at the same time!
What inspired you to start Beadness?
I make jewelry and accessories with tiny beads, and also chainmaille techniques. Sometimes I am able to combine both types of materials, which is extra fun!
I started BeadNess in it’s early form around 1993, when family and friends started offering to buy jewelry pieces from me. It has evolved through the years from vending at the local flea market, to selling in consignment shops, to local craft shows, and Pride festivals. I opened my online shop in 2013.
When did you learn your craft?
When I was a kid, there was a bead shop next door to the little cafe that my Mum worked at, so I was always in there shopping and learning from the owner, she was pretty cool to take the time and show this shy quiet little kid something fun! Then as most teen girls, I was into friendship bracelets, and I never lost that need to be creative. I was given a Native bead loom, and learned the styles and techniques of Indigenous bead artists from many different areas of Canada.
I picked up chainmaille as a new craft in 2010, after going to a large bead supply show in Toronto, looking for some inspiration! I was intrigued by the tiny metal rings woven together in such intricate patterns, so I bought a few different kits, the necessary two pairs of pliers, and was off and running. The internet has been a valuable resource in searching for new inspiration, patterns, instructions, and help and support from other crafters.
What is your favourite thing to make and why?
A common theme to my designs is rainbows. Whenever I start a new piece, I always end up making rainbows. My eye just wants rainbows! I have to try really hard to use colour schemes that aren’t red/orange/yellow/green/blue/purple. As a result, my work is well loved at Pride Festivals in Toronto and in Peterborough. These have become my favourite events to take part in, and I look forward to them every year.
I think that bracelets are my favourite thing to make, they are a jewelry item that anyone can wear. I am always wearing at least one bracelet that I’ve made. Right now I am into delica beads, which are tiny cylinder shaped beads, perfectly uniform in size and shape, and they fit together so smoothly, it’s very satisfying.
What is one thing you would love to learn to do?
I have always loved writing, and even started a novel back in high school, which unfortunately remains unfinished. I’d love to have the proper training and discipline to finish that novel, and write more!
Tell me us a random fact that most people don’t know!
My great-uncle was Larry Grayson, who was a famous celebrity in England many years ago, my whole family is extremely proud of his career and accomplishments.
One of my favourite things about following Vanessa on Instagram (and watching her at shows) is seeing the behind the scenes work on her chainmaille and beading. Watching all those rings turn into 3D objects or shapes is truly mesmerizing!
You can see more of Vanessa’s work all over the web:
I offer shipping within Canada and the USA, and can arrange local pickups as well, just contact me to set something up!
Thank you Vanessa for giving us an insider look into your work and your creative talents! I will forever be mind blown watching you work with those tiny rings! Who else is in awe of her colour play?
If you’re a maker in or around Peterborough, Ontario and want to be featured, fill out this FORM and I will do my best to be in touch! Be sure to tag your photos on Instagram with #PTBOMakes and #MadeInPTBO so I can see your local makes! (Check out my profile while you are there!)