Wendy Ellsworth creates art bead by tiny bead and with a seemingly endless variety of colors, shapes and textures at her fingertips, her palette appears unlimited.
“I consider myself a color artist, with beads representing tiny photons of colored light which can be woven together to form infinite patterns of beauty and delight,” Ellsworth said. “My approach to color is intuitive, a felt-sense of what different color combinations feel like together in the moment of creating with them.”
Wendy Ellsworth: A Passion for Beads opens at the Museum on Sunday, Jan. 14. At 1 p.m. she will participate in a lecture and question-and-answer session with her husband, David Ellsworth, a master woodturner who also has a solo exhibition at HAM opening that day. The show’s opening reception will follow at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome to both events.
For Ellsworth, beading is a meditative process and a spiritual journey of self-discovery. In her book, Beading – the Creative Spirit, Ellsworth discusses how beading and her spiritual path are intricately linked. “As I sit and weave with my beads, I allow the Creative Spirit to flow through me, and though my hands are doing the work, another force is actively participating in the process. This force is a transmission of Spirit that fills me with deep inner peace and joy as I bead.”
Among the works included in the exhibition is Ellsworth’s most complex beaded creation, Tanjung Datu. In this piece, she utilized shapes created out of beads in a blown-glass base, with each element woven using a different bead-weaving technique in a free-form manner.
“It combines a harmony of colors, meant to mimic the experience of diving at a coral reef and seeing the variety of living forms that cling to it,” Ellsworth noted.
The exhibition also features Resisting the Mirror from her Stick Figure Series. “I found a stick in the forest and wove the entire surface with seed beads,” Ellsworth explained. “The fragility of the wood is meant to mirror the fragility of life. As well, the piece is meant to represent how I feel when someone I know — usually one of my kids — tells me to take a serious look at myself in the mirror, and the contortions I sometimes go through in resistance to doing that.”
Ellsworth’s art can be found in collections of the Museum of Art and Design in New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as private collections across the country. Her work has also been featured in exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum, the Arrowmont School of Crafts in Tennessee and the Pebble Hill Gallery in Doylestown, Pa.
She is a frequent contributor to such publications as Beadwork and Bead & Button, and teaches classes at leading craft centers, bead shops, major bead shows and at gatherings of state bead societies nationwide.
In 2003, Ellsworth was ordained as an Interfaith Minister through the School of Sacred Ministries in Doylestown, Pa. Wendy Ellsworth: A Passion for Beads runs until April 22, 2018.
The Museum is at 7 Lower Center St. in Clinton, New Jersey, 08809. Our website is www.hunterdonartmuseum.org and our telephone number is 908-735-8415. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm and suggested admission is $5.