Cell phone covers, miniature boxes, necklaces, and ceiling fan pulls, Shari Bonnin makes them all with beads. "When people say accessories, I think, 'Can I make it out of beads?'
The mother of two discovered beading about three years ago while watching a television program about the craft. She quickly fell in love with the hobby that requires a steady hand, patience and an eye for style. "The combinations of colors just inspired me to do things,' she said. Bonnin, who labels her work Bonnin Designs, said she went to one beading workshop when she first started but learned more about the craft on the Web. "The Internet is just a huge classroom,'she said.
Flamenco dancing, Bonnin's other artistic interest, motivated her to design bead jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, and flower barrettes especially for herself and her fellow dancers. Kathy Lawitz, a flamenco dancer, said flamenco jewelry is difficult to find because authentic pieces can only be found in Spain. "I wear a lot of her jewelry when I perform because it works well with the costuming,' she said. "She is a dancer, and she knows what works.'
Bonnin said actresses on prime-time television shows such as "Becker' and "Yes, Dear' have also worn her jewelry.
Bonnin gave up her job as an occupational therapist two years ago to pursue her beading interests full time, selling her handmade jewelry and accessories on the Web and at specialty shops. "Some of the beading she does is more intricate than I have seen with anyone else,' said Diane Heller, co-owner of Heusso Gallery in Palm Springs, CA. "People can string beads together, but she is an artist.'
Jane Myers, owner of J.D. Myers Bodywears in Redlands, CA, said she was also impressed with Bonnin's detailed work. "She takes these small beads and winds them together into wonderful patterns,' Myers said. "It's beautiful work,' Myers said. "You have to appreciate how long it takes." Bonnin said a detailed piece can take her hours or even days to complete as she weaves wax-coated silk thread through beads the size of pin heads. "Everything I make is very personal to me, so it's hard for me to let it go."
Shari Bonnin's work can be found at www.bonnindesigns.com
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