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About the Artist

Laura Jean McCabe is a primarily self-taught beadweaver with an education in historical costume reproduction and restoration, and anthropology. She produces elaborately beaded body adornment that combines Native American, African Zulu, and Victorian beadweaving techniques with modern materials and color schemes. She exhibits her work in national and international beadwork exhibitions, and sells her finished work throughout the United States and the world and through this website: www.LauraMcCabeArt.com. She maintains a studio in Old Mystic, Connecticut, and teaches beading workshops domestically and abroad.

Artist’s Statement:

For centuries those creative acts that have been most often associated with body adornment rarely have been accorded the status of Art. While beadwork has existed in virtually every culture throughout the world since the beginnings of modern man, and has played a significant role both spiritually (with amuletic properties) and socially (as an indicator of status), it is generally viewed as a functional craft rather than an Art form in its own right.

Beads and beadwork have, throughout time, maintained a universal appeal that links people across cultures and across the ages. Beads date back more than 40,000 years, and are a uniquely human phenomenon, not found amongst other primates or even earlier human species. In addition to serving the human needs of vanity, adornment, and social status, beads have a deeper, more spiritual aspect. They have provided us good fortune, protection from evil forces, and a link to a more spiritual realm (both through prayer beads and elaborately beaded ritual body adornment).

From early hunter gatherers in the pre-agricultural age, to the Ancient Worlds of Egypt, Greece and Rome, onto Renaissance Europe, Tribal Africa, the Orient, Native America, the Victorian Period, and up through the Modern Era, beadwork has represented an uninterrupted tradition throughout time amongst virtually every culture on Earth. In a world of human differences, beadwork is a common link, fulfilling the most fundamental human needs.

It is in this history of ancient traditions, spiritual importance, timeless handcraft, and human commonality that the Art of Beads can be found. They represent more than precision handwork, personal adornment, or social significance. Each bead, beneath its lustrous surface, tells an age old story of human fear, human desire, and the human need for beauty.
By drawing on my education in historical costume and textiles and applying variations of Native American, African Zulu, and Victorian beading techniques to contemporary colors and designs, I strive to create beaded body adornment that celebrates and reincarnates the dying tradition of fine handcrafts, and helps to elevate beadwork to the status of Art which it undeniably deserves.