Spirit House

People’s Choice Award, Bead Dreams 2018


Inspired by the Japanese Tea Garden of San Francisco, as well as the Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong, Spirit House is a tribute to the stone structures within these gardens that “house” the spirits of those who tend to them and of love ones who have passed on. This cuff-and-slave-bracelet highlights several elements of the gardens, including koi fish, dragonflies, bamboo thickets, bridges, and cherry blossom trees. To represent the connection to the spirit world, the fish and dragonfly each have one bezeled eye and are symbolic of some of my family members who were killed by a drunk driver in 2002. A technique common to the gardens, “hide and reveal,” is present throughout each angle of the bracelet: with every turn, a new scene emerges, yet one seamlessly transitions into the next. The top of the piece represents rigid, man-made structures, pristine in their execution. Working toward the bottom, the components become more freeform and organic, allowing bead movement and thread color/exposure to display the natural arrangement, sacred geometry, and flow of nature.

In order to stay with the organic nature of the piece, only natural stones were used in combination with the glass beads. That is why the piece avoids using Swarovski or Preciosa elements. After nearly 250-300 hours of planning/experimenting and another 400+ hours of stitching over 45,000 beads, “Spirit House,” was born.

Materials Used

Round gem cut Morganite (center of cherry blossoms), Sphene (deep center of the lotus), and Garnet (roof ornament); gem beads and semi-precious beads Arizona Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, pearls (round and keshi), red coral, Sapphires (pink and yellow), Ruby, Onyxe, Fire Opal, and Jade; Handblown glass eyes; Beads used: Aiko, Delica, Miyuki and Toho 15/0 and 11/0 round beads, 15/0 Czech Charlottes (24kt gold and Marcasite), 15/0 Japanese Charlottes. solid 14kt gold multi-strand tube clasp, 14kt gold hand-formed hairpin clasp



Peyote (flat, tubular, diagonal, two-drop, freeform, and round), Ndebele (flat, tubular, flat-spiral and tubular-spiral), CRAW, PRAW, MRAW, RAW, brick stitch, ladder, square stitch, stitch in the ditch, fringe, and bezeling. Hairpin clasp fabrication includes rolling mill, hammering, grinding and polishing. Invented 3 new CGB shapes including Stacked half horns, beams and wave splashes.