Hi, I'm Leslie. I've been an illustrator, freelance writer, fiber artist and clothing designer, but for the past 10 years I've been working as a bead artist, teacher, author and jewelry designer. What began as a chance encounter with beads led me down a path to become the editor in chief of a bead magazine, creator of Doodlebeads videos, a Create Your Style with Swarovski ambassador, a Beadalon design team member, guest expert instructor on TV shows, and to have dozens of my jewelry designs and articles about making jewelry published.
I run the business Sleepless Beader with one of my sisters. We travel to teach workshops of my original designs and Sleeplessbeader.com sells tutorials and kits plus other cool stuff for beaders. It's a great partnership, left brain, right brain. Guess which one I am? Actually, Deb knows several stitches but I am not learning Quickbooks, though I do have organizational skills as you see in this photo. Here's the cuff on top of my dress form in a tidy corner of my studio. (The other cuff is a clue to this cuff's next destination!)
The best parts of the beading path are the amazing companions I have gained along the way. It was one of these friends, Lea Zinke, who passed along the San Francisco Cuff to me upon hearing I'd lost my Mom. I was grateful to have such a distraction, and knew I would bring the cuff for a karmic exchange to places that meant something to my mom as well as to me.
I live just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My mom had been a guide at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for 30 years so I first took the cuff to the museum, which sits atop a hill overlooking a most picturesque view of the city.
Here I am sitting at the desk where my mother so often sat to greet visitors and wait for her tours to arrive. Behind me on the wall hangs a Chagall my mom loved, one of four backdrops painted for the 1942 Ballet Theatre of New York (now the American Ballet Theatre) production of Aleko.
Most people know about the Rocky statue that sits at the foot of the art museum's monumental steps, the ones Stallone runs up in the movie. Love it or hate it, the statue is a symbol of personal triumph in the face of adversity. I thought this connected to the ideals in the traveling bracelet project, so here's me wearing the cuff in a traditional Philly photo opp; a couple tourists were happy to take the shot.
Facing west of the city from the museum I stood in a gazebo overlooking the Schuylkill River, setting for many depictions of rowers by the American painter Charles Eakins. The river is famous for hosting the sport of crew races; you can see the various crew clubs of Boat House Row buildings clustered on the right bank beyond the waterfall. Behind the buildings in the photo (but across the river) you can just see the white top of the sightseeing balloon at America's first zoo, The Philadelphia Zoo.
I have family living in Lancaster, home to the Amish Pennsylvania Dutch. I took the cuff to a local historic center where the attendant Roberta was kind enough to let the bracelet visit with this Amish doll inside a showcase. Outside was a sign saying, "May Peace be in our Homes and Communities."
Back home, the obligatory pet-wearing-jewelry shot. This is Tai. She's purring away though she looks annoyed.
My main DIY business is Sleepless Beader which I do with one of my sisters, Deb Mudrick. We teach workshops of my original designs and sell our tutorials, kits, and more at bead shows and www.sleeplessbeader.com. It's a great partnership, left brain, right brain, with a little crossover. I wish everyone had a Deb! Sorry this cuff never made it to any of our shows. I hope I get another sent to me for some bead show adventures.
I couldn’t hope to imbue this cuff with more love and joy to pass along than I feel when I am with my husband Mike and daughter Jenna! Mike's a graphic designer and illustrator, and Jenna is a musical theater triple threat, an Emerson College student at the time of this blog. Their sites: www.eyewashweb.com, check out Jenna on You Tube, and her visual art at gryffindor-girl.deviantart.com/. The art comes from both families: mine stems from my mom, her mom, and my aunt too. Deep gene pools are a gift we value.
I wanted to send my cuff on to someplace no bracelet had gone before, to someone who is making the world a better place. My high school friend Robin Landis has been living in Nairobi, Africa and helps to feed people as well as ensure the welfare of animals. The "hint" cuff I mentioned is from Kenya. I can't wait to see Robin's photos.
Lea sent me this cuff to help me through a time of loss, but I gained so much by using the bracelet as the prop to share my corner of the world.
Peace and creativity to all!