No Strings

Beads in a Modern Context

21 March – 13 September 2020

The first glass beads were made one at a time by winding hot glass around a metal rod. To support a faster and greater production process, molten glass was blown and drawn out to form long, hollow tubes, which were cooled and cut into small, even beads (rocaille). In the 15th century, this technique was refined by the master glassmakers on Murano in Italy to make tiny beads for embroidery, an industry which continued well into the 20th century in Italy, Czechoslovakia, Germany and France. Today, glass beads are primarily made in countries including India, the Czech Republic, Japan, China and Taiwan.

‘No Strings’ features the work of seven international artists working with glass beads in unconventional ways. The exhibition will include a beaded burger and coke by Faranak Sohi, an evening dress made using beads and safety pins by Shige Fujishiro and a beaded chicken showing his gymnastic prowess on the rings by Felieke van der Leest.

Caroline Broadhead (Britain) has worked with glass beads to make work including a piece with painterly qualities that has both intricate and distorted detail.

David Chatt (USA) encases items in beads to make everyday items jewel like.

Shige Fujishiro (Germany/Japan) creates an extraordinary range of objects using safety pins and glass beads. His work includes highly detailed recreations of carrier bags making the non-precious precious.

Ran Hwang (South Korea/ USA) has used a technique that draws on eastern meditative values to create an image of an object with western origins.

Felieke van der Leest (Norway/The Netherlands) is a jeweller who combines crochet and beadwork to make her exquisite, unique and humorous work.

Jim Skull (France), in line with his name, has created a range of skulls adorned with glass beads.

Faranak Sohi (Demark/Iran) recreates objects and images of everyday items adding new meaning and value.


Image: Prairie Pioneer, 2012, Felieke van der Leest / Photographer: Eddo Hartmann