hand painted beads info....
As mentioned in the artist profile, I began painting beads while at Art School in Queensland, Australia in1984. I had always had a love of graphic patterns and
colour and was finding working only with metal in jewellery design quite limiting for the ideas I had. Also finding that I was none to happy working with flame,
was going to cause considerable problems especially to my fingers.
So with some porcelain clay from my Ceramics class, I rolled up some beads, let them dry, then because I wanted clean sharp lines and crisp colours I painted
them with gouache. Obviousy they could not be fired in the kiln, so I coated them with a polyeurophane to protect them when they got wet. The designs started
out very simple, polka dots, zig-zags, stripes but quickly evolved into much more intricate patterns derived from decorative patterns from cultures all over the
world. I was particularly interested in the geometric patterns of North American Indians especially the Hopi, beautifully hand painted clay vessels. Later the
fluidity of Arabesque style design influenced my work greatly, particuarly when I moved up to painting jewellery boxes and th ultimately furiture. Some of these
pieces you will find on my Facebook page Caroline Trask Jewel Garden.
At first I used the painted beads purely for patterns and colour blocks, in simple strands for necklaces and earrings. Gradually I would work out set designs then
repeat them, say ten pairs at a time. My "one-of-a-kind" beads however could take many hours to paint usually long into the night. Quite mesmerising a small
little bead. I always paint holding the bead in my left hand between my thumb and index finger and have to rest it on my knee. It is the only way I have been able
to exercise the control I require. This is a much asked question about how I actually paint them, interesting some of the theories people have had.
Back in 1985 my parents went on a trip to China and brought me home some pig bristle caligraphy brushes of varying sizes and this is the type of brush I have
used since. I ditched all my expensive brushes in favour of these. I generally use the one brush for everything until it completely disintergrates, sometimes there
are only a few bristles left and they are perfect. Always annoying when I have to break in a new brush, takes a while until it's flowing just right. Perfect for
gouache, I get the paint to just the right consistency, load up the brush and it acts like a well.
I continued to paint on unfired porcelain for several years ( many of these beads are still in existance today) and if looked after still look the same, no fading of
colour, only something time would tell. I changed to painting on wood in 1987, it enabled me to paint much larger beads as they weren't so heavy. My work really
evolved at this time as I started to incorporate collected and antique beads with the painted beads. Check the collectable beads page of the site for information
on these, it will be evolving so stay tuned.