bead bits

by jill caruso wagner

artist statement ♥ 

My name is Jill Caruso Wagner and I live in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. I have been beading since 1995 and my love of beading grows each time I pick up my beading needle & thread and begin to create a new piece. In the last few years I have been working with wire & metals as well. The process of stamping, hammering and shaping metals is a fabulous stress buster. Switching between and combining the two medias has been creatively challenging and lots of fun.

I began an interest in beading by picking up a free beaded earring project at a local craft store. My first official class in beading was at Embellishments in Portland, Oregon. Bead & Button Magazine was a co-sponsor at the time and I took a netted necklace class from Cynthia Rutledge. Poor Cynthia! I hadn't a clue on how to thread those teensy beading needles and she had to help me numerous times in class. What patience! I highly recommend you take a class from her if you ever get the chance. She is not only incredibly talented, she is so very patient and a superb teacher. You leave her classes inspired and amazingly knowledgeable in how to bead. I truly owe my love of beads to her. Thank you, Cynthia! :)

Bead & Button parted ways with Embellishment in 2000 and created their own show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was fabulous for me since Milwaukee is about an hour away from me. No more money spent on air fare which means more money for BEADS! I have been taking classes and shopping at this event ever since. I've taken beading/wireworking classes from Diane Fitzgerald, Susan Lenart Kazmer, NanC Meinhardt, Donna Zaidenberg, Alethia Donathan, Lisa Niven Kelly, Barb Switzer, Sheila Cleary, Don Pierce, Dallas Lovett, Carol Cypher and many more. In polymer clay, I've been lucky to take classes from Kathleen Dustin, Donna Kato, Nan Roche, Lindly Haunani, Sarah Shriver, Pier Voulkos, Klew (Karen Lewis), and Marie Segal.

I recommend to everyone even remotely interested in beads to take a class and join in the bead mania. You will not be sorry.