Jan Huling’s booth at last week’s SOFA Expo caught my eye with its vibrant colors and interesting sculpture. But it wasn’t until I got closer that I realized everything was covered in beads! Gazillions of them. Tiny, tiny beads only a few times the size of large grains of sand.
Jan Huling calls herself "The Beadist" and beads just about every interesting object she can get her hands on: guitars, matchstick boxes, tables, teapots, Buddha statues, a box of mannequin hands she bought off a friend, the list goes on and on…
Her website warns “she is liable to bead anything that stands still.” I secretly kick myself for not holding my breath or standing still enough during the interview.
Jan’s designs are so intricate and well designed, with a seemingly perfect placement of every single bead. Had someone like Jan Huling showed up at Career Day decades ago when I was in middle school, I surely would have chosen a different career. Why didn't anyone tell me that "Beader" was a viable option?
Here is what ART Punctuate found out about Jan Huling during an interview with “The Beadist.”
- Most of the things she beads are found objects. She says, “I always have my eye open for a good shape.”
- She was inspired to start beading after her sister beaded a Pez Dispenser. Jan joined her sibling on the "beading bandwagon" and first beaded several Kazoos.
- She quit her day job two years ago because she knew that in order to build a complete body of work she would have to “bead” full time.
- A signature trademark on her beaded birds, dolls and animals? A fancy beaded booty-hole, "just in case they need to poo.”
- Jan is now represented by the Lyons Wier Gallery after participating in the The ART Bazaar where she sold $10,000 worth of beaded sculptures in 10 hours .
- She was a commercial artist for 30 years, including time spent at Hallmark as a greeting card designer.
- She turned down a full-time job with Avon after 9/11, to pursue her passion, not because Avon isn't completely fabulous and wonderful, but because "life is too short to go out working for someone else."
- One object Jan beaded that was not a "found object", was a mold her husband, who is also an artist, made for her in the shape of a human heart (I guess you could say "she beaded his heart...lol")
I checked out Jan's website and particularly liked "Beaded Mao Shelf" and "Bad Baby". I speculate that a woman who can bead this intricately must be disciplined, organized and head-smart, but also judging by her subject matter (and the silver studded booty-holes) whimsical, fun and open-minded. If my thoughts are correct, a very nice combination indeed.
Jan Huling not only seems to love what she does, she looks like she loves what she does. Youthful and effervescent, I have a hard time believing she has been a commercial artist for 30 years. Goes to show, do what you love and the beauty will follow.
When I ask her what’s the best thing about being an artist, she takes a moment to think….but then perks up and quickly replies “It’s Sexy!”
I have to say, I couldn’t agree more.