Guest Artists

Guest Artists

The Museum of Beadwork has a dedicated space to highlight the work of current distinguished artists in the field of beadwork. This exhibition area includes a classroom for masterclasses and workshops taught by these extraordinary craftspeople. The opening of many of these exhibitions includes a special opportunity for visitors to join the artists for a weekend of learning and exploration.

Currently on offer in our Gallery:


Nick Heller grew up in the Village in New York City, and has been creating art his entire life without any formal training. For many years he pursued a career as a furniture and cabinet maker, and also wrote and illustrated a number of children's books. Then while on vacation in Quebec City in 2014, he visited an exhibit at the Museum of Civilization, In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st Century Haitian Art. Among the extraordinarily powerful works on display were several Voudou beaded flags. He found those pieces so inspiring that he put down the abstract pencil drawing that he had been working on and never picked it up again. 

Before discovering this medium, Heller was frustrated by his inability to express his feelings about the social and environmental problems that face mankind. Now he describes working with beads and sequins as one of the best things that ever happened to him—akin to making a painting using a different kind of paint. You can see more of his work on his website, Hoq Est Quod Video (This Is What I See), at


Melissa Grakowsky Shippee studied physics and art in college but turned her attention to beads when motherhood changed the direction of her life. She is a published beadwork designer who teaches workshops internationally, contributes regularly to books and magazines, illustrates diagrams for other instructors, and has won multiple awards for her bead artistry, including Beadwork Magazine’s Designer of the Year.

She is the author of the full-length instructional beading books I Can Herringbone and Beautiful Beadwork from Nature, a contributor to the book Beading All-Stars: 20 Jewelry Projects from Your Favorite Designers, and has been featured in publications such as Beadwork Magazine, Bead & Button Magazine, Bead Star Magazine, and Perlen Poesie. See more of her work at her website,

Shippee will hold a special design and technique workshop on beaded masks in the summer of 2024, in preparation for the Museum of Beadwork’s planned masquerade ball, coming October 2024.

Here are a few more artists who have expressed interest in exhibiting at the Museum of Beadwork:

Betsy Youngquist has always been fascinated with the intersection of humans, animals and mythology. Her creative pursuits are centered on exploring those connections. Beads form the backbone of the materials she uses. When creating these embellished objects, she collaborates with sculptor R. Scott Long in designing and constructing the forms. Each piece starts as a unique carving. The surfaces are encrusted with beads and found materials, often incorporating fragments of old porcelain dolls. Enjoy more of her work at

Cindy Holsclaw has dabbled in crafts for longer than she can remember, but she’s always been most fond of geometric structures. After many years of exploring these mathematical forms in modular origami, in 2006 she learned that these structures could also be made with beads. From then on, she was hooked! In 2009 Cindy started writing patterns for her own beading designs, and in 2012 she dove into designing and teaching beadwork full-time. Cindy has taught at the Bead & Button, Bead Fest, and BABE! shows as well as at several bead stores and bead societies around the country. When not on the road, Cindy makes her home in San Diego, California with her musician husband and baby daughter. You can see more of her work on her website:

Cliff Swain-Salomon is an off-the-loom seed bead weaver known for creating non-traditional jewelry shapes and pushing the boundaries of color exploration. After injuring and losing use of both of his hands for over three years, he began beading when a friend recommended he try it as part of his hand rehabilitation therapy. He has exhibited his work internationally, including at the Toho Bead Galleries in Osaka and Tokyo Japan. Several publications have featured his jewelry including Beadwork Magazine, Facet Jewelry, Style Magazine, and Bead & Button, to name a few. You can explore more of his work on his website:

Cynthia Rutledge is a contemporary artist and teacher focusing on beadwork as her medium. She specializes in peyote stitch and off-loom weaving techniques with an emphasis on developing sculptural unsupported shapes in beadwork. Her work has been exhibited in national and international shows and has appeared in Nicolette Stessin's Beaded Amulet Purses, Carol Taylor's Creative Bead Jewelry, and Carol Wilcox Wells' Creative Bead Weaving: A Contemporary Guide to Classic Off-Loom Stitches, as well as on her website:

A self-proclaimed “beadist”, Jan Huling coats the surfaces of found objects with brightly colored seed beads. Through surface design and elaborate patterns, she recontextualizes familiar objects, masking original forms to add whimsy and transform the mundane into something special. Inspired by a fascination with indigenous cultures, mythologies, and pop culture, Jan’s patterns echo tessellating African textiles, Southeast Asian Buddhist architectural ornamentation, and Mexican embroidery. Working with an air pen to place beads, as well as buttons, coins, tokens, and similar found objects, Jan adorns any object that catches her eye, and creates approachable, evocative objects that elevate the everyday. Enjoy seeing more of her work at

Laura Jean McCabe is a primarily self taught beadweaver with an education in historical costume reproduction and restoration, and anthropology. She produces elaborately beaded body adornment that combines Native American, African, and Victorian beadweaving techniques with modern materials and color schemes. She exhibits her work in national and international beadwork exhibitions, and sells her finished work at boutiques and galleries throughout the United States, as well as through her website: She maintains a working studio in the Mystic Area, Connecticut, and teaches beading workshops across the US and throughout the world.

Melissa G Shippee got into bead weaving in her early twenties after her son was born and she now travels all over the United States and to select countries around the world to share her love of beading. She teaches workshops, designs projects to sell as kits and patterns for both her online shop and in her workshops, and she produces illustrations for other artists in the industry. You can see more of her designs as well as kits and patterns on her website:

Nancy Josephson has spent much of her life mining whimsical, beautiful and often controversial subjects. Much of her visual storytelling is based around the beauty and meaning of sacred objects. The spiritual connection of art and object is a constant source of interest and art making to her, and her travels around the country and the world have been a profound source of information and inspiration. Her work (whether sacred or secular) is imbued with joy, sparkle, beauty and an ironic touch of humor. Explore her designs on her website:

Sherry Serafini was voted one of the top 10 instructors in the United States by Bead & Button magazine. She lectures and teaches throughout the world. She has been published and has written articles for several well-known magazines. Sherry’s beaded art is known internationally and has been worn by Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, pro golfer Michelle Wie and singer Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. Visit her website to learn more about her work.