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.

August 4th, 2023 to June 8th, 2024. Nick Heller


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


April 5th, 2024 to September 8th, 2024. Rebecca Ann Combs


Exploring the intersection of color, math, and engineering, Rebecca Ann Combs has been pushing the bounds of what is possible in beaded kumihimo for more than sixteen years. She came upon the art of kumihimo after opening a bead store in her native Arizona, finding its structure and intricacies both calming and rich with possibilities. The rules, rhythm, and patterning of kumihimo satisfy her need for control in an out-of-control world, and now manifests in increasingly complex designs. 

Combs is the author of three best-selling kumihimo books, Kumihimo Basics & Beyond, Kumihimo Braiding with Beads, and Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified. Although she warns all of her readers and students that kumihimo is addictive, she delights in getting them hooked. Lauded for detailed, clear instructions, Combs teaches beading retreats and workshops internationally. 

When she isn’t braiding you’ll find her enjoying afternoon tea or hiking in the Arizona wilderness. Find her kits and teaching schedule at


June 14th, 2024 to December 2024. Laura McCabe  

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.

September 13th, 2024 to February 2025. Holly Bean

I come from an artistic family. My mother was an accomplished basket weaver and needle point artist. Her animal needle point designs were my inspiration in creating
animals with seed beads. I began my beading journey 30 years ago; bead weaving fringe earrings for a local store. I put beading away for awhile while I raised my two sons and developed my 20 year career with the YMCA. In 2014, I discovered bead embroidery; my passion for design ignited. I have since taught myself different techniques and also learned from some skilled masters. I’ve been teaching bead embroidery since 2016 at my local bead store, and across the country at bead societies, retreats, shops and on Zoom. I never want to stop learning and creating; I feel so fortunate to be able to create and inspire from my home studio in Virginia.


March 2025 to August 2025. Sabrina Frey

I am a full time award winning artist dedicated to expanding the artistic possibilities of my chosen medium, Glass Beads. Thinking beyond traditional beading methods of the past, I've developed many innovative techniques for highlighting the beads personality. As a nature lover, I use my beads to represent life by creating highly detailed representational art of animals, landscapes and the elements.  The beading techniques I have developed allow me to create immersive and tactile mosaics that embody the DNA of each piece. As with nature, they are a diverse aggregate of smaller parts that make one cohesive and unique body.

Protecting the world I love is also a priority, so I use many repurposed materials such as cabinet doors and serving trays to create my art work. These sturdy bases are given new life and add to the uniqueness of each piece. As a former academic, I enjoy sharing my discoveries with others and have played a major part in expanding and growing interest in bead mosaics.


September 2025 to February 2026. Betsy Youngquist

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


March 2026 to August 2026. Cliff Swain-Salomon

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: