MY FIRST ACT
Started with stringing necklaces around age five. And I don’t mean the macaroni kind. Not for a young artist with such lofty goals as mine. I mean real grown-up glass, glass pearls, metal and crystal beads. It wasn’t long before I decided that I could make my own beads. Clay was my medium of choice, sculpy to be exact. By age 10, my necklaces were winning blue ribbons in the school art fairs. I discovered the art of ceramic clay in high school and gathered up some more blue ribbons. I continued my formal education in ceramics and graduated from the Illinois Institute of Art. In 1988, I set up a studio on a lake in Three Rivers and never stopped. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Contemporary Art Museum of Houston and various boutiques sold my work until my big career in advertising took center stage.
MY SECOND ACT
One year as an exhibitor at the Bead & Button Show and I was hooked! I now teach classes at the show. After 30 years of perfecting styles and palettes, developing technique and process, my ceramic beads are once again center stage and better than ever. My time as a fashion layout artist, an advertising director for the blue chips and a color specialist contributes to the unique and sophisticated complexion of my ceramic beads. I knew the colors, glazes and kiln temperatures so well that it was just a matter of experimentation until I found a process that I call the Prestablend™ for achieving an incredible depth and luminosity of color. People tell me they fall in love with my beads because there is so much interaction on the bead. Prestablend™ beads are full of life, energy and spirit…like me!
HOW I MAKE THE BEADS
Old fashioned just may be the best way to describe my core process. I was educated classically and love the simple organic approach to clay. Although there’s lots of mechanical assistance available today, the beads that speak to me the most are rolled by hand from a tiny ball of clay or formed with my fingers. Another fave of mine, for which I’m well known, are my garlic press beads that I press through an ordinary kitchen gadget and drape around a straw. Beads are bisque fired in a kiln, underglazed, overglazed and fired a second time. Sometimes I will add a luster, such as platinum, and fire it again.
Sherie Presta ceramic handmade beads really are little works of art and I like to keep them the star of the show. My approach to engineering my art to wear, is akin to making a frame for a piece of artwork. I love to select the beautiful work of other artisans in the form of sterling silver links, high-quality black electroplate rolo or made in America high-quality leather. Sometimes I focus on the clay forms most of all and drench them in shiny glossy colors. Other times I like to choose a bead that speaks to me as a little canvas and paint a design on it. The beads really tell me what they want to be. Whatever way I go, I like to keep the designs clean and simple and timeless.
See my beads and class schedule at www.shereiepresta.com and finished jewelry at www.mygirlfriendgifts.com
Sherie Presta was juried in as an Artist Member of the Three Rivers Artists Guild in February, 2015.