Melissa Grakowsky Shippee

| Bead Weaving |

My life didn’t always involve tiny pieces of colored glass with holes in them. Earlier in life my interests had a broader focus. I always had a fascination with the natural world, and equally with art. In college, when I was finally free to study what I liked, I majored in biology at first but went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in physics, and another bachelor’s degree in fine arts (with a painting concentration). 

I got into bead weaving in my early twenties after my son was born and I desperately needed a creative hobby that would conform to the new space- and time- (some might say space-time) limitations that I was confronted with as I entered a new phase of my life. My old medium, painting, was simply not an option when caring for a baby in an apartment. And I had decided to quit my studies to care for my son, who needed just a little more help than the average baby in getting a good start to his life.

Thankfully a good college friend of mine introduced me to his aunt’s bead store, Beads East, formerly located in Manchester, Connecticut, and the rest is history. 

I now travel all over the United States and to select countries around the world to share my love of beading with workshops, I design projects to sell as kits and patterns here in my online shop and in my workshops, and I produce illustrations for other artists in the industry.

Project: Sea Meets Sand Bracelet