Beating the Odds: Bead Artist Gail Be’s Enormous Imagination

Through blindness, arthritis, ruptured spinal discs, and reconstructive hand surgery, Gail Be has stood by her beads — and now they’re bringing her worldwide attention. As creator of the world’s largest beaded wedding gown, and with Lady Gaga wearing her dress-and-headpiece design Erotic Ice on the cover of the single “Anything Goes,” Gail Be is seeing her ambitions of fame become reality.

Beating the Odds: Bead Artist Gail Be’s Enormous Imagination

Vintage Inspirations

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: I’m inspired by any form of art that moves the soul. I’ve traveled all over the world to see great museums, palaces, paintings, frescos, furniture, embroidery, and music—great works of art that exude so much energy that they give you goose bumps or bring tears to your eyes.

Q: What is your favorite type of bead to work with?

A: I love all beads—crystal, metal, plastic, acrylic, pearls, lampwork . . . from seed beads to 20mm beads. I love them all and use a blend of all types in my designs. I like vintage beads the best because the styles and shapes aren’t made anymore. Each time I use vintage beads I feel I get to use pieces of history.

Beating the Odds: Bead Artist Gail Be’s Enormous Imagination

Silver Female Warrior Necklace

Record-Setting Fame

Q: Do you have any plans to create an even bigger dress than your record-setting wedding gown?

A: Fantasy took more than one million beads and longer than forty months to make, even with twenty-three assistants. I plan on making something that big again, but with four times the number of assistants and double the space. I only stopped the train at twenty feet because

I ran out of room in my warehouse.

Q: How has your business been affected by Lady Gaga wearing Erotic Ice?

A: Lady Gaga’s name got all the local press to call about Erotic Ice. I told them, “Erotic Ice is my appetizer, but I just made the largest beaded wedding dress in the world,” and I invited them to come and see Fantasy. Once they saw it and wrote articles, Good Morning America and Today called. Then Yahoo! picked up my story as their front-page article.

Beating the Odds: Bead Artist Gail Be’s Enormous Imagination

Erotic Ice Headpiece worn by Lady Gaga

Q: Do you have any other celebrities interested in wearing your designs?

A: I have had my jewelry worn by different stars and had one of my dresses on the cover of a Los Angeles fashion magazine. I hope my new bead-and-fabric dresses and statement necklaces will become more mainstream. My goal is to become a member of the Costume Designers Guild.

See more of Gail’s work at, or in the June/July 2015 issue of Beadwork.

Photos courtesy of:


Love these designs? Head to the Interweave Store to find more elaborate, beautiful designs in our contest issues!


Post a Comment