Create Beaded Designs Filled with Sparkle and Light, with Melissa Grakowsky Shippee
I first met Melissa Grakowsky Shippee on a fab trip to the Bahamas, where we were teaching for a few days at “Beaders in Paradise.” Only in reflection do I now see, those first few minutes of our meeting were the very essence of Melissa.
Arriving in the Bahamas, you have to pass through customs. As I got to this area, I saw friends who had also recently arrived and were making their way through the queue. As we all gathered “on the other side,” waiting for our luggage, we realized we were now in a climate where we were a little overdressed, now what?
Well, not wasting any time, Miss Melissa excuses herself to the restroom then emerges in a sundress and some adorable sandals. I was completely perplexed. How was this possible? Of course! She thought ahead, packed some extra clothes and shoes, then, voila – she was Bahamas-weather ready in a flash! Looking amazing, together, at ease, and all the while, not thinking anything of it – to this day, this is Melissa.
Throughout our week together, I enjoyed getting to know Melissa; and not only as an artist, but as a person. Without gushing and going on (too much), this woman is a talented artist; has created amazing beautiful beaded designs, headdresses and polymer works; she is degreed in art and physics; is in the process of designing, clearing land and building a new home for her family (with her husband’s help); a devoted mother and wife; digital illustrator wizard; a really, really nice person; and she has this natural, ethereal beauty that emanates from within and is ever present. Oh, and she can climb a coconut tree faster than anyone I’ve ever met.
Since the Bahamas’ event, I’ve had the pleasure to connect with Melissa on occasion and thankfully we have social media to fill in the days between. Since seeing Melissa last in June, she welcomed a new baby – a beautiful little girl.
Who, if the smile on his face is any indication, has made her big brother Jack, very happy.
Melissa has also moved their house plans further along and continues to amaze with her bead-stitching prowess and ability to present things with the beauty we’ve come to expect from this amazing woman.
Her latest project, Crystal Pendulum, is fresh from the pages of the April/May 2016 Beadwork issue, and also presented in a kit (with limited availability!).
This design, like Melissa, is sparkling, delicate, and filled with an easy elegance. The necklace will pair great with a nice pair of heels or a great pair of flip-flops and can go from a chilly North American winter to a sunny and warm Bahamas day, in a flash. If you’re one of the lucky ones to buy one of these kits while available, enjoy making it then wearing it!