Learn All About Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery Goddess

Sherry Serafini is a bead artist with a fun, edgy style. Her designs have been worn by Melissa Etheridge, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Lenny Kravitz, and Fergie (The Black Eyed Peas). Find out what makes Sherry’s bead embroidery so unique.

Q: What do you love about bead embroidery?

A: I love that I can do whatever I want and not follow any design rules. I can’t follow patterns or premade designs. Bead embroidery lets artists make their designs their own by incorporating whatever inspires them.

Q: Why are found objects so important to your beadwork?

A: I like found objects because they’re my own choice — they’re personal to me and my voice.

Learn All About Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery Goddess. Bead embroidery found object designs.

The Healing Power of Beading

Q: How did you get started beading?

A: I began beading at my mother’s hospital bedside in 1997, after she and my grandmother were in a serious car accident. My mom wasn’t expected to make it, and I needed something to keep me from getting severely depressed or going crazy while sitting in the hospital with my dad and brother day after day. I had been playing with polymer clay at the time, but I knew that wouldn’t work in a hospital. I bought some beads and supplies from a local bead shop, and I soon discovered that beading was the most meditative thing I could do. I felt that I had been handed a gift from God to be able to cope by working with my newfound art form.

My mom defied all the odds and is still with me today, and my grandmother also recovered — and I was hooked on beading! I gave away my clay and have been beading ever since. This is why teaching is so important to me. I want others to feel the healing power of working with your hands and finding peace through creating.

Learn All About Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery Goddess. Bead embroidery and shibori designs.

Sherry’s Creative Process

Q: Where do you get your design ideas? What inspires your creativity?

A: Everything inspires me. It’s exhausting being inside my head! I can go from being excited about a MakuStudio raku piece to a cartoon image in a resin bezel. Color and shape usually get me fired up as well. I also like to challenge myself with the architecture of a design. Layering or making connections can be challenging; I really love trying to get a piece to be structurally sound and wearable.

Learn All About Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery Goddess. Bead embroidery and shibori pendant

Q: Do you plan your designs in advance, or do you just let the creativity flow?

A: My creativity flows like a river! The only thing I might plan is the initial shape — but that could change, too!

Learn All About Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery Goddess. Bead embroidered sunburst pendant

Q: How do you get out of a creative rut?

A: I honestly don’t get beader’s block. I wish I had twenty-four more hours in each day to create all the things that are exploding inside my head. Whenever I do feel myself slowing down creatively, I like to play around with fibers, papers, and clay. I love mixed media, and I often make my own focal images. You never really lose your creativity — it might be silent for a little while, but it comes back.

Learn All About Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery Goddess. Bead embroidery found object and fringe designs.

Q: How do you approach the use of color in your designs?

Learn All About Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery GoddessA: I love color! A focal bead, cabochon, or tube of seed beads in a color that speaks to me at the moment is all I need to take off like a mad woman and create. The challenge is to create a design using colors that work with the initial one. I tend to use a color palette of threes, maybe throwing in a fourth surprise color. This keeps my pieces cohesive and balanced.

Livin’ the Rock-Star Life

Q: What’s it like to design for celebrities?

A: It can be crazy! A phone call can come out of the blue, and the demand can be for next week. The first time I had a request like that, I tried to explain that beadwork takes time. However, I usually have to sacrifice some sleep for a few days.

Q: Can you introduce us to Steven Tyler?

A: I recently made a beaded-eyeball belt buckle for him! He’s a great guy, and it’s fabulous that he likes beadwork!

For more of Sherry’s designs, visit her website, Sherry Serafini Beaded Body Adornment.

Lavon Peters
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine

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