The Lone Beader (Diana Grygo)

The Lone Beader (Diana Grygo)

Engine Co. 6
Bead Dreams 2007 Contest
Second Place

The Lone Beader (Diana Grygo)

Poodle in Public Garden
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2015
featuring Seed Beads
Bronze Medal Winner (Tie)
Category: Bracelet

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Boston, Massachusetts

Describe your artistic style.
I create extremely dimensional relief art by stitching glass seed beads to felt. I love bead embroidery, I feel that many of my works can be considered realism. I envision much of the world in beads, and I try to portray this vision in my beaded subjects.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
My beadwork was first inspired by birds and animals, but quickly evolved into a style of realistic relief paintings inspired by dogs, cars, pop culture, and history. Everyone can understand and relate to pop art images in one way or another. Also, these inspirations play well together mainly because history does repeat itself, yet it looks quite different when beaded. And, there is an interesting juxtaposition within the work. It takes quite a bit of time to bead subjects which typically move quickly in reality, such as cars and other vehicles. Beading also represents the fact that a certain amount of craftsmanship is required to build a vehicle from start to finish.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I like to use glass seed beads for much of my work. Seed beads can be similar to paint, because of their many colors, but I also love them because of their textural possibilities. In addition, I often include mixed materials for details, such as: taxidermy eyes, vinyl for windows and tires, zippers for tire treads, silver wire for auto moldings, and computer circuit board, for side panels. The materials I use often depend on the subject I am beading.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Engine Co. 6

What inspired this design?
This beaded 1943 Chevy fire truck was created in memory of a childhood friend who perished in a fire when I was in 4th grade.

How did it come together?
A great deal of planning went into this fire truck. I first researched almost every kind of fire truck until I found the one I loved most. Once I decided on this one, the project began as a tracing of a photo of a real truck. Then, I cut out many layers of felt and stitched them together. Then, I began to stitch the seed beads in place. Other materials such as Opalite headlights, zipper wire for tire treads, sterling silver accents and vinyl windows all came about rather spontaneously. As I was working on this I imagined all the fire trucks I saw in parades as a child. They were all so shiny and beautiful and I wanted to recreate that magnificence using seed beads. The beaded Dalmatian, named Dolly, was created using all size 15 seed beads. She accompanies the truck, and can actually ride in the back if she pleases! :) I am most proud of this piece because it was awarded 2nd Place (Nonwearables ) in the 2007 Bead Dreams Competition. It was also exhibited in Bead International 2008, Cambridge Art Association's 2009 RED: It's More Than a Color, and has recently won 3rd place Mixed Media in the Duxbury Art Association's (Duxbury, Massachusetts ) 2010 Winter Juried Show!

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
Not long after I finished college, I found myself looking for an artistic outlet just to pass the time. One day, nearly a decade ago, I walked into a bead shop in Boston. When I saw all of the beautiful seed beads, I felt like I finally found what I had been searching for. So, I started reading books and magazines and teaching myself how to make complex jewelry designs in almost every technique. But, when I tried bead embroidery, I knew this was what I loved most.

Who introduced you to beading?
As a child, I was always fascinated with anything that sparkled, and I was often found looking through my mother's jewelry box. It was then that I began beading and making jewelry with my sister. But, it wasn't until many years later that I began to pursue beadwork as an art form...

Do you have an artistic background?
I have always been involved in the arts ever since I can remember, but I never had any formal training in visual art. I actually started out as a musician, playing the viola in orchestras throughout high school and college.

When I was young, music was my number-one priority, but I had other interests, as well. I was always coloring, painting, collaging or doing ceramics, and my younger sister and I used to make beaded necklaces together. We were always doing something creative--I think we tried almost every type of craft at least once.

Whenever I was bored, my mother always told me to draw something. I tried, but I never thought I was good at it, so she showed me how to cross-stitch. I fell in love with that at a young age, and remember spending hours outside under a tree working on my needlecraft.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I discovered Fire Mountain Gems by reading Bead and Button Magazine! I can even remember placing my first order of size 15 seed beads to create my first bead-painting, Flamingo Moon!

What other hobbies do you have?
When I am not beading, I enjoy blogging, reading, walking, listening to music, and traveling! A few years ago, I began traveling to a different country each year in search of beads, and I feel that this experience has really inspired my work. In the past few years, I have visited London, England; Prague, Czech Republic, and Venice, Italy (just to name a few) to learn more about the history of the beading and glass-making industries. I hope to visit Russia and Japan next!

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
So far, I haven't joined any beading societies, but I would like to! However, I am a member of the Cambridge Art Association in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This organization began in 1944 when a group of artists came together to auction their art as a way of contributing to the war effort. Today, the Cambridge Art Association consists of over 500 juried artist members working in all mediums. I am a new member, but I have been trying to participate in as many exhibits as possible just for fun!

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
So far, I consider beading to be a part-time career, although I pursue it full-time! I feel so grateful to have found an artistic outlet which I will be able to pursue for the rest of my life, but it can be demanding--each of my pieces takes so much time and energy to create!

If you use jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I try to do it all. I have my own website, which is really a gallery of my beaded paintings,



I have an Etsy shop where I have been selling some of my smaller paintings and beaded pin/pendants:

In addition, I have a Zazzle shop where I sell fun merchandise which features my most popular beaded images, I plan to keep expanding that as I work on new pieces.

I also enter juried exhibitions on a regular basis, as well as beading contests just for fun. I have been promoting myself (and my blog ) by using social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and I recently began sending out a regular newsletter. Many of my beaded pins/pendants have been custom orders through my Etsy shop.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Recently, I auctioned off a beaded VW Love Bug fiber art sculpture on Ebay to benefit Doctors Without Borders in an effort to help the people of Haiti.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Don't stop creating. Whether you like what you've created or not, just move on to the next piece, and take what you've learned to improve upon your own work. Also, look for sources of inspiration outside your chosen medium. There are many things in this world that can inspire you to create your next piece. All you have to do is find it.

View all of The Lone Beader's designs in the Gallery of Designs.