by Lisa Coen, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Russell Morton is an artist with a message. An advocate for clean water, he hopes that the energy he puts into his art will have a positive effect on the physical world. Russell is creating a one-of-a-kind beaded canvas that you'll have to see to believe--a canvas he hopes will change the world for the better.

Started in January 2006, the canvas project is a seed-beaded mural that represents "Four Seasons of Water" and expresses the prayer of clean water for the world. Russell refers to "The Four Seasons of Water," also known as "4 H20," as his effort to clean up the earth's water in his lifetime.

Each piece is 60 x 45 inches and when complete, the four pieces (four seasons) will be five feet tall and an impressive 15 feet long. Russell uses most every beading stitch imaginable, including many he created himself. When finished, the canvas will include over 3 million beads and 15,000 yards of cotton thread. The final beaded image will be wrapped around a large drum that will rotate slowly with an overhead light to simulate the sun.





"When folks come to see my work in progress, it is hard to explain the depth of involvement that cannot be stitched into the fabric," Russell states. "Every morning I scan the weather charts to see where and how much water is predicted to fall over the next 36 hours. I also check a national web page for drought conditions. It is not my intent to control water, but to learn as much as possible about it. Like watching animal behavior, I observe and consider."

He decided to devote his time to his art after his regular job was eliminated. Russell is creating the "Four Seasons of Water" canvas with his own money, and though he doesn't solicit donations, people who admire his work at art events are often compelled to offer something. His powerful message through art is building awareness of the need for clean water on our planet--one bead at a time.

Russell taught himself to bead as a teenager in the '60s. He attended college, raced bicycles, got married and had a small family--then he returned to beading. Most of his adult life has been lived in the absence of television--Russell is an avid reader and has read a large amount of books covering the subjects of ancient religions, shamanism and even modern neurology. His intellect and compassion for our planet can be witnessed in the beautiful bead work he creates.

To follow Russell's progress on the "Four Seasons of Water" canvas and to view more of his artwork, visit his blog at

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article "Russell Morton's ''Four Seasons of Water''" as featured in an email newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"Russell Morton's beadwork was inspiring. Thanks"

"Good newsletter. Good diversity of projects showcased. I was inspired by the story mosaic masterpieces. Good reminder of beads for education; i had been on their site b4, it was refreshing to visit again."
- Karyn

"Thank you--inspirational pieces like this are appreciated because people like me will think about devoting more time to beading (and buying the supplies from you). Believe it or not, I still have the essay (it appeared in a catalog) from a woman who worked her way out of poverty by beading cow skulls."
- Deborah

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