Weaving Magic One Bead at a Time

On February 20, 2018, the Bead Society took a quick and colorful trip through the life of Jayashree Paramesh growing up in India and how it influenced her artistry years later.

Jay described herself as a “Spice Girl” on Planet Bead. Her presentation gave us a whirlwind world tour of her sources of inspiration.  Most importantly, she stressed her cultural heritage in India as well as her personal heritage after India.  What we really saw was color – color – and more color — combined with her inspired design.

Amazingly, Jayashree submitted a design to Beadwork shortly after she began beading…and they accepted it! In 2009, she went into Barnes & Noble and bought a beading magazine.  The next day, she went to her local bead store in Seattle and bought some beads.  A local artist’s necklace was featured on the cover of that magazine. Of course, she had to purchase simply everything!  She fell in love with beading and began teaching after a couple of years. Her tutorials started appearing in bead magazines; and in only three years, she had her very own bracelet on the cover!

We next followed her transition into today’s bead world. She knew the ins and outs of pattern making, so in 2012 she made it into Beadwork Magazine.  She made and submitted two items. They were both accepted. The instructions into how they were to be constructed came later.  In the following two months, they accepted two more items!  Jayashree was on her way in the bead world.  She purchased bead books by Laura McCabe, Marcia De Coster and others , learned how to write successful beading instructions.

We all agree that love of jewelry knows no boundaries.  Design and workmanship crosses all cultural boundaries and most of her designs are credited to historical influences and her international travels.

Through her presentation, we learned how she evolved into the noted bead artist she is today. Her natural artistic abilities drew her to color and shapes, and she constantly sketched on napkins, receipts, anything she could get her hands on.  When she saw something that inspired her, she knew that she needed to capture it at once, lest it be lost.

Her designs began with 2-3 materials in a base, and then added accents as they occurred.  She often started small, creating the earrings, and then expanded up and out with her developing design.  She planned the main components and their assembly in order.  She laid out the biggest pieces to be bezeled.  She moved them around until a design symmetry developed.  Then, she walked away…left the room for the night.  If she was still pleased by the design when she returned in the morning the design was set……if not, she started over again.

Color can influence a design to either float or sink.  She wasn’t satisfied following the standardized rules she was taught in the school, and often combined jewel tones with earth tones, adding gold and silver.  Her first beading designs are usually executed in colors that compliment her skin tone.  Jay will then develop three or four kits in other color schemes.

Jay’s heritage has undoubtedly inspired and influenced her designs greatly.  This heritage includes textiles, jewelry, and textures in festival celebrations, as well as in the temples.

Jay often teaches at a senior center in Seattle.  Her favorite is the Holi Festival – a celebration of color where everyone is allowed to be a child once more by throwing bundles of pure color at each other.  Jayashree explained a number of other celebrations extolling their influences over her life with the color, designs, and decoration of each. Everyone is familiar with the Taj Mahal; but unless you have been fortunate enough to travel there, you have not seen the beautiful wall carvings, inlaid marble, and mosaic work. With today’s movie world, Bollywood has had a large influence outside of India in dance, color, jewelry, patterns and song. Even the fronts of homes are decorated.  In one area, the people awake at 4am to draw decorations onto the front walls with rice powder…then the birds eat it, and all is right in the world once more.

In 1988-1991, Jay earned a degree in design from the Parsons School of Art and Design in New York. She learned how to coordinate clothes and jewelry into “collections” — a fashion concept that was not natural to her upbringing and customs learned back home in India. She was certainly forced to step outside her comfort zone while studying there. She learned how draping various fabrics on dress forms reacted differently.  Working with beads has the same issues, and how combining beads with different stitches changes the shape and texture of the piece designed.  Pattern making, construction, and the engineering taught her how to manipulate patterns which lead to finished items of clothing; and the finishing of the garments leads to her learning bead embroidery to further decorate the garments.  Unfortunately, learning these techniques in a school setting left her no time to experiment outside the class structure. It was over twenty years before she picked up beads again…but when she did ~ wow! Much of her experience from that time is translated into her fashion with beads today.

Jayashree constantly explores fashion magazines to explore the current designers, jewelry and accessories. There has recently been a resurgence of animal prints, Asian inspiration, and metallics.  Fashion magazines illustrate the trends; and by slanting the designs she creates to match these trends, she achieves a positive reaction culminating in happy students and customers.  Pantone™ publishes a Color Forecast every year to guide the industry.  This year, in 2018, the color is Ultraviolet.  Design houses pay thousands of dollars every year to develop styles and patterns within the annual color realm. She uses colorboards and trends published by these companies for inspiration.

Jayashree visits the museums wherever she travels. The Renaissance and Byzantine eras used lots of pearls, brooches, and pins; Islamic Art features patterns from geometry which is found in their designed tiles. All these are a rich source of inspiration. She also finds inspiration from nature, leaves, flowers, butterflies, birds, from patterns in nature and from patterns around us in décor, fabrics and more.

Jayashree  brought many examples of the jewelry she has developed, allowing our members to purchase either kits or tutorials, enabling us to then create her beautiful jewelry pieces on our own.

Contact her at:  jay@nchantme.com

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