I go by, “Haru,” online.

Short for Haruna. I’ve had a predominantly Asian-American identity for the first 35 years of my life. Then, I realized that, along with acknowledging part of my ethnicity, I was also self-limiting.

In 2005 I earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English — Creative Writing. In 2018 I earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS). As time goes on, we come to see enduring patterns in ourselves that we have not yet honored, and we course-correct…

We also take the best from what we have learned, and bring it forward with us.

Between the BA and the MLIS, I also earned an Associate in Arts (AA) in Art, and an AA in Liberal Arts. The biggest thing I learned from the Art program was that talent alone wasn’t good enough to succeed in the field: you also had to show up and apply yourself.

It was, in fact, the same lesson I received as an Undergraduate in the Creative Writing program, only with different media. I was also inspired to keep challenging myself from my practice both there and in Multimedia Arts (which would likely be called Graphic Arts, elsewhere). Beadwork is one of the areas in which I’m actually comfortable challenging myself. Beads themselves can allay fears that the finished object will look horrible (though with some of the colors I’ve been challenging myself with recently, they don’t do that very much!).

To date…I haven’t had the easiest time settling with the limitations of images on paper or canvas. The first Art or Craft class I ever took through school, was Wood Shop. The second was Ceramics and Mixed Media. It has taken me a while to get comfortable with the fact that the thing I love to do is something which most people never do. But that is kind of…across-the-board.

I also realize that beadwork is a thing I know a lot about. I have an ability where others don’t, and rather than lament the fact that it’s much easier to find watercolorists online (I can love watercolors, too) and change my path to become a watercolorist because there are vastly more resources and more camaraderie: I can become a resource, myself.

In this vein, I’m also hoping that blogging about my progress in getting to and staying at the bench…or table, in this case…will help encourage me to keep making. And, maybe I’ll make some friends, in the process.

My beginnings in beadwork date to the summer after fifth grade, at the latest. I remember at that time, learning to work even-count peyote (at least it wasn’t yet odd-count?) out of a little film canister containing purple iris seed beads, a needle, and thread. This is after I had tried beading on a loom, and realized I didn’t know how to finish off all the warp threads…which I would think to be everyone’s first and perennial problem.

I’m still not entirely sure why I’m drawn to beadwork, but I know it is a predilection that was nurtured in me from a young age, and accompanied me through those years of growing up. I also know — now — that it’s not necessary for me to understand why I enjoy it, so long as I know I do enjoy it.

However: I do recognize that I have a penchant for small detail work, the interaction of color, and the effects of light. There is also something about working with beads using needle and thread which I have not been able to exactly duplicate via sewing or embroidery (though I recently have been tempted by the idea of quilting [using origami as a foundation for block design] and garment construction…the question is, how to fit that into one’s time and life when one is trying to focus on financial independence).

My specializations lie in beadweaving and beaded micro-macramé (particularly using glass seed beads and Czech Fire-Polished beads), while my interests range into tatting (knotted lacework) and wirework, in addition to stringing. I trained for two semesters in metalwork, which taught me the fundamentals of brazing/hard soldering, forging, and silversmithing (though I did mostly use red brass and copper); however, I could see that the coursework would not utilize color as much as I desired…and I believe I would only have been able to take the course series for five semesters, total. That would have been plenty, I realize now. But at the time, out of concern for my continued health (if I’m correct, I may have experienced conjunctivitis due to metal dust and fume exposure, though I haven’t yet tried to positively match the dates), I stopped after two semesters.

I have some plans in mind for SpectralBeads, parts of which are slowly coming to fruition under How to Design (expect edits!). In particular, I haven’t seen any texts on how to design on one’s own using beadwork techniques, and I want to build a resource for myself and others when we get stuck on copying others’ patterns. Because…it is possible to bead without using someone else’s pattern. Just how that magic happens though, is not something I have yet been able to pin down. It’s also not something I’ve seen talked about, all that much. Maybe we can help each other through this.

I don’t plan on taking donations or payments for site upkeep or financial return itself until I and others are really invested in it (or I run out of funds). To earn money from selling jewelry via Etsy was my original plan, but I’m seeing another — more wide-ranging, more impactful — vision of what this could become.