lucia antonelli ~ divine wearable and visual art

artist and teacher

contemporary beadwork, one-of-a-kind, wearable art jewelry

he who works with his hands is a laborer.
he who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
he who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
—st. francis

artist statement

As a child I spent most of my waking moments absorbed in fantasy, sitting amongst pieces of cut paper, crayons, fabric and glue, dreaming about becoming an artist when I grew up. I have come to realize that one does not simply become an artist because one wishes to, but is one in heart as well as spirit, in all ways.

For me, creativity is a boundless expression of ones inner life. I’ve always known that I would, one day, use my creativity and passion for beauty as a means of financially supporting myself throughout my life. So the first step was taken when I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1967, with a degree in Apparel Design. However, I found working in the garment district unsatisfying and stressful. I moved back home into the arms of my Italian family and began both an inner and outer search for a personal expression of my creativity.

I experimented with newspaper illustration, leather handbag design, stained glass, weaving, and clay. Finally, in 1972 I became interested in beads when I went to work in a bead store for a short time as a sales clerk. From the bead store, I went on to work in a shop that sold everything from incense to jewelry. The owner invited me to take home a small cabinet of beads to string into necklaces for the shop. I did, and that was the beginning of my very serious love affair with beads as a medium of self-expression.

I had no idea at the time just how deeply involved my passion for beads would become, nor where my creativity would take me. One day I came across an antique French beaded purse that was in disrepair. I took it apart. I fell in love with these tiny fantastic metal beads. My obsession with detail was a direct result of this discovery. My work evolved in many unexpected ways and I found myself interested in executing only one of a kind neck pieces with as much detail as possible. The more intricate, the better! Working with beads afforded me a means of self-expression that had infinite possibilities reflecting both my inner and outer world. I feel very peaceful when I am creating. I feel “at home” and emotionally and spiritually centered.

I do not have a particular philosophy about my work. I simply love what I do and have a deep need to create beauty and order in a world that can sometimes be very chaotic. It is a place of calmness and spiritual nourishment for me. I have no real clear vision of where my ideas come from, but my connection to these beautiful objects leads me to believe that I have had many past lives. I experience this on some level as I create each piece. I believe this is what fuels my creativity. I am completely and
totally in love with beads and ethnic jewelry representing these very rich cultures. One could easily say I am obsessed, and accumulating the materials I work with brings me a great deal of joy. The depth, richness and beauty of our world is truly reflected in the components I use.

I am currently executing my own centerpieces of sterling silver and 18 karat gold, while incorporating these special ethnic components. My goal is to push my creativity as far as I can by creating centerpieces that are contemporary yet evoke a feeling that has an ancient quality.

I am self-taught and prefer executing all of my pieces by hand. By utilizing antique beads, talismans, and ritualistic objects from other cultures, it is my love to create objects of wearable art that have a timeless quality connecting the past and the future. Ultimately I wish to touch and to move the spirit of others through my work.