Jessica Beels Design
Fibonacci Fibonacci

All contents copyrighted 2002-
by Jessica Beels Design, Washington, DC
All rights reserved.


My mother tells a story of how, as a toddler, I placed broccoli florets in the holes of a play rotary phone near my high chair. I have been fulfilling my need to create (and recreate) things ever since.

In 1995, I made the switch from obsessed hobbyist to professional craftsperson. After years of delving into various textile techniques such as costuming, embroidery, and knitting, I discovered bead weaving and started to explore the three-dimensional possibilities of weaving simple cylindrical glass beads (Czech and Japanese seed beads) into complex hollow and undulating forms. My beaded work is created off-loom, using only a needle and thread and, occasionally, wire. I am interested in the sculptural possibilities presented by the surface of each bead, as well as the texture of the overall beaded fabric.

In 1998, I took a course with Jeanne Jaffe, at Haystack in Maine, to learn sculptural paper techniques. What was supposed to be a pleasant diversion became a new passion. Now, I make handmade paper from overbeaten flax and mulberry (kozo and gampi) fiber and place it, still wet, over reed or wire armatures. The paper shrinks radically as it dries, leaving a taut, transparent skin on the pieces. I particularly like the way high-shrinkage paper distorts its armature, lending an element of unpredictability to the process of completing each piece.

Often, I print the wet paper with inks and paints and, when the paper is dry, infuse the surface with wax to seal it and enhance its translucence. I am intrigued with how the opaque and sometimes reflective quality of the inks contrasts with the glow of the paper fibers.

Recently, I have been making ungalvanized steel armatures and experimenting with sealing in the rust resulting from the metal's contact with the wet paper and ambient humidity.


I hold a BA in Art History (Harvard University, 1985) and a Masters in Early American Decorative Arts (Winterthur Program, University of Delaware, 1992).

My crafts background includes many self-taught techniques. More formal training includes classes in metalwork (Penland School of Crafts, NC, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, ME), papermaking (Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, ME), and stone carving (Corcoran School of Art, DC).

Professional Memberships

American Crafts Council
Bead Society of Washington, DC
James Renwick Alliance
Precious Metal Clay Guild - Certified Teacher
Society of North American Goldsmiths
Washington Guild of Goldsmiths


"Triangle Pillow Earrings," Step by Step Beads, Spring 2003,
Vol.1, no. 1, pp. 18-21

"Beautiful Boughs," Step by Step Beads, Mar/Apr 2006,
Vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 30-33

"Beaded Leaves," Step by Step Beads, Mar/Apr 2006,
Vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 34-41

"Stick Earrings," Step by Step Beads, May/June 2008,
Vol. 6, no. 3, p 44

"Deliciously Diagonal Beaded Bead," Beadwork, June/July 2008,
Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 64-65
See corrections to instructions at:

Jessica Beels Design, Washington, D.C.

All contents copyrighted 2002-
by Jessica Beels Design, Washington, DC
All rights reserved.