Jessica Beels Design
Paper Sculpture Paper Sculpture

All contents copyrighted 2002-2018
by Jessica Beels Design, Washington, DC
All rights reserved.

Calendar and Newsletter – 2018


Weekend Craft Shows Again!
Well, I am back at it. After about 5 years away from larger juried weekend craft shows, I am headed back on the road again this year. The first show is Artrider's Rhinebeck (NY) Crafts Festival, June 23-24. And then, November 3-4, I will be at Artrider's CraftWestport (CT). If you are in the area, I'd love to see you at either (or both!) of these shows.

New website, plus Instagram
This website is sorely in need of an update (and I will get it done, I promise!), but it is still the place to go for information about my paper-over-steel and beaded work. However, I have been up to so many other things (recycled birds, the Bycatch project, and fused plastic wall pieces) that I decided to launch a second website that addresses the material world, human interaction with our natural and unnatural surroundings, more directly.
This January, I launched Material World Studio ( - yes a web address can end in ".studio" instead of ".com"). It includes a commerce section with recycled birds for sale, as well as its own blog and information about changing projects.
I also started an Instagram account related to the website, so if you want to follow me there, I am materialworldstudio.

Artist Residency at Lou Harrison House in Joshua Tree, CA
I am honored to have been asked to spend two weeks in February as artist in residence at the Harrison House*Music, Arts & Ecology in Joshua Tree, CA. While I was staying in this lovely location, I worked on small sculptures inspired by the desert environment, using kozo fiber and gut to explore intersections of materials and form. While there, I also taught a kozo workshop and gave a talk and slide show about my work. Deepest gratitude to Eva Soltes for the invitation - it was an inspiring and memorable experience!


June 23 – 24
Artrider Rhinebeck (NY) Crafts Festival
6636 Route 9, Rhinebeck, NY
Returning to the weekend craft show circuit - hope you will be in the area and can come to see what I have been up to! I will be showing paper over metal jewelry and small sculptures.

July 15 – 17
American Society of Virology Conference
College Park, MD
A foray into the realms of science conference sales. I will be showing my wearable virus beads and other science-related sculptures and contemplative objects.

November 3 – 4
70 North Avenue, Westport, CT
My second weekend craft show of the year - hope to see you there!

November 2018
One House (Art Watch)
BlackRock Arts Center
12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown, MD
This second exhibition of the One House installation will include new ancestor panels. Visit the project's site to see images from our first venue, Touchstone Gallery in DC, and learn more about Art Watch in general.


One House
In late 2017, I was part of a group of over 220 DC-area artists who participated in One House, an exhibition of work reflecting on immigration and diversity in the US, part of the DC-based Art Watch project. The artists were asked to make a 12" x 12" wooden panel about an ancestor who emigrated to the US, whether voluntarily, legally or illegally, or by force. The panels were displayed in Touchstone Gallery in downtown DC, on a skeleton "house"-like structure that visitors could walk around to examine the panels. The project will add more panels and travel to BlackRock Arts Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD, in November 2018. Art Watch hopes this project will be reproduced in other venues, multiplying across the country to create a nationwide expression of the importance of diversity in the US as a push back against, among other things, policies that presently make immigration difficult and increase intolerance and division across ethnic and cultural lines.

What Feminism Looks Like: A Nasty Women Exhibition
This show, at the DC Arts Center in January 2018, was another Art Watch project. It included work by female-identifying artists and was a fundraiser and auction for Planned Parenthood.

Alchemical Vessels
I was invited to join over 100 artists contributing to this show at the Joan Hisaoka Smith Center for Healing and the Arts this spring. It is a fundraiser for the support of cancer patients. This year's base form for a "vessel" was a 14" wooden disk on which artists coud build (or from which they could interpret) their piece.


More Bird Sculptures made from Upcycled Materials
I continue to make birds using recycled and found materials, the outer coverings of which have included rose petals and hornet's nest "paper" as well as reused papers (like wrapping paper or empty sugar packets). Continuing the larger themes started with the crow's nest I made for the Zeitgeist show at Hillyer Art Space last year, I am making narrative assemblages including a nest made from chopsticks and a bird cage covered with anti-depressant medication inserts. I am working toward developing a body of work to show in a year or so.

You can find a full description of the process and birds I have made as well as those available for sale on my new website. I have also posted about these new bnirds on the Beyond Garbage blog I will be posting images of some of the birds in the Beyond Garbage blog.

Weigh your Words
The Weigh your Words project continues. This year, I focused on broadening the audience for the project, including participating in the WISSIT teachers' conference for a third year last summer. I hope to find ways to bring the project to other populations, particularly returning veterans and/or people in incarceration.

Voyage of Discovery
Ellyn Weiss (, Michele Banks (, and I continue to look for new venues for Voyage of Discovery, our show about global warming and melting sea ice that opened at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) last January and then reemerged at McLean Project for the Arts in the fall of 2014. If you have any ideas, please let us know!

To see a video about the process we went through to create the work - both collaborative installations and series by individual artists - please visit this link. The video was included in the DC Shorts Film Festival in the fall of 2014, as well - a lovely surprise! I have posted some more information and images on the blog associated with this website.

Where is my Studio???
I share a studio with Julia Bloom and Susan Hostetler at Off the Beaten Track in Northeast Washington, DC. The artists in the building hold open houses about twice each year (spring and fall). Stay tuned for individual notices about dates and times or contact me to be on my mailing list.

Blogging about my work: The blog attached to this site is a way for me to talk a bit more about how and why I do my work. You can get to it by clicking on the "Blog" button at the top of each page on this website, or you can go straight to it at Responding to friends' and clients' requests, I have posted a description of how I make my paper. I plan to discuss new projects or pieces as I work on them. I hope you will find this new blog worth visiting occasionally.

Beyond Garbage - Recycled Materials Blog: This blog is about artists working with recycled materials. If you are interested in learning more about this blog, please visit Beyond Garbage. The site also includes information to help schools and other groups organize similar projects encouraging people to think creatively about their material world and how to make something (fun, beautiful, useful, or provocative) out of "nothing" (free stuff you might have just thrown away or recycled).

Material World Studio Blog: And now, there is also a blog/newsletter associated with the Material World website, focusing on topics related to the work on that site.

...and Etsy
...sort of. My shop name is JBeelsDesign and I am listed as a jeweler (paper jewelry). The direct link is: Because I have to post a picture of the actual item for sale, I do not have anything listed right now. But if you want to buy something from me, now I can post an image on Etsy and let you know when it is up, and you can pay me securely through PayPal on the site. We'll see how this works. Let me know!


Alchemical Vessels - Joan Hisaoka Center for Healing and the Arts, Washington, DC
What Feminism Looks Like - DC Arts Center, Washington, DC
One House - Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC 

Zeitgeist IV: Preconceptual - Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC
Botany of Tyranny installation - Dirt Salon, Hartford, CT, included three of my recycled birds
Earth Bound - American Center for Physics, College Park, MD
Artful Attire - Popcorn Gallery, Glen Echo, MD

Juried Members' Exhibition - Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center, Hyattsville, MD
10x10 - Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center, Hyattsville, MD

Creative Crafts Council Biennial - Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, MD
One House - Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC
DCCAH Artist Fellowship Grant Recipients' Show - DC Commission on the Arts, Washington, DC

Man/Made - Takoma Park Community Center, Takoma, MD
Featured artist, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Store (October) - Lincoln, MA
Handmade: Explorations in Fiber - BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown, MD
Commissioned by the James Renwick Alliance to make a pin for presentation accompanying the Alliance's first annual Chrysalis Award (recipient: Shea Wilkinson)
DCCAH Artist Fellowship Grant Recipients' Show - DC Commission on the Arts, Washington, DC

Call and Response - Angie Newman Johnson Gallery, Alexandria, VA
Ephemeral - Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA
Recipient of the 2015 Washington Sculptors Group's Tom Rooney Award for Excellence in Sculpture for the installation "Bycatch" in the Ephemeral exhibition
Personal Patterns - Cafritz Arts Center, Montgomery College, Silver Spring, MD
DCCAH Artist Fellowship Grant Recipients' Show - DC Commission on the Arts, Washington, DC

Alchemical Vessels - Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Washington, DC
Voyage of Discovery - American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC; McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA

All Over the Map (F.I.N.E. group show) - Keystone Art and Culture Center, Lancaster, PA
Life up Close - Orange Regional Medical Center, Middletown, NY
Pulse: Art and Medicine - Strathmore Mansion, Bethesda, MD
In Flux - Handmade in America, Asheville, NC

An Abstract Approach - Har Shalom Synagogue, Potomac, MD
MetalWork 2012 (Juror's Special Recognition award) - VisArts, Rockville, MD
Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show - Washington, DC
Rare Alignment - Ice House Gallery, Berkeley Springs, WV
Artomatic 2012 - Crystal City, VA

The Medium is the Message - Gallery 555, Washington, DC
ACC Baltimore (wholesale jewelry) - Baltimore, MD
Beels, Dahlke, Holtsman - BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown, MD (three-person show)
Bijoux - Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT
Ebb and Flow - ArtSpace, Herndon, VA (with Rachel Collins' watercolors)
By the Numbers - Washington Sculptors Group at BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown, MD

MetalWork 2010 (Jurors' Choice Award) - Target Gallery, Alexandria, VA
Craft Boston - Boston, MA (April and December)
Washington Craft Show - Washington, DC
Westchester Craft Show - White Plains, NY
Wearable Art/Unwearable Fashion - VisArts Rockville, MD
Personal Armor: Artists' Concepts of Aprons - BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown, MD
Thoreau's Legacy - Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC
100 Tea Bowls - Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA

Washington Craft Show - Washington, DC
Westchester Craft Show - White Plains, NY
Courage Unmasked - Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
Paradise City Arts Festival - Northampton, MA
Smithsonian Craft Show - Washington, DC

Holiday Crafts at the Armory - New York, NY
Washington Craft Show - Washington, DC
Westchester Craft Show - White Plains, NY

Creative Crafts Council Biennial - Bethesda, MD

Fiber's Finest - Fiber Arts Study Group juried show, Gilchrist Museum, Cumberland, MD
Illuminations - Gallery 11, Hartford, CT

Creative Crafts Council Biennial (2nd Place, Mixed Media), Strathmore Mansion, Bethesda, MD
Translucence: Forms in Paper - Lynn Tendler Bignell Gallery, Brookfield, CT


"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:

By-invitation shows and Classes
As always, I am happy to do on-site trunk shows at your home or office (what a way to spend your lunch break!). I teach classes (one-on-one or in a group of up to eight) in paper sculpture using high-shrinkage paper as well as beading classes from beginner's basic bead stringing and repair to advanced bead weaving.

Let me know if you'd like to be on my mailing lists (regular or email) for seasonal updates. Email or call (202) 361-2609.

Jessica Beels Design, Washington, D.C.