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Artist of the Month
September 2017

Artist of the Month

Madelyn C. Ricks

Former potter Madelyn Ricks has been a full-time studio artist since 1982. She is among the few artists who combine great creations with greater persona. She painstakingly weaves tiny glass beads, packing those dots of colored light, 300 beads per square inch. She is best known for her majestic woven beaded kimonos. Madelyn is represented by Mostly Glass Gallery.

Click on each photo to the right for a full picture.

Madelyn C. Ricks

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

Even as a young child, I was artistic and creative.  When I was eight years old my mother arranged for me to take painting classes, which was quite special because money was very limited at the time.  When I became a young mother myself, I found ways to be creative every day, such as making a silver unicorn costume that my daughter requested for Halloween or creating my own wallpaper from giant cut-out tissue paper flowers.

When I decided to become a full-time artist, I worked in clay for many years before discovering beads.  I was always attracted to working on a small scale, which is one of the reasons that drew me to beadwork.  There are about 300 Delica beads per square inch in the work that I create.  It is a very slow process that I love because of its meditative mood.  Working with glass beads is pure joy for me.  I like to think of it as working with tiny pixels of colored light.

I taught myself beading, and each new project is another experience to learn and keep improving my technique.  I spend a lot of time developing ideas and designs for each new piece before the beading begins.  Most of the pieces that I create have been commissions, and my work is displayed by many glass collectors in in the US and in other countries.

Weaving Glass Beads

The art of interlocking beads together with thread is both ancient and universal.  My designs are a mixture of many different cultures and times. The technique is peyote stitch named by the Native Americans in the U.S. A very strong multifilament nylon thread is used.  The tubular glass beads are a high-quality glass manufactured in Japan using novel techniques. The beaded work can have up to 300 beads per square inch. Many of the beads are plated with precious metals such as 24K gold, rhodium and palladium. Also used are silver-lined colored beads to create a lot of sparkle, making the finished piece look like small dots of colored light woven together. 

About Madelyn C. Ricks

Madelyn Ricks
The portrait of a great artist and a greater person

It was a chance encounter, some 15 years ago when I visited one of the high-end craft shows in Philadelphia. What attracted me to Madelyn’s booth was an 8” tall kimono woven with glass beads. It was in all shimmering shades of turquoise in intricate geometrical patterns. I brought it to my Mostly Glass Gallery and it sold the moment it was displayed. That encounter was the start of a fulfilling artistic association between Madelyn and Mostly Glass Gallery.

Madelyn Ricks is among the few artists who combine great creations with greater persona. She is enthusiastic, kind, graceful, and grateful. In a retrospective of her art work at GlassWeekend in 2013, Mostly Glass showed her extraordinary pottery, the art medium she started working with. She then taught herself the peyote stitch and mastered weaving.

Madelyn painstakingly weaves tiny tubes of glass beads, 300 beads per square inch. She is best known for her majestic beaded kimonos. Those have a loose weave that gives them a silky, sensual feel. They started at 8 inches, and grew to 30 inch-long kimonos. Her dream is to weave a kimono to wear!

A tight weave allows Madelyn to build and create beaded sculptures. They are the Vessels, the Rigoletto series and Langhe. For the current group exhibit at Mostly Glass, she created the extraordinary willowy Dancers.

Few of the aficionados of wearable art can resist Madelyn’s jewelry.

Sami Harawi, September 2017
Mostly Glass Gallery

Click here for an artist's resume.

Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Mostly Glass Gallery for providing the Artist of the Month.

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Our Mission

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.