Name: Bonnie Van Hall
Website Link: http://www.bonnievanhall.com/
Where are you located? Prescott, AZ
Tell us a bit about yourself: Unique clothing and jewelry have always held an attraction for me. From designing my own tops out of scarves as a teenager, to a fascination with the weaving of cloth from a single thread, my love for this practical and personal form of expression has continued to grow. My educational background is in spiritual psychology, and I see parallels between the forms and layers of the mind and the physical wearing of clothing. I hope my work expresses the idea that we can find meaning in everything we do, no matter how seemingly mundane or ordinary.
When and why did you begin creating your jewelry/art? I began doing beadwork in 1987 because I wanted to wear a certain kind of jewelry, but couldn’t find anything I liked. I taught myself to bead and gradually I found myself interested in creating larger wearable and decorative pieces. In the twenty-two years since then, I’ve found that my purpose in creating these pieces has evolved along with my skills. I’m interested in further refining my skills and methods, and finding new and more creative applications for my work. But perhaps more importantly, I’d like to generate some new interest in the old-fashioned traditional “women’s arts.”
What do you make? Most of my work is wearable, usually women’s clothing, jewelry, and handbags. Beadwork is the main focus of most of my pieces, if not the entirety. I have also experimented a bit with decorative works such as tapestries.
What materials and methods do you use? My materials range from glass beads, silver, gold and semi-precious gemstones to various fibers and antique or found objects. My methods are standard beadworking techniques (including both loom and off-loom weaving), and knitting. But I try to apply and combine these standard techniques in unique and creative ways.
Where do your design inspirations come from? Many things inspire my work, most notably nature, color, and interesting forms, but often more elusive things like ideas, numbers, and even questions. The mysteries of being alive, and inquiries into the nature and meaning of life are often the seeds that grow into a new work.
What is your best working environment/where is your studio? My “studio” is wherever I can find the space. Currently, my husband (bronze sculptor Gary Persello) and I share a tiny room in our house for studio space.
Where can your products be seen? My website has the most up-to-date works available for viewing.
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: One of my favorite pieces is the very first beaded top I created, called “Desert Demonstration.” This piece actually began as a necklace/choker, but it took on a life of its own and evolved into a top made entirely of beads and gemstones. This was the beginning of a whole new direction for my work, and it really taught me to trust the creative process.
Anything else you wish to add? For me, one of the most exciting aspects of creativity is in not knowing where it will take me next. The most recent turning point in my work has led to the combining of knitting with beadwork, and I am enjoying the new possibilities this has led to. But I fully expect this will become something else entirely, and I welcome this unknown twist of fate!