Summer of ART Guest Blog Post – Maria Schoenenberger, Bead Artist

Summer of ART Guest Blog Post – Maria Schoenenberger, Bead Artist

When Beads of Courage asked me to write about why I like polymer clay, my first thought was, “It’s August. In Las Vegas. In the desert. It’s 113 degrees outside!” The idea of turning on a blow torch in the garage is not that appealing.

Then I remembered my roots. Before there were lampwork glass beads, there was polymer clay. I used to sell kaleidoscope canes on eBay back in 2001. I remember the smooth, cool texture of clay. No anxieties or worries about burning my fingers or cutting my hands. There is no thermal shock with polymer clay. No issues with chunks of hot lava popping off a rod of glass and dropping down my shirt. Polymer clay is a very calming material. There are tons of colors that can be easily swirled or stacked into an infinite number of designs. You literally can’t mess up. That’s a very calming feeling. I get so relaxed when working with clay. Not a care in the world.

Then there is the geek in me who revels in the engineering marvels of kaleidoscope canes.  I get a weird, science thrill when I cut open a cane and put the sides together and everything matches up perfectly. The perfect geometry, the perfect fractal, the perfect design.  Every little line matches up to every other line. All the parts in their place. As nature intended.

As my canes come to life, I think of the kids. I get so much joy by donating my beads.  Each bead represents a smile, a giggle, a look of astonishment.  “Mom, how did they do that? Are those designs painted on that bead?!” And, for a moment, that child no longer has an IV in their arm or a doctor at their bedside. They are just a plain ol’ kid getting excited about a little blob of clay with a design on it. That makes me happy.

I owe a debt of gratitude to all the little warriors out there fighting the fight. Thank you for letting me explore the art of polymer clay all over again. It’s been 19 years since I worked with clay and I forgot how fun it was. Thank you for making me smile when I cut into a cane and see the wonderful designs. I hope you all will stare at the kaleidoscope designs with happiness, joy and wonderment. 

– Maria Schoenenberger, Beads of Courage supporting bead artist

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Note from BOC: From June through September, we are shining a spotlight on four amazing communities of volunteer artists and crafters who support our mission year-round with their beautiful donated goods. The handcrafted beads, bags and bowls they donate strengthen our arts-in-medicine mission and bring beauty to the bedside of kids coping with serious illness.

YOU can help with a monetary gift to the Summer of ART fundraising campaign. Be a rock star! Donate $50 or more and receive this awesome TIE DYE T-shirt as our exclusive thank-you gift just for Summer of ART supporters! PEACE. LOVE. ART.