Jo Wood's bead and fiber landscapes celebrate her connection to Nature. They serve as portals to the peace and beauty of place. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is in the collections of Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul MN and the Mayo Clinics, Rochester MN. Her work has been published in Lark Books, NY 500 Beaded Objects (2004), and Beadwork Magazine, Interweave Press "Stitching a Sense of Place In Beads".
Wood was born in Berwyn, IL in 1952. In 1970 she moved to DeKalb, IL to attend Northern Illinois University and study weaving and studio arts. The North Shore of Minnesota has been her home for more than 20 years. Much of that time she lived in a rustic log cabin where she hauled water, heated with wood, and created her intimate scale landscapes with beads.
For several years Jo lived in Duluth, MN as a Northern Communities Land Trust home owner. In 2014 Jo Wood returned to the North Shore of Lake Superior, near Grand Marais where she maintains her home/studio and garden.
In My Garden
7 ½"x 9 ¼"
I delight in the shape, color, and pattern of botanical elegance. With tiny glass bead on textiles, I stitch my intimate impressions of nature. It brings a sense of peace. My artwork express my sense of place, my deep appreciation for and unique relationship with the shores of Lake Superior and forest trails of Northern Minnesota. From this picture book world I stitch images of the familiar yet ever changing patterns of the seasons, the flora, fauna, sky, and waters. Through my work I invite the viewer to share a connection to nature, the abundant variety, peace, and beauty that can be found in our world.
"Painting with beads" is the best way to explain my art making. Beads are my "paint" applied with needle and thread onto a “canvas” of felted wool. Each “painting” is then framed and ready to exhibit.
For me life is tactile and labor intensive ... like my beadwork. Each felted wool foundation (the canvas) is designed and created in my studio, allowing me a range of simple to complex backgrounds for the beadwork. This material adds color, depth and texture to my work and becomes an integral part of the finished image. After creating the canvas I begin the bead embroidery. It’s a patient art form. Choosing one bead at a time and stitching up to a hundred beads per square inch, it can take days, weeks, or months to complete a piece. While continuing to explore beads and fiber as my medium, I produce images that express my personal experience, the inspiring moments of being here, the stories of my life and place.
My beaded landscapes have found homes throughout the region, state, country, and Europe. Explore my gallery pages for available works. You can contact me for more information or to purchase my bead art. I would be happy to talk with you about a commission piece for your personal collection.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" "An Artist!" was always my reply. Working with textiles has been my lifelong journey, developing and practicing my needle and fiber skills for more than 40 years. While studying Northern Illinois University from 1970 to 1973, I tried my hand at almost every medium in the Fine Arts Department. Painting and weaving were my favorites. In 1974 I earned my Associates of Arts Degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Kishwaukee College in Malta, Il.
While raising a family I worked in alterations, tailoring, and custom sewing (making everything from wedding ensembles to tipis). After moving to the North Shore in 1986 I supported my family for several years by weaving birch bark baskets and sewing original designs in fur and leather.
The addition of colorful bead embroidery to my leather bags, mittens, and even baskets lead me to my hearts true calling. With my love of color, a preference and patience for hand stitching, and an endless inspiration from nature I chose to narrow my focus. Since 1994 “painting with beads” has been my personal means of artistic expression.
Over the years I’ve beaded on different textiles, choosing wool and then felted wool as the best “canvas” for my work. Now I design and felt the wool backgrounds for many of my pieces. Exploring this unique medium continues to be artistically challenging, exciting, and rewarding.
Raven Caw II