• Thomas Loftin

Fan Made Friday: Maria Heid

Today we spotlight and interview custom bead artist, Maria Heid.

Honor The Force: What sparked your love of Star Wars?

Maria: I was always interested in fantasy and sci-fi. So, when I first watched Star Wars something about 25-30 years ago; I simply got hooked.

Honor The Force: How did you get into beadwork?

Maria: In 2006/2007, I started making jewelry. First not very regularly, but after a while more often. In the beginning I never thought about making jewelry for geeks like myself. Then a friend started knitting Dr. Who scarves and I thought that it would be fun making that as a bracelet so fans could wear it all year round. Then it was a short step for me as a Star Wars fan designing the first Star Wars inspired patterns. It began with the Rebel Logo, Imperial Logo, Mandalorian and so on. Friends (and their friends) started to ask me to make bracelets for them in special colors and/or designs so they could also wear Star Wars jewelry at work or wherever they wanted to show that they are Star Wars fans. It became more and more popular.

Honor The Force: When making your beaded art, what process do you follow?

Maria: In the beginning I mostly thought about all the logos and helmets I could use as a pattern for the bracelets. Sometimes it was a bit tricky to transform a special design into a beading pattern, because the beads have their size and you have to keep that in mind when you are choosing a special design. You just can't draw a line or shadows like on paper. You have to follow the "line" the beads create. I don't want to make the bracelets too wide because I want to keep them wearable. Occasionally, this limits the possibilities of transforming everything into a beading pattern.

Honor The Force: How do you choose character or the design?

Maria: Usually it starts with a picture, a comic or a piece of art which inspires me to think about the possibilites of turning it into a beading pattern. Ahsoka was the first character I turned into a beading pattern because I just loved the way she looked on a picture. First, I wasn't sure it would be possible because of the fine lines and little details. I started to think about what was important on that picture and started to turn that picture bead for bead into a pattern. For such complex patterns it's a very time consuming process. I started several times from the beginning until I found the right size of the character. You have to take care of the eyes, nose and mouth. If these are to small you can't recognize them and if these are too large you don't have enough space for designing the rest of the head and body.

Honor The Force: How long does it take to produce a piece a beadwork?

Maria: How long I need for designing a pattern depends on how complex the design is. For simple logos and helmets with not too many details I need a few hours. For Darth Talon #2 I needed several days. Then you need time for choosing the right beads. Sometimes it's quite a challenge to get the right color you need for a design and sometimes you have to make a compromise because the color you need isn't available. The simplest part is the bead weaving. The technique I use is called peyote and is very simple to learn. After creating the design and choosing the beads I usually need 6 to 7 hours for finishing a bracelet.

Honor The Force: What advice would you offer to an aspiring artist using the same medium as yourself?

Maria: Use high quality beads and beading thread. The colors look better and are more durable. Also, take care of your eyes. The beads are tiny so after 10-15 minutes be sure too look up and at something in the distance so the eyes can relax again. Don't give up. Sometimes it helps to put a design away for a few days when you don't know how to turn a special detail into a beading pattern. For me it's very exciting seeing a finished design turning bead for bead into a wearable bracelet.

Thank You, Maria Heid for helping us Honor The Force!

If you would to see more of Maria's work, visit her Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/wishfulthings