ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lucia Antonelli, a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. describes the fashion career that followed graduation as stressful, unsatisfying and brief. Finding expression for her creativity and love for beauty has become a life journey. It is a journey that has taken her through several careers, including newspaper illustration, designing handbags, weaving and stained glass work. Then she discovered beads.
ABOUT THE WORK
The work of Lucia Antonelli begins with antique beads of many varieties. Most essential to the character of her work, though, are the cut brass, and sometimes steel beads, found almost exclusively in evening bags from the late nineteenth and very early twentieth centuries. When she finds a damaged bag (she will only take beads from bags that cannot be repaired) she removes the beads, cleans and polishes them. Then Antonelli uses the beads in combination with others to create her lavish, sensual and unique art jewelry pieces.
The other beads she uses are antique as well, made from coral, turquoise, bone, amber, amethyst and many other varieties of stone. Many are of ethnographic interest, such as antique beads from Asia and Africa. “One could easily say I am obsessed, and accumulating the materials I work with brings me great joy. The depth, richness and beauty of these other cultures are truly reflected in the components I use.”
Many of Antonelli’s necklaces feature a strong center element. This center element is often antique, too, perhaps an antique button, perhaps, or amulet. Frequently, Antonelli will craft her own centerpiece, using sterling silver and/or 18k gold.
Among Antonelli’s many collectors are Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Taylor and Cloris Leachman.
1996 The Rebellious Bead, Creative Partners Gallery, Bethesda, MD
- Metamorphosis: Recycling in High Fashion, San Francisco Folk Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
- The Bead Goes On, University of Oregon Museum of Art, Eugene, OR
2004 500 Beaded Objects, Terry Krautwurst, November 2004
- Lapidary Journal, The Bead Annual, October
1992 The New Beadwork, Alice Scherer and Kathryn Moss