Brenda Brousseau - Artist Statement

I am a self-taught beadwork artist. I have been beading for over 40 years. In more recent years I have used this medium as a way to document my inner journey of spiritual growth and healing. I work with ritually significant forms, like headdresses and mandalas, layering them with personal symbolism and meaning.

Beadwork is labor intensive. It can take an hour to do a 1 inch by 1 inch area. So to do a 17 x 17 inch mandala is hundreds of hours. The time involved to make each piece determines the price, so they can be quite expensive. So far only small pieces have sold. This issue will be addressed in the project area.

When I start a new beadwork piece I usually have a rough idea of what it will look like, and I have the title. Throughout the process, I continue to have dialogues with the art. This keeps me open to new directions and lets each piece grow organically into the finished artwork

My beadwork has been shown in both group and solo exhibitions across the country. Both the headdresses and the mandalas have won awards. My headdress, It's Not Nice To Fool Your Motherboard, won the juror's choice award at the 35th Annual Contemporary Craft Exhibit in Mesa, Arizona. The prize for that award was to have a solo exhibit in Project Room during the next years Craft Exhibit.

I have also won 4 grants. Each grant I used to expand on my collections, whether they were headdresses or mandalas. The latest grant is for a project entitled The Garden of Truth. The exhibit will be outside lining a board walk through a garden. One of the panelist on that grant said of my work " She is pushing the boundaries between what is traditionally considered craft and bringing it into a fine art realm. This is a valuable development for both her own career and the art scene as a whole."

That statement was so spot on about how I feel about my beadwork. I push myself into a place of uncomfortableness where boundaries are erased. I probe difficult issues; war, death, gender roles. The juxtaposition of beadwork/issues produces a conflict which one does not expect going into the work.

My art is a reflection of my life, I have found that even though my art is very personal, once the viewer knows the story behind the art they find their own truth within it. Conversations start at that moment.

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