Meet Ashley Roebuck – Artful Beaded Tapestry

This month we feature a talented beader whose artistic talents and personal love of animals and nature, as well as a personal appreciation for beauty, has been a boon for those who enjoy not only loom beading, but also off-loom bead weaving stitches, i.e., square stitch and peyote stitch.

Ashley Roebuck lives in gorgeous West Virginia, and learned art basics in a stint as a college art major. Her 10-year beading adventure began with jewelry-making, when she discovered and became obsessed with Jill Wiseman’s YouTube tutorials; she especially enjoyed the bead weaving stitches (I can relate; Jill’s “sticky-outy” terminology is now part of my vocabulary!). At some point, Ashley decided to transition from jewelry to making art with beads (“you can only give away so much to friends and family,” Ashley said, something many beaders can relate to, I’m sure!). And now, “my loom has my heart,” she says.

As Ashley works, she is kept company by her cat, Bunny, who loves to distract her and sleep on her bead mat. (Someone should survey beaders as it seems to me that most of us are animal lovers!)

Ashley breeds ball pythons, who have inspired some of her designs, and it was while participating in reptile shows that she started making animal themed tapestries to display and sell at the shows.

“I clearly love animals and they have become a predominant theme in my beadwork,” shared Ashley.

You’ll find dogs, cats, reptiles, tigers, birds, elephants, aquatic life…an amazing collection of animal-inspired tapestries. Ashley’s patterns/artistry is outstanding and yet, she is mainly self-taught in pattern making, which took “many hours of trial and error.”

Ashley’s Etsy shop is a feast for our bead-loving eyes! The tapestry patterns are in a style the artist herself has coined as “beaded illustrations,” i.e., not hyper-realistic like photos, but more like drawings and paintings.

Ashley’s ETSY shop here: AshelyRoebuckArtShop

Along with many animals, you can find yin/yang, fairies, trees, sugar skulls, crosses, anatomical, and holiday themed designs – just a treasure trove of amazing art, in monochromatic and color interpretations. There are a few philosophical phrases as well, such as Stay Positive.

Ashley gathers inspiration from many sources – FB groups and TV shows – for example; she also accepts commission custom work mainly for those who want to keep the memory of a cherished pet alive. Once she has an idea, she goes into creative mode, asking herself “What do I want the overall feel to be? Do I want monochrome and lots of contrast, or pretty and sweet with a bright floral background, or dark and mysterious?”

Ashley created the FB group, Bead Tapestry Makers and Designers and is a member of Loom Beading and Square Stitch.

 

“I really love making patterns that lean monochrome because I can get beautiful details while not having to use a large amount of colors which helps with cost when making it. However, I know some people just crave bright colors so I've been playing with some pop art inspired patterns.”

(I have to say that I love the Van Gogh-inspired pieces – so dreamy and lovely! In fact, I’d say that Ashley’s art has a depth to it, a soul, that isn’t necessarily easy to capture in beadwork.)

With design decisions made, Ashley uses BeadTool4 to design the tapestry. Working with a Mirrix loom and Miyuki 11/0 Delicas, for their “fantastic” variety of colors and finishes, and her favorite needle, the Tulip loom work beading needle, Ashley has herself beaded five of her designs thus far and relies on a beader/tester for help. (According to The Spruce Crafts, Tulip and Miyuki needles, both Japanese products, have rounded tips. This is perfect for loom beading as the needles are less likely to split a thread as you pass the needle through your line of beads.)

Reviews on her Etsy shop speak to the quality of Ashley’s work: “beautiful and easy to use…great directions…my question was quickly resolved.”

Due to popular demand, one by one, Ashley has been adding peyote versions to her loom pattern listings at no additional cost.

So dear beadlings, to quote one of Ashley’s tapestries, Stay Positive, and stay beading! Until next month, Cathy.

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