Meet Dedra Weiss, Bead Artist, Beadwork Designer
This month’s bead artist creates one-of-a-kind fashion accessories. Dedra Weiss of Austin, Texas designs and makes beaded purses!
Designing glamorous, elegant, and yet functional small purses and handbags, Dedra’s creations are sought out by discerning buyers from around the world. Although she does use some modern and vintage replica frames, Dedra prefers to scout out and lovingly refurbish vintage frames and clasps.
Stemming from a fondness for vintage fashion, her purses embody romance in a piece of wearable art – and they are fabulous!
My mother gave me some beads she had saved from a tattered antique purse. Inspired, I experimented with beadweaving on a loom and made a simple square-shaped purse. It wasn’t anything extravagant, yet it excited me to improve on my design and create more.
Self-taught, Dedra is now a master of purse making whose beaded purses are often custom ordered for a social event, and specifically to match a ball gown. Her art has evolved from the industrious 12-year-old who kept busy making bracelets, belts, and hair clips on a bead loom.
- featured beadwork artist on the HGTV show, Crafters Coast to Coast, for which she beaded the “Petite Rose”purse
- purses featured in nationwide newspapers, radio, and magazines – Southern Living, Southern Bride, Coastal Living, and more (check out some of the articles and segments here)
- commissioned several times to create purses for fundraising auctions and high-profile charitable events
A particularly memorable commission was the 2004 Get Organized New York fundraising Gala in New York City – hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker and Caroline Kennedy and campaigned by REAL SIMPLE magazine. For this event Dedra appropriately titled her one-of-a-kind creation “Manhattan.”
A recent project reached a new milestone in the evolution of Dedra’s art. Her “Honeybee” purse was selected for the Wings and Stings collection opening August 5, 2023, at the Museum of Beadwork in Portland, Maine. The purse’s clasp was a rare find: a 100+ year old frame with a little honey bee on the clasp, a feature Dedra has never seen before.
In her workshop, Dedra is organized, with beads stored according to size, color, style, and shape. Working with size 11/0 seeds, Dedra prefers working with Nymo D thread for its strength – it holds the contents of a small evening purse – and for its thin profile, which allows for multiple passes.
Self-disciplined and goal oriented (a purse may take 50 hours to complete), Dedra also has a dreamy and spiritual disposition, which is beautifully captured on her YouTube vignette-style Vlog, Opals & Clovers, where she showcases slow-living along with her beadwork, art, and poetry. Did I mention that this amazing beader holds six college degrees…a true renaissance woman.
Dedra dreams of one day having a travelling museum/public art collection of her purses….and I don’t doubt that this dream will one day come true!
I am blessed and grateful for the opportunity to turn my passion into a business.
For those of you lusting after a wee little treasure for your own collection, note that every January, Dedra offers a digital course, suitable for beginner to advanced beaders, featuring written and visual instructions, in creating your own fold over flap beaded purse (find more info or join the waiting list for January 2024 here).
Where to find Dedra online:
Bea-delighted! Bead Inspired! Cathy