Artist Lets Medium Dictate Work



"I don't count beads, I just flow," Gwen Storybead said.

That flow of creativity is sure to take your breath away when looking at her graceful, "Dark Side of the Moon" necklace, bracelet and earring set.


Gwen Storybead with a ceramic vase she designed.

The night is full of stars, as the moon smiles a Mona Lisa smile.

"For me, art is not just an experience of making materials come together -- it is spiritual," Storybead said.

The rainbow-hued lizard on one of her medicine bags is her design. Storybead used number 15 beads that are about the size of the head of a straight pin.

She finds that custom orders are often her best work.

"I am able to sit down and put myself in that person's space and have that flow to create what the customer wants.

"It makes me stretch into areas of creativity that I might not have thought of, because of my own limitations," Storybead said.

Inspired by local artists Carole and Alan Snyder, Storybead decided to try a new art form -- ceramics.


Gwen Storybead made this lizard medicine bag with a tight peyote stitch.

Her hands are a constant flow of motion while she recalls playing with clay mud when she lived in Casa Grande. She was 10 years old and made a miniature adobe house out of mud.

She liked sculpting, but said there were few opportunities to play in high school and college.

Since her move to Payson, art is no longer a luxury.

She has been beading for 14 years and finds she can set those projects aside, but ceramics fully absorb her consciousness.

"I can be working and all of a sudden, realize it has been hours since I ate or took a break," she said.

Her ceramic "Iroquois Wind Spirit" is a wall hanging, a vessel and a luminary.

Wind Spirit was a way for Storybead to express what is "beautiful and tangible" about her native heritage.

Storybead is encouraged in art by her husband of 14 years, Kenny.

"Moving to Payson opened doors and I have stepped into the life I always wanted," Storybead said.


Name: Gwen Storybead


"Darkside of the Moon" necklace, bracelet and earrings set.

Medium: beading

Motto: Keep on truckin'

Advice to beginning artists: Don't be discouraged. Being good takes time.

Award most proud: "Dark Side of the Moon" was featured twice in Fire Mountain Gems catalog and was featured on the back cover of Belle Armoire.

Why Payson? We were on our way to Show Low when I saw the ravens (I love these birds), stopped and met the friendly people and my husband and I said, "Let's try this."

Upcoming project: Ceramics.


Food: Chinese and/or ice cream

Movie: Aliens

Author: Piers Anthony

Song: "Wind Beneath My Wings"

Points of contact: Down the Street Art Gallery, 703 W. Main St., Payson (928) 468-6129. Storybead is one of the featured artists in October. Patrons can find her in the gallery during the reception the evening of Oct. 5 and all day Oct. 12.

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