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Meet the Artist

Ellissa McHenry


…Just a small town girl…


I am proud to be from what some call the Carpet Capital of the World. Can you guess the city and state? After graduating high school attended the grandiose Berry College. You know the one where the deer outnumber the students 8 to 1?

      Initially, I choose to pursue a degree in music performance. For the most of my life, I focused on purely performance based art. I reveled in choral performances, theatre, and live band performances. However, having learned multiple instruments, performing live as both a soloist and group member and the art of both reading and writing music, I was looking for a new challenge, both as an artist and a socially conscious young woman.

     During my sophomore, I became increasingly involved in various progressive organizations on campus. These organizations included the Black Student Alliance, EMPOWER (a group focused on women’s rights), the Sociology & Anthropology Club (which I became president of during my senior year) and Listen (an unofficial LGBT organization which celebrated receiving a long awaited official status in 2012). As a result of my on campus involvement, my passion for social issues began to flourish. It was also during this time, I begin “doodling” with various types of beads and string. Having never taken a course in fashion, design, or jewelry making, I taught myself different techniques by analyzing some of my own store-bought jewelry. Through trial and error, I began to discover the dos and don’ts of basic jewelry making. In the summer of 2006, I also began creating stencils and spray painting canvases.

     After receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, I spent the summer of 2008 as an intern at the High Rocks Educational Corporation in Hillsboro, West Virginia. High Rocks is a leadership organization for young girls in rural West Virginia that specializes in providing a variety of programs and services including mentoring, college preparation and career counseling. While at High Rocks, I served on the planning commitment for the first annual fundraiser Nettle Fest and taught a creative arts class.

     In the fall of 2008, I returned to Georgia, I began exploring different stringing techniques and beading materials. In February of 2009 {beadOnya} was born. Now, strictly working with materials such as jasper, metal, glass, and wood, I have also discovered the fun in working with found and repurposed or recycled materials. Having received many pounds of broken or out-dated pieces of jewelry bought in various department and jewelry stores, my recycled jewelry pieces are becoming a new sources of pride for me. These particular pieces represent us doing our part to find beauty in everything that we use and/or create. I love the concept of creating jewelry from familiar items.

     And now the launching of a brand new website. This site will advertise my skills as an artist and to inform followers of any public appearances, festivals, and/or happenings. BeadOnya.com is the vehicle in which I hope to share my love of empowerment and art. Enjoy!

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