Betty Cox is from San Marcos, California, and she has been a bead/jewelry artist for seven years. She considers her work to be wearable art, and her work has been published in beading magazines Beading Polska and Perlon Posie. She teaches beading in her home town and has participated in Battle of the Beadsmith three years in a row. We at Miri Gallery are pleased to show one of her pieces during the “Welcome to My World: Mental Health Awareness Through Art” exhibit, and Betty has taken the time to answer some interview questions:
•• Tell us a little about your background. What made you interested in art? Who were your early influencers?
I’ve always been into the arts, even as a young child. Drawing was my favorite. I later discovered music and performing as a cellist. Later I became an RN, and then onto a Certified Nurse Midwife. After my kids grew up I found my need for creative expression again through the bead world. There are a lot of bead artists throughout the world that have influenced me. All art inspires me. There is no one main influence except some bead artists that create jewelry that is also wearable art. Most of my work focuses around a focal piece along with color and texture and unusual items.
•• How is your personality reflected in your work?
I’ve been told that I’m passionate, colorful, bubbly, accepting of others, a bit rebellious, and full of energy! I do like to surprise people and often try NOT to be like everyone else.
•• What is your current medium and why have you chosen to work with it?
I have been working with beads and mostly bead embroidery which is represented in my piece, "All Knowing." I love doing it because I feel like I can express myself and create a one of a kind piece, whether its art or wearable art.
•• In your viewpoint, what does it mean to be an artist?
An artist is not afraid to express themselves using their own unique style.
•• Please tell us a bit about your piece that is being exhibited at Miri Gallery. How does it fall into the theme of mental health awareness?
My piece, “All Knowing", was created with my daughter in mind. I admire her talents, wisdom, beauty, skills and perception of others and herself. She has a unique gift that allows her to help people and through self awareness with Bipolar disorder, she has developed skills and interest in wanting to help others. All Knowing means having the extra ability of knowing and perceiving the world in one’s extreme viewpoint and awareness. The bottom 3 symbols are, one, the peace sign, a face profile with a piece of a puzzle which represents those with brain disorders, and the female sign, representing her. Those symbols represent the type of person she is. This piece includes various types of eyes which represent different sides or moods, and all of the intense bright colors represent mania. I find that most people are intrigued by this piece and see some of themselves in it. My daughter, Lauren and I are very passionate about mental health and the stigma. I belong to Nami, The National Alliance of Mental Illness. My son also has a brain disorder, Schizoaffective. His wisdom teeth are in the smile of All Knowing. My daughter is working on her Masters degree in Counseling and Mental Health.
•• What kind of creative patterns or routines do you have?
I bead daily, and work full-time, so my time is precious. When I created this piece, 'All Knowing," I had 2 months to create it for a contest that I’ve participated the last 3 years. They are big pieces. It’s an international bead contest called “Battle Of The Beadsmith.” I teach albeit embroidery also, and often spend times creating kits to teach.
•• What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
My favorite piece is this piece, "All Knowing" and another piece I created this year, called, “My Life ... As The Midwife." It represents me.
•• Who are your current art inspirations? Do you look to other artist’s work during your artistic process?
I do look to others work for inspiration. Mostly focal pieces with a theme inspire me. Glass, porcelain, clay artists are presented in my work.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
If I could work with other mediums I’d want to do sculpture and oil painting and more polymer clay.
You can see Betty’s beautiful and vibrant piece, “All Knowing” at Miri Gallery on September 16 during the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll.