Mika Chante

My name is Mika and I’m a self taught folk artist who’s been beading since I was 8 years old. I started beading at a time when my mom was throwing hobbies at me hoping something would stick, and beading did. One day she came home with a loom kit that had a purple loom, some bead patterns and a bag full of mixed color beads. I immediately took to it and have been beading ever since.

Four years ago while living in South America I saw a girl wearing a Colombian beaded collar. Although I was familiar with African beadwork, I had never seen anything like what she was wearing. I was so enamored I began furiously searching how to create beaded collars like the one I saw. I still can’t create necklaces like that (lol) but what’s grown from my attempts is my own unique style of beading.

My signature style is extra large, triangular shaped, colorful, over the shoulder beaded collars. I love to work in monochromatic tones, using upward of 5 different shades of a color on one beaded piece. I use thousands and THOUSANDS of beads to create my pieces. I love beading so much I work wherever I can, on the couch, in the car, in my bed with my little beading mat. My favorite materials are crystals, shells, and of seed beads but my most favorite seed bead of all are milky seed beads.

I collect vintage milky seed beads, Preciosa milky seed beads, and Toho milky seed beads. I love any bead that’s iridescent. I have 3 boxes and a small two drawer dresser filled with seed beads. I love to teach when I can but mainly teach wire wrapping techniques as beadwork is time consuming and requires tons of patience.

This year I would like to begin working on beaded tapestries inspired by feminine shapes and classic symbology. I like to collaborate with different models, painters, and artists whenever I can. I am endlessly inspired by indigenous beadwork from Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, Ecuador and Greenland. My dream is to own an original beaded necklace from Greenland, and to have my collection of over 40 beaded collars (and growing) displayed in the African American Smithsonian museum.

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