By Rick McVicar
Earlier this week I entered a meditative zone while learning how to make paper beads for bracelets and necklaces.
The beading lesson was part of a class offered by 1221 Art Space at 1221 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio. The studio/gallery is a vocational program for anyone in Franklin County with a mental health or substance abuse diagnosis, sponsored by Concord Counseling Services.
Art instructor Sarah Cassady led the beading workshop and patiently taught me the proper procedures. Cassady spoke about the benefits of “slow” art making for brain health recovery.
The paper beading class began with rifling through old magazines to find a colorful page. I found one with bright yellow, red and orange colors.
The next step was to use a paper cutter to produce long and narrow triangles. I then rolled each triangle around a toothpick. Sometimes the paper did not want to make the curl around the pick.
Rolling the paper slowly and carefully around the toothpick put me into a contemplative state. I became one with the strips of paper.
The final stage was to seal the bead with white glue. I was warned not to put on too much glue. I only wish I had heeded the advice, as cleaning the glue proved difficult on some of my beads.
In the end, I pulled the toothpick out of each bead, which left behind a little hole to slide a wire through the bead.
The beading class is only one of several activities offered by 1221 Art Space. Artists can work in groups, attend classes or work alone in a studio with ample supplies and tools for art making.
Many art pieces adorn the walls of 1221 Art Space for sale to the public, according to Bob Tavani, site coordinator for the gallery. The artwork is strikingly brilliant and includes still life paintings as well as cartoon characters.
“At our soft opening we sold over $500 in artists’ work. We average about $100 a month in sales,” Tavani said.
The studio/gallery features a gift shop as well. Small purses and T-shirts seem to be the top sellers. Meanwhile, art supplies are available for at-cost prices, Tavani said.
Whether paintings are of landscapes or faces, 1221 Art Space provides a wide range of material for pause and reflection
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