Rachel Nelson-Smith

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Santa Cruz, CA

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My Bio

Rachel Nelson-Smith, author of Seed Bead Fusion: 18 Projects to Stitch, Wire and String (Interweave Press, 2009, is a master beadweaver whose work is infused with her unique combination of fabrication techniques. With a wealth of knowledge and fearless adventure, needle and tools shape bold and vibrant works alive with enormous energy and dynamism. Finding inspiration in surrounding nature, pure color, and beads themselves, Rachel creates pieces reflecting the world she sees around her.

Examples of her dynamic finished work have appeared in Masters: Beadweaving (Carol Wilcox Wells, Lark Books, 2008) where she was featured along with other modern beadweaving masters in 2008 as well as seven projects in Kate Shoup Welsh’s Not Your Mama’s Beading (Wiley Publishing, 2006) and instructional jewelry-making books Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence (Lark Books, 2009) and Sharilyn Miller's Contemporary Copper Jewelry (Interweave Press, 2009).

Rachel pushes the boundaries of improvisational beadweaving combinations and wire techniques to amaze the viewer. Since 1996, Rachel has offered basic to advanced classes in the California Bay Area for the South Bay Bead Art Guild, bead stores, park & recreation programs, and privately. Since 2005, her designs have been offered at national bead shows Bead & Button Show and Puget Sound Bead Festival and around the US in bead stores and for bead societies. 

She resides in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA with husband Colin.