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Frieda Bates art

Frieda Bates

Frieda Bates


Hi! My name is Frieda Bates.  I started beading when I was 12 years old, doing applique with seed beads and sequins.  At age 20, I met a Navajo woman who taught me basic looming (hat bands), that was my beginning.  I, in turn, taught the woman to crochet.  With 2 small children and no place in a small town to buy supplies, my beading went on the back burner.

At age 23, I decided that I wanted to paint cars. I was already doing body work and had most of the tools that I needed.  I enrolled at Eastern New Mexico University for a one year class on paint and body work.  I just loved it!  To take something that is bent, rusted, and ugly and make it beautiful again is a real rush.  I did that full time for 6 years in my own body shop.  Eventually I sold the shop and now I only paint occasionally for my car-nut husband.

Doing body work was very hard on my hands, so not much beading was done during that time. 

 The beads called to me again.  I was living in a better location and able to get supplies, so I started beading again.  I began making very crude pencil drawings of split loom necklaces.  When I showed them to my girlfriend Jan, she told me about Ray Davis’ book, “Twelve Award Winning Necklaces”.   When she showed me her copy, I started beading seriously.  

At age 30, I was inspired again when I saw a Lee Hutchings split loom necklace in Santa Fe, NM.  Well that did it!  I had found my nitch.  Looming is both my passion and obsession.  For the past 48 years when I am not working, I am beading, mostly all night.  Through long nights and trial and error, it has really come alive for me.  By combining looming and the square stitch together, it gives looming a whole new shape and dimension.

 I do not know whether beading is inherited or contagious, but my daughter Marie likes to bead.  Also, my grandson David likes to string my beads and has been doing so since he was 3 years old.  I have tried many other crafts, such as macrame, crocheting, fiber weaving, knitting and embroidery, but I have always returned to beads.  My favorite is looming.  I also enjoy peyote stitch, square-stitch, brick stitch earrings, and beading on leather jackets.

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