Bonnie Van Hall GlassWear Art Couture: Beaded Clothing, Jewelry, Handknit Wearables, Handbags

Artist Biography and Statement

Bonnie Van Hall was born in 1962 in Grand Haven, Michigan. While living in Hawaii in 1987, she learned basic beading techniques and began to make jewelry. After several years of travel, Bonnie settled in Prescott, Arizona, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Transpersonal Psychology. In addition to her inquiries into the human mind and spirit, she has long been involved in investigating other topics such as quantum physics, sacred geometry, fractal mathematics, and cosmology. In 1997, after ten years of working with various off-loom jewelry-making techniques, Bonnie began to pursue a long-held interest in creating larger pieces. Intrigued with the possibilities inherent in beading larger surface areas, she designed and executed several tapestries on a large hand-made beading loom. While these tapestries allowed for more versatility in pattern design because of their larger size, she found that they seemed to lack a flexibility in form, as they were limited to the size and shape of the loom itself. In pulling together aspects from both types of work (both loom and off-loom), she has conceived a line of clothing that incorporates a “fabric”, similar to a glass chain mail, made entirely of beads and thread. This, she finds, allows her the versatility necessary to incorporate larger and more intricate patterns, while rendering a finished piece that is no longer restricted to the rectangular shape imposed by the loom. In recent works, Bonnie has been expanding upon the theme of three dimensions through the incorporation of bead-layering techniques and the inclusion of knitted pieces with beadwork. Her goals also include an exploration of the spiritual dimension of form, and its relationship to the ideas expressed in Platonic philosophy, anthroposophy, animism, and Jungian psychology.


"I am fascinated by the idea of fashion and clothing as a physical expression of spiritual realities. The glass beads I use in my wearable beaded designs embody light (spirit) frozen in physical form (life on earth), and I find them to be a poetic and beautiful way of expressing these spiritual essences. My artistic philosophy is derived largely from the anthroposophical view that art's purpose should be to bring an experience of the spiritual into our material world. Beauty is the primary vehicle through which the spirit shines into and resonates with our senses. Therefore, beauty is a key element in my work and largely determines its direction. I feel that even the so-called "traditional women's needlearts" (such as handknitting) can be elevated to fine arts when this philosophy of beauty is applied to them."

©2010 All art by Bonnie Van Hall; all images by Bonnie Van Hall and Gary Persello unless otherwise noted.