Joanne Bast rediscovered stitchery as an art form after several scientific degrees. She has worked in many related media involving fabric, thread, wire, and beads. Most of her work has a stitched construction, either worked onto a fabric backing or as a construction technique of its own. She began with framed embroideries and wall hangings both hand and machine stitched and progressed into a "stitches in air" period of thread constructed objects and jewelry, eventually progressing to entirely beaded jewelry. She is fascinated not only by the seductive quality of beads but also by the relationship of structure to function. Sculptural beadwork must stand on its own without diminishing the overall effect of the message or the intricacy of the stitching. Wearable beadwork must be drapeable enough to adapt to a variety of body shapes, flexible enough to be handled, and durable enough to take the stresses of being worn. Her scientific background and years of teaching anatomy, physiology and other assorted biologies have together shown her the importance of structure and function. She also teaches various beadwork classes, has published numerous articles on beadwork techniques, and exhibited in juried shows all over the United States as well as internationally.
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