Thursday, March 25, 2010

Interview with Charlene Abrams of More Than Somewhat

Business Name: More Than Somewhat
Real Name: Charlene Abrams
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Blog Page:
Tell us a bit more about yourself?
By day I'm a nerd in software, and by night I get out the seed beads and reading glasses and indulge myself. I bead and knit and spin mostly, though I've tried just about every fiber art and needlecraft I know of.

How did it come to be that you started working with seed beads?
I have been dabbling in everything since forever, seed beads included - in fact I even "invented" (I came up with it on my own, in a vacuum, as no one I knew did seed beading) peyote stitch in high school, making myself a belt (which I could never figure out how to fasten). Every few years, I'd buy a beading magazine or make a beding project, and then go back to knitting or spinning or sewing or whatever. About five or six years ago I didn't put away the beads, and have been beading consistently since then.

How long have you been creating with seed beads?
Since I was a teenager (and I'm not saying how long ago that was!)

Is there any significance to the name of your shop?
Not really. I didn't want a name that was tied to any particular medium, or expressed any sort of visual aesthetic, and didn't really mean anything. I wanted to call it "Not So Much", since apparently I used to say that a lot, but it's too negative, so More Than Somewhat it is.

What inspires you? 
It's hard to say. Sometimes it's a colour, or a bead, or a set of constraints, or someone else's work. Anything and everything.

Do you listen to music or TV while you work?
I listen to NPR online: Fresh Air, This American Life, Radio Lab, and news programs

Do you have common colors you work with?
I don't think so. I avoid primary and pure secondary colours, but otherwise anything goes.

What is your favorite color palette?
I really like murky, complex colours that can't be described by a single word. So I'm unlikely to work in red, though I might use a deep crimson, or an iridescent brick, or something like that.

Do you have a favorite technique? Which one and why?
Not really. I use whatever technique will give me the effect I want at the time.

Do you do shows or vending of any sort? Where?
I have a weaver friend who has an annual home show that's worked out really well for me. I have taught at some of the national bead shows, and sell my beading kits there, but I haven't done any juried art shows.

Do you teach beading classes? Where?
I teach at my local bead store twice a month, and at national bead shows when they accept my proposals. I've also taught at a few fiber arts and weavers' guilds.

Do you sell your work in any galleries/shops? Where?

Where do you see yourself in your business in 5 years?
Hard to say. I have a day job which certainly cuts into my beading time, and is quite frankly more lucrative. I'd like to teach around the country more, and perhaps through that exposure, I'll be able to sell more finished beadwork. I've been building up a good (though small) customer base, and I think this is a good way to go, as the repeat customers are the best. Much as I'd love to be able to support myself with beading (whether teaching, selling kits or selling finished jewellery), it seems unlikely at this time, but I'll never say never!


  1. Wow Charlene. Absolutely gorgeous!!! So intricate. Spectacular!

  2. Fantastic work!

  3. Great interview. It's nice to get to know our members a little better.