Beading for Her Life

Using humor and irony, Joyce J. Scott navigates contentious issues like rape, sexism, hunger and class struggle — with beads, hand-blown Murano glass, found objects, wood, wire and thread. One can stand her sculptures in a corner, put them on tables, or wear her startling creations.

She seeks confrontation through her art, “messing with stereotypes, prodding the viewer to reassess.” Scott believes, “we’re all trapped in gender, race and class if you believe you have no freedom of choice and are under the weight of other people’s suggestions about what you are.”

Born in 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland, she is a descendent of African-Americans, Native Americans, and Scots. She comes from three generations of art makers and was raised in a home where she learned directly from her mother, Elizabeth Talford Scott, a fiber artist of national renown.

Among other institutions, she was educated at the Maryland Institute College of Art, BFA, the Institute Allende in Mexico, MFA, and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.
Having exhibited internationally, as well as in the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kruithuis Museum in the Netherlands, New York’s Museum of Art and Design, and the 2013 Venice Biennial, Joyce Scott has a permanent floor mosaic at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. She is featured in a segment of the PBS series, Craft in America. Look her up online, there is a lot more to know.

“I know I’ve got an itch. I guess I just want to keep making work that confounds me. I want to be confused, ignited, knocked down by my own work.”




Sex Traffic
Murano glass with metal, beads, thread & leather
76″ x 16″ x 9.5″




Nigerian wooden object, plastic & glass beads, thread drawing & fabric
33 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ x 17 1/2″



“I make jewelry to be worn. And if it tells about scary, icky subjects,
then so much the better for the person who has the cojones to wear it in public.”



Neckpiece, hand stitched glass beads




Neckpiece, hand stitched glass beads




Lazy Girl
Neckpiece, hand stitched glass and flame-worked beads.



“Enlightenment [is] a path to freedom far beyond the earthly boundaries we chase.
Buddha: a long distance runner searching for the route… traveling on air, wind, fire and water.“

Buddha (Earth)
Murano glass with beads,
wire & thread
27 1/2″ x 11 1/4″ x 11 1/2″

Buddha (Wind)
Murano glass with beads,
wire & thread
20 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ x 13″

Buddha (Fire & Water)
Murano glass with beads,
wire & thread
19 3/4″ x 15″ x 11 1/2″



“It’s important to imbue the work with something that will resonate and
follow somebody home because I think art has the ability, if not to cure
or heal, at least to enlighten (you), slap you in the head, wake you up.”



Man-Eating Watermelon
Beads and thread
Courtesy Edward and Ursula McCracken




Later Baby
Glass beads & thread
10 3/Ž4″ x 4 1/8″ x 3 3/Ž4″




Look Mom – A Doctor
Beads, thread, wood, coins & glass
17 3/4″ x 10″ x 12″




Red Hot Teapot
Beads, thread, Diagonal bead weaving over teapot form



  1. so wonderful love lazy girl and the 3 buddhas and the watermelen eating the man and so many you are very talented thank you. i’m from baltimore

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