Creatures covered with intricate bead designs by Jan Huling

To bead or not to bead? 🙂 This is the question!

Today we will escape the jewelry manufacturing medium and go towards the interior design area, where I want to present Jan Huling to all of you. She is so amazing ! Let`s find out her story.

jan huling

We want to know you better: please tell us something about you personal and professional

I was born and raised in the American Midwest, attended art school in Kansas City, and moved with my husband to New York City in 1981. I worked as a freelance designer for many years designing everything from textiles to dinnerware to ribbon. I also wrote a couple of children’s books, available on Amazon! In 2008 I quit all of my freelance work to concentrate on the beaded sculpture that I’ve become known for. Although I always knew that I would have a career in the arts, this one kind of took me by surprise! I feel very lucky to be enjoying this amount of recognition.

Your work is amazing. How did you discover your beading skills?

Thank you! My sister, who is very creative, came to visit me from Seattle several years ago and brought with her some Pez candy dispensers that she had beaded. I thought that they were cute and funny and wanted to try beading something myself. I’d always enjoyed crafts as a hobby. Well, I started beading kazoos and really enjoyed it so I started working on bigger things and my work started getting attention. Finally after being featured in a few magazines and books I felt that I had to quit my day job to give myself time to create a body of work.

How did you come up with the idea of these awesome constructions?

Really, I just find pieces that I think would be amazing covered in beads. I’ve found that when a shape, a My Little Pony for instance, is covered by a beautiful surface design, when you can no longer see the ugly blue plastic and hideous pink tail and mane, you are then allowed to see the very elegant form underneath it all.

Can you tell us in a few words how do you create such a construction?

Most of my pieces are done on forms that I find, I’m always on the lookout for interesting shapes. I don’t plan my designs, I enjoy just going with the flow and letting the patterns emerge organically. I string the beads and then glue down one line at a time and pull out the thread.

What was the biggest work so far? 

The biggest piece by far is the one I’m currently working on, an 8 foot long praying mantis. I’ve been working on it for several months and am finally nearing completion!

the big bug by jan huling

Which is your favorite creation?

My favorite piece might be Taming the Tiger.


How long does a medium construction takes you to finish?

Hard to say. A 16 inch Kewpie doll may take a couple of weeks, the Tiger took a couple of months. It’s a slow process.

What is your current project?

The big bug.

 What inspires you most?

My travels, particularly those to Mexico and India. But who can say what inspires us subliminally? If I hadn’t eaten and apple today, would I be using a certain shade of blue now? Who knows?

Where can we find you work?

You can find my work here:

photo credits: Phil Huling


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