S&A Beads Art Hop Artist 2015: Dr. Sky

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Larry Silverman | 0 comments

ART HOP 2015:

Mark your calendars for the annual Takoma Park Art Hop on April 24 - 26, from 10am to 4pm. Every year at the end of April, Takoma Park transforms itself into an arts district. This year over 70 distinguished artists from around the Capitol region will be showing and selling some of their best work in the shops, restaurants, galleries and on the streets of Takoma – from Takoma Park, MD to Takoma, DC. For more details on events, artists and transportation see Mainstreet Takoma.

This year, S & A Beads is especially delighted and honored to be displaying the bead and fabric work of Dr. Sirkku M. Sky Hiltunen, known to friends and admirers as Dr. Sky.

Dr. Sky is a long time customer of S & A Beads. We especially love her ability to work with rare large pieces that so many of our customers admire but don’t quite know what to do with. Her sense of color and balance is impeccable. In addition to being a great bead artist, she is an outstanding painter, set designer and clothing maker, among other gifts. In addition and most importantly, there is a spiritual side of her work, which while impossible to describe, is hard not to feel when in the presence of her work.


There is another side to Dr. Sky, which while separate and apart from her jewelry line, will be of great interest to our customers. Dr. Sky is a pioneer in using art to heal wounded souls. If the field of Art Therapy had a guru, Dr. Sky would be it.  Dr. Sky is one of the visionaries behind The Art and Drama Therapy Institute, a facility in northeast Washington, DC that works with intellectually disabled adults.  When I visited last December, I was blown away by the vibrant intellectual and artistic buzz that permeated the place. Everybody there, staff and patients alike, was actively engaged in creating and enjoying beautiful things. Not what you would expect at a place for autistic, brain injured and other seriously disabled persons. I have been to fabulous galleries and museums, I have visited art studios and theaters, and I have spent time in facilities for severely handicapped people; but not all at once and not in the same place before.

As the Institute’s mission statement puts it, “Individuals with Differing Abilities are highly evolved teachers and … creativity is a Divine gift, given as a birth right to each one of us. ADTI tirelessly nurtures their creativity and shares their special gifts with others through ... concerts ...and plays [and other artistic activities]. Most importantly, ADTI aims to change the attitudes of others in society, to value the Individuals with Differing Abilities as our teachers of patience, unconditional acceptance, and unconditional love.”

You don’t have to be a great artist to be an excellent therapist. And certainly many fine artists have little in the way of therapeutic abilities.

But every once in a very long while, a great healer is also a brilliant artist. Such a person is Dr. Sky. Come see her work and meet her in person during Art Hop. We promise you: you will be inspired and delighted.

Larry Silverman



Posted in art hop, dr. sky, takoma park

May Newsletter

Posted on May 06, 2014 by Larry Silverman | 0 comments

Artists and Ivory

This last week-end, May 3 and 4, was a great week-end for artists in our home town of Takoma Park. Over 70 artists were displaying and selling their work in 30 small shops and restaurants. The Art Hop, as it is known, has become a tradition here in Takoma. There were receptions, a trolley to take customers to the different venues, and a gleeful celebration of art and creativity. S & A Beads showcased the work of two artists:

Elizabeth Eby is a fabulous glass artist. Each of her plates and bowls is a unique work of art. At $150 each, they make great Mothers’ Day gifts.

Rabihah Mateen of RAM Jewelry Designs is an extraordinary jewelry maker. We especially like the way she uses the antique and collectible beads that we love so much, in her work. You’ll want to see it, be inspired by it and maybe even own it.

We had such a good reception for these works of art that we decided to continue featuring them in our window through Mother’s Day. If you are in the DC Metro area, you might want to come by to enjoy these one of a kind works of art.

Of course, S & A Beads is hopping with exciting art 365 days a year. We have instituted a new featured artist program that will prominently display the works of some of the best artists in the region. This month we are especially excited by the work of our own Carlista Martin.

On another more serious note, we have been following with great interest new rules about ivory artifacts being considered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. See USFWS Moves to Ban Commercial Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Trade. These proposals have caused quite a stir among antique collectors, musicians and jewelry makers. I won’t try to summarize the rules since they are not final. In general, however, it will be more difficult to buy, sell and transport ivory artifacts. The aim is to stop the slaughter of elephants, which we support. The problem arises in connection with artifacts that were manufactured before there were any rules barring the killing of elephants. Most artifacts from that pre-1976 period are still legal. However, Fish and Wildlife wants to place the burden of proving the age of the items on the owners.

The subject came up when a customer brought in a vintage ivory necklace for re-stringing and re-design. Based on the stringing technique in the original, the appearance of the ivory, the clasp and other indicators, we judged the piece to be a vintage 1950s necklace, well before the ban on harvesting ivory took effect. Of course, after we finished re-stringing it, it looked like new. Which is the problem. We provided our customer with a signed note saying that in the judgment of our artists, the piece dates back to the 1950s. It is now our policy when taking in ivory repairs, to provide such a statement, but only when warranted.

This is probably a good time to remind our folks about all of the great ivory substitutes. Our horn and bone beads, from camels, water buffalo and other domesticated animals, and our many shells and pearls provide artists with a great palette for designing.

Have a beautiful May!


Posted in art hop, artist, may