Because Mirador’s word count is purposefully limited, we often can’t fit everything we would like to into our print edition. We are offering this complete interview with acclaimed beadwork artist Margaret Nazon to our readers so you can get a more complete sense of her work. We have mostly kept these words exactly as Ms. Nazon wrote them, other than a few edits for clarity.

A colorful space image

Photo: Hubble V838 Monocerotis © NASA The Hubble Heritage Team (Aura |STS cl)

Margaret, first off, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and be a part of our magazine, we really appreciate it! And we are also so grateful for you allowing us to use your work as our cover design. We had several different concepts for this issue and when put to a blind test, each of our team chose The Light Echo well and above the others.  I think our readers are going to really enjoy it. 

Mirador Magazine (MM): As your beautiful work, The Light Echo, will be featured on our cover, I wanted to ask what the title of the piece means to you?

Margaret Nazon (MN): The “light echo” is the physical phenomenon caused by light reflecting off surfaces far from the source and to me that is similar to passing on knowledge.  Knowledge reflecting off one generation to another in order to survive.

MM:  I understand The Light Echo was inspired by images of The Hubble Space Telescope. What drew you to create beadwork art based on photographs from space?

MN: My late partner Bob Mumford was the person who introduced me to  Hubble’s pictures in 2008.  The first picture he printed was a fuzzy galaxy, and to him, the image looked much like beadwork. It was then I knew I had to bead one of the images.  My first image was the “Cat’s Eye” nebula and I used various beading techniques to capture parts of the image. I also decided I wasn’t going to use the same size beads to do the image but, that I was going to use a mixture of size, colors, and type of bead (glass, metal, or shell).

MM: Over the years, as telescopes and technology have advanced, we are seeing images that are clearer and much farther away, discovering new things about the Universe all the time. The new James Webb telescope will extend those discoveries even further. What are your thoughts about this and how will it affect your work?

MN: I believe the James Webb telescope will find the first galaxies formed in the universe plus show how stars were formed or discover how the universe was created.  I believe the early galaxies will be more diffused.  I think my beading techniques will remain the same BUT the images will be more diffused, for example, a galaxy with arms will now look like a mass of gas, stars, and dust. To me that is a real abstract image.

MM: What sorts of materials do you enjoy working with? 

MN: I usually work with canvas-backed black twill which is durable or black velvet for its plushness. The canvas provides strength so that the weight of the beads doesn’t stretch the twill or velvet. I have tried denim and found the colors don’t show up like they do on a darker color.

MM: Along with images from space, what other things inspire your art?

MN: I am also inspired by nature.  I enjoy beading insects, landscapes and birds.

MM: What do you enjoy listening to while you work? Do you have any animal companions in the studio?  

MN: Music varies but I prefer to listen to classical, jazz, and opera with Ben Heffner.  I have no indoor pets.

photo of Margaret Nazon
credit: Pamela Moore

Photo courtesy Pamela Moore

MM: At what age did you begin doing beadwork and what/who were your influences?

MN:  I started beading when I was about 10.  My mother did not bead, she told me if my grandmother was not satisfied with the beadwork, mother would have to undo and redo it.  When my mother got married and moved to her husband’s home she threw out all her beads. As she puts it, “I was under my own roof and could make my own decisions”.  Because of that story, I had to learn from the other ladies in the community. 

MM: How has your life experience influenced your work?

MN: I was raised on the land and every year we do the same activities in order to survive so repetition makes perfection and I apply that rule to all that I do.

MM: Where do you currently live and how does your environment influence your work? 

MN: I live in Tsiigehtchic, NWT, a community of about 200 people.  Although there are street lights the night sky is still visible but if I want to have a better view of the Milky Way  I just walk a short distance where there are no street lights and the view is exceptional, I love it and I stand there in awe.

 MM: What impact would you like your work to inspire in others?

MN: Impact?  I would like my artwork to cause people to wonder and learn about their surroundings and try to capture their feelings in their own art form be it music, poetry, drawing, or sewing.  I find beading very relaxing unless I have to meet a deadline, then frustration takes over.  When that happens I take a break, go for a walk and let nature calm me.

You can learn more about Margaret Nazon on her website: MargaretNazon.com