beadwork by Dr. Meghana kamat
Dr. Meghana Kamat is a leading artist in the area of seed beads, also known as micro-beads (glass beads that are between 1 to 2 mm in size) in India. She started out 25 years back, the first piece made as a replica of her grand-mothers beadwork and today she boasts of having created artworks with over 50 lakh (5 million) seed beads. She was a practicing doctor in Malaysia and on her return to India, she emerged herself in various skills like single thread embroidery and seed beads layouts, carrying forward an ancient craft that is mostly practiced in a few regions of Gujarat.
Beadwork, the art form, in India is as old as 9th century B.C, the technique Dr. Kamat uses is very unique to her own style. She has not only created most complex geometric patterns but has been successful in weaving portraits straight from the photographs. This is a feat that only few around the world have been successful with. With the use of graph charts and mathematical algorithms, Dr. Kamat's art is a scientific approach towards preservation of the crafts for the generations to come. Her work was published in an International magazine - Beads & Buttons.
History of seed beads art:
The history of beads dates back to the Late Old Stone Age (the Upper Paleolithic). But during those days beads were large in size probably made of ivory or shells. The seed beads which are presently used for beads weaving is also an ancient art that can be traced back in the Egyptian items dating back to 4000 years. One of the best examples of those days for beadwork was King Tut of ancient Egypt had beadwork in his tomb and other examples tend to be rare. But there were several beaded items found in Shosoin temple in Nara, Japan dating to 8th century A.D.
Beadwork in India is also noted around 9th century B.C that refers to the braiding beads into horsetails and hairs. The very first reference that speaks evidently about bead weaving is about 1300 A.D. And the earliest mass-produced seed beads were noted to be the Indo-Pacific beads of India and associated regions. They led the bead trade for about 2000 years. Around 1490 the Modern era of beadwork began when Venice learned to turn round tubes into round seed beads.