Becky Beamer, “Evolution of Tradition”

1. Full-Frame Book Work
This book installation is one solid piece.
The hand-made paper pages capture the evolution of
tradition that grew from the red dirt.
The glass beads were purchased in the same city
where the master bead workers formed their pieces.
2. Close-Up Book Work
This is technically the back of the piece. The
pages, the oral history, are slightly hidden from
the public. Upon closer examination, the beauty
of each page and the repetition of the crafts are
revealed.
3. Close-Up Book Work, 2
This view highlights the precision necessary to complete
the work. The found objects and new hand-made objects
become one book – one history.
4. Close-Up Book Work, 3
Please note how each page is carefully sewn into the
book. It’s a brand new sewing technique and form
developed to use across the metal rods and through the
beaded areas. It is similar to sewing on tapes.
5. Artistic Process
This is part of the stack of paper made by the artist
for this book. The muted colors evolve over time
similar to material culture.
Becky Beamer
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
http://www.beckybeamer.com
Evolution of Tradition
2016
Mixed Media: Handmade Paper by Artist, White Glass Beads (Namibian), Found Table, Steel, Thread, Concrete, Dirt from Namibia and Alabama
1
150+
41.25” x 35” x 26”
N/A

 Evolution of Tradition
This piece represents a book that is transformed over time, by many makers.
Influenced by outsiders, the craft culture transforms, bends, and builds through pages, not words. The
assemblage of pages, hiding behind beadwork, reminds me of a story. A story passed on to family and
friends through listening. The story changes, only slightly, over time. It is rooted in the land. The red dirt
“feet” represent the land, Namibia and Alabama.
People come from the red land. The red dirt symbolizes the importance of home in both Namibia and
Alabama where many culture trends derive. The “feet” were influenced by plastic materiality, like
plastics are currently influencing craft culture in Namibia. Though new materials have entered the
landscape, beadwork traditions remains strong in the culture.
The white beads start at the floor – a tradition rooted in the land. Overtime, beadwork patterns changed
which shown through the bead evolution in this book work. The culture traverses the landscape in
parallel – just like the beads. The European style table represents the influence of outsiders on Namibian
culture, most noticeably, Europeans.
I conceptualized this piece after an extended research trip to Namibia to document indigenous craft
process through video and photography. That experience also inspired a book series and installation
called Namibian Craft: the Unknown & the Outsiders.
While I can’t predict exactly how my work will evolve, I do have a call to action. My work always begins
with research and environmental immersion. I gather physical materials and books. Then, I will reflect on
that research through a variety of expression methods and materials. This is my repetition of process that
helps me grow as an artist.
My artistic process is a direct reflection multi-dimensional background in documentary, book arts, and
sculpture. Imagine artworks that are rooted in exploration, research, and storytelling that expose
technical abilities in video, photography, and bookwork. The final products range from installations, to
small press publications, sculptures and films. The common themes that have emerged from my work
include questions about personal identity, the importance of cultural preservation, and a curiosity in
ethnographic explorations. My mission is to leave a lasting contribution to the fields of ethnology, docujournalism,
and book arts by pushing the boundaries and borders of those genres.
Every adventure supplies new inspiration for artistic expression, content and process. I believe in the
immortality of art & collaboration. With so many stories to tell, there’s no reason to stay in one place.
Becky Beamer