A spirited approach to polymer

Washington’s Fanita Brandeis is another overlooked name in polymer history. Fanita opened the first bead shop in Washington, Sunshine Bead Co., starting in 1967. Ronna Weltman and Doris Coroch sent me links to Fanita but somehow I missed her page.

Recently a picture of her studio bead table on Flickr caught my eye and made me want to reach out and run my hand over her stash of polymer goodies.

Fanita prefers her art with some imperfections and I kept finding references to her “queen of collage” status. Her beads are not the result of any special tricks or techniques. They exude a spirited approach toward color and life.

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  • reply Ronna ,

    Imagine my surprise a few years ago when I visited a local bead show and discovered a white-haired gentle and gracious spirit at a table with delightful beads she had crafted out of polymer clay. Because she isn’t Internet savvy, her art is sort of a well-kept secret. Her jewelry is fabulous. Thank you, Cynthia.

    • reply Anita Brandon ,

      What wonderful necklaces! To me they look like each has some sense of a history and somehow remind me of the treasures in my grandmothers bead collection box. .

      • reply Helen Hughes ,

        Congratulations Fanita! And…thank you Cynthia for bringing Fanita’s work to the polymer clay community. She is so deserving of this honor to be highlighted on Polymer Clay Daily.

        • reply genevieve ,

          Well don’t I just love her work!

          • reply Dede Leupold ,

            Oh wow! I remember her bead store well, it was the coolest. And my favorite store. I lived close by and would go often. So nice to re-connect with that history and find out she is a wonderfully creative polymer artist as well!

            • reply Peg Harper ,

              What a wonderful Monday morning slideshow. Makes my fingers itch.
              Thank You, Cynthia.

              • reply Meredith Arnold ,

                How wonderful to find Fanita showcased this morning! She truly follows her own voice and always has with exquisite results. Thanks for updating the world about her work, Cynthia!

                • reply William P. Hungerford ,

                  Many years ago, my wife and I visited Fanita’s bead shop in Seattle while traveling from New Jersey. My wife, Cathy, quickly filled a shopping bag with purchases. Of course, we had to hand carry the polymer jewelry on the plane because we didn’t want to risk having anything damaged. Cathy continues to produce marvelous surprises out of this very special jewelry collection when we go to a party or function. She is sure to get a compliment from both me and others when she wears Fanita’s unique polymer jewelry. . Blessings to you, Fanita for your artistic contribution to our lives.

                  • reply Christy Dickerson ,

                    Geting to know Fanita is one of the blessings I’ve recieved since moving back to the Seattle area. She has a very generous and special artistic spirit. Her enthusiasm and creativity are contagious. It was a very special treat to see her work recognized today on PCD!

                    • reply Nan Robkin ,

                      Good on you, Fanita! I remember Sunshine Beads very well! And I still have some things I bought there, lo! those many years ago! It’s nice to see you get the recognition your deserve so well for your wonderful art!

                      • reply Robin Denny ,

                        Seattle’s first bead shop. Fanita has always been on top of the creative moves. You could write a full article on her creations, and never cover them all.
                        Congtratulations Fanita. Robin

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                        • I'm Cynthia Tinapple, an artist, curator, and leader in the polymer clay community for over 20 years.

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