Artist Liza Lou spent five years creating a life-size kitchen and backyard out of tiny glass beads. Everything in the two spaces is made of brightly colored glass beads known as “seed beads” and often used for making jewelry. The food, the water in the sink, the furniture and fixtures, and all 250,000 blades of grass in the backyard are made from seed beads. Lou used millions of beads to create these scenes, and used nothing but her hands and a pair of tweezers to place each one in the right place. She started working on the kitchen in 1991 and completed in 1996, and the backyard began in 1999.
While it’s an impressive piece of work, you might ask yourself why anyone would spend five years doing this. It seems that Lou enjoys creating scenes like this out of unlikely materials. She also has help from volunteers.
Meticulous craft work like this is nothing new for Lou, who created large-scale work out of small-scale items for some time. Lou previously worked on other projects concurrently while creating the kitchen and backyard. (Check out her latest project, Color Field.) After settling in South Africa in 2005, Lou began working with Zulu artisans who use the traditional methods of beadwork. This work inspired her to use a similar method in her own art. Her work, however, is not in the Zulu tradition.
Consider this an inspiration if you happen to have about 30 million beads lying around. Let’s hope you have steady hands!