While I have spent the largest part of my adult life as a police officer (27 years) retiring as deputy chief of police, chief of detectives, for the Colorado Springs Police Department in Colorado Springs Colorado, I have also been involved in arts and crafts most of my life.
My first love was woodworking, primarily doing Scroll Saw artwork, displaying and selling my work in a variety of locations. I still maintain my woodshop/studio in my home in the beautiful Black Forest area just northeast of Colorado Springs and I still do a lot Scroll Saw artwork and custom creations as well.
I have also done leatherwork as well as many other crafts. Once I suffered a bit of an illness and was on the road to recovery, but not yet able to return to work. My wife got tired of hearing me complain about being bored and she bought me a counted cross stitch kit. I did that kit and was hooked for several years, making many small and large (some very large) projects. Whenever we went into a craft shop to purchase embroidery floss or patterns, the clerks would always ask my wife if they could help her. She would point to me and say “he’s the stitcher, not me”. They would then try to discourage me from purchasing the more difficult patterns and would lead me to the beginner section. I would purchase a difficult level pattern and generally returned to show them my completed projects.
I and my wonderful wife, Charlene, have been married 35 years and between us have seven children and ten grandchildren. Charlene helps me in my endeavors by serving as cashier and bookkeeper as well as helping set up the displays at craft fairs and art shows and dealing with customers.
One time when we were camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir near Grand Junction, Colorado for two weeks, the fish weren’t biting and I became bored once again (are you beginning to see a theme here?). I went to the clubhouse at the RV park where we were staying and perused the activity schedule. I saw that a lady was presenting a beading class and thought “why not?” I do counted cross stitch, maybe this would be a way to pass the afternoon. I took that class and was, once again, hooked (on beads this time!)
Within a month I had purchased about three hundred dollars worth of beads and was busily learning to master peyote stitch (does anyone really master a stitch?) I spent several years learning different stitches and making many beautiful jewelry projects. All of the females in my family knew what they were going to get for birthday and Christmas gifts — beaded jewelry.
One technique eluded me however, and that technique was looming. Instead of taking the traditional route of taking lessons on “how to loom” or buying books or searching the internet, I thought “how tough could this be?” I first purchased a very inexpensive wire loom, followed the instructions and made my first project. I felt I must have been doing something wrong, because when my project was finished, I had all these threads hanging down on each end of my project. Surely this couldn’t be right!
I purchased a loom that was a bit more expensive, with the same result, all those threads! I must be a slow learner, because I then purchased a much more expensive loom and confidently began my first project on that beauty. When I waded through the set up and warping instructions, I knew that I was doomed, once again, to dealing with all those threads! I knew there had to be a better way.
I returned to one of first loves, woodworking, and stood staring at an oak board laying on my workbench all summer long trying to figure out how to loom without all those warp threads hanging down at the end. One night as I lay sleeping about three o’clock in the morning, I sat straight up in bed — I knew what that “better way” was and how to do it. I jumped out of bed and quickly drew a sketch of how to loom without all threads being left over at the end. The next day, The Ricks Beading Loom was born.
Looming is now my passion, my favorite technique. Of course, I still do many projects and teach classes using other off-loom techniques, but looming is so fast and easy now using The Ricks Beading Loom. Without having to deal with all those threads at the end you can do many things that aren’t possible with traditional looms.
Beads are traditionally defined as anything with a hole in it that can be strung or woven in combination with other beads to create a piece of wearable art. This leaves the field wide open for the artist.
Using the Ricks Beading Loom, you can loom with basically anything that has a hole in it — in other words — with any bead. Instead of having to stick with one type of bead for a project, using the Ricks Beading Loom you can combine many different types of beads in one project. You can loom with Japanese cylinder beads, seed beads of any size (and mix sizes if you wish). You can loom with two-hole flat beads, bi-cone or fire polished crystals. All without making any changes or installing any adaptors on your loom. You’re finally free to create, to do what the artist inside of you dictates.