Meet the inventor

Paul Ricks, Inventor of The Ricks Beading Loom

Paul Ricks, Inven­tor of The Ricks Bead­ing Loom

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.