Creepy-crawlies, long greeted with enthusiasm by little boys and “yuck” by almost everyone else, have gotten a shiny makeover in a new book by a York County artist and author.
Amy Kopperude, 39, a former Minnesotan who moved to Red Lion about a decade ago, started 2013 with the publication of her first book, “Bead Bugs: Cute, Creepy, and Quirky Projects to Make with Beads, Wire, and Fun Found Objects.”
The book grew out of a project on Kopperude's blog. Her “365 days of beaded spiders” caught the attention of an editor with Creative Publishing International, a publisher of how-to books.
“I was doing spiders every day, and I was probably about four months into the project” when she got the call, Kopperude says.
“I was a little apprehensive at first. I thought ‘Was this real? Does this really happen?'”
The book expanded beyond its arachnid inspiration to include 23 critters, among them scorpions, hermit crabs, dragonflies and more. Each is shown with color photos and step-by-step instructions.
Translating the creatures' looks into beads was a big part of the fun for Kopperude.
“Looking at pictures of bugs and figuring out how I was going to construct them” often sent her on bead-finding quests, she says. “I would take pictures into the stores and look for shapes.”
Ready for more: With one book under her belt, Kopperude has been bitten by the creativity bug.
“I'm already thinking about what other kinds of bugs I can make,” she says. “I've been working on another list of potential bugs, things that are a little more creepy and crawly.”
Bead lovers, book lovers and bug lovers can meet the artist and author during a signing at the Kaltreider-Benfer Library in Red Lion at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.
The projects can be a bit advanced, though some are suitable for children, including Kopperude's 11-year-old daughter, Greta.
“I had all the pieces set aside for the ant, and she did do that without any trouble,” Kopperude says.
Greta also helps her mom out with names for some of the creations in the spider project.
“I have one (spider) that was pink with black spots; they were lampwork beads,” Kopperude says. As she struggled for a name, Greta “saw it and said ‘Oh cool, is that a poodle spider?'”
Getting started: Making spiders and other creepy-crawlies is a relatively new addition to Kopperude's crafting adventures. When she started working with beads about seven years ago, it was thanks to a neighbor with a jewelry-making hobby.
“I was making earrings,” she says.
As her experience and skills have expanded, her projects have gotten more intricate — and she's gotten faster at completing them.
“It only takes me about half an hour” to make a beaded spider these days, she says. Still, some challenges remain. “The daddy long-legs, without much soldering experience, took me seven to nine hours.”
To help out aspiring bead crafters, Kopperude plans to offer kits containing the materials needed to make projects from the book. She also has plans for her 365 spiders.
“I want to exhibit them when the project is complete and then sell them off,” she says, recounting how she had to disappoint some would-be buyers at an earlier event at EQuinox Music and Arts in Dallastown. “A lot of people wanted to buy the bugs, and I was like ‘oh, no, they're not for sale.'”
Not until Spider No. 365 makes its appearance and the entire collection can be appreciated together. Despite the large number of pieces, the collection is a cute and cozy one.
“They probably would fit in your hand,” Kopperude says of the individual spiders.
And unlike the mobile and muddy treasures little boys love, these creepy-crawlies are the sort you can safely bring home to mother.
Meet the authorAmy Kopperude will sign copies of “Bead Bugs” and share crafting tips at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Kaltreider-Benfer Library, 147 S. Charles St., Red Lion.
For information on the book signing, call the library at 244-2032 or visit www.kaltreider-benfer.org.
For updates on Kopperude's bead kits or to see her 365 days of beaded spiders project, visit her blog at atomicrose.blogspot.com or her Facebook page, Atomic Rose Boutique.
—Reach Mel Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.