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Summer 2007

Survey: Making Time for Art
Needlepoint by Stephen Beal
Fiber Art Studios

Judy Chicago at The Dinner Party’s Opening

Textile Tours
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Stephen Beal’s Color Memoirs

The Summer 2007 issue of Fiberarts includes a short story, Needlepoint, and needlepoint artworks by Stephen Beal. We really enjoyed working on this feature because both the story and the canvases reflect Beal’s love of narrative and humor.

Beal’s needlepoint works have been exhibited nationally and internationally since 1976. He has published two volumes of poetry—The Very Stuff (Interweave, 1995) and Suddenly Speaking Babylonian (Hanging Loose Press, 2004)—and his poems have appeared in numerous journals. 

One of the canvases shown in the magazine is The Periodic Table of the Artist’s Colors, a memoir piece in which Beal associates memories and scenes with various colors of embroidery floss. We thought readers would enjoy the opportunity to zoom in on the different “elements” of this piece. The piece, which is in a private collection, is 30" x 36".

Photo: Joe Coca
Zoom into the photo (PDF format) by clicking on the image.

Beal writes about the work: “In August 2004, I took a favorite day-long drive from my home in Loveland, Colorado: north to Laramie, Wyoming, west through the mountains to Walden in North Park, then south down the Poudre River canyon back to Loveland. In Laramie I stopped at a bakery for coffee and a roll, and in the restroom I found a poster on the wall titled “Periodic Table of Desserts.” Hey, I said to myself, I could do a periodic table of my colors. Thus was born the overall subject for this canvas, also the technique. This canvas represents the first time I have used needlepoint canvas as tapestry, weighting it down at the bottom with a metal dowel (that does not quite remove the natural bias of the worked canvas). In subsequent “tapestry” canvases I add beads at the bottom for weight and decoration.

“The annotations on the Periodic Table canvas recall the poems in my first collection, The Very Stuff, each of which is inspired by a shade of embroidery floss that I employ in my work.” (This book is out of print, but copies are available [$25 including shipping and handling] from the artist at


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