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Designer in the SpotlightDeb Moffett-Hall aka Patterns to Bead

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Designer in the Spotlight

Deb Moffett-Hall
by Sigrid Wynne-Evans     © March 2003

Tell us about your background: Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I've lived in Pennsylvania most of my life, except for a couple years at college . Small old towns north of Philadelphia, close enough to drive "down the shore" (New Jersey) for a day or "up the Poconos" (mountains) for the fall color. As a kid I learned to ice skate at Washington's Crossing State Park and now live very close to Valley Forge State Park. Lots of history all around us.

Did you go to school beyond High School? Where do you live now? What does your immediate family consist of? (care to tell us your age?)

I have a degree in Fine Art and one in Advertising/Public Relations from Michigan State University - East Lansing Michigan. While there, I felt like my major was in cold and my minor was in twisters - Ever try to out run a tornado in a '73 Ford Pinto?
We now live in Hatfield, "we" consisting of hubby Scott (married 17 years and he is still my best friend!) our lovely daughter Shelly (15) and mischievous son Danny (6), and two goofy Border Collies - Trixie and Chipper.

How did you begin beading? For how long have you been a beader?

Before we were married I worked in an advertising office in the city, then I spent a few years in retail newspaper advertising, I left that stressful position 1 month before Michelle was born in 1987. I wanted to be a work-at-home mom and was lucky enough to be able to help Scott with the bills by selling my paintings and other artwork and some original quilted items. Quilting was huge in the 80's and early 90's and one thing lead to another until I found myself Special Projects Editor for QUILT magazine, with over 100 magazine articles, two published books of my own, and three compilations.
In 1998 I developed rheumatoid arthritis - mostly in my hands which made quilting difficult if not downright painful . I was very frustrated to say the least but about that time a member of my quilt guild brought in samples of gorgeous Delica beadwork. I was amazed, I didn't know that such perfectly formed seed beads existed! (OK we are a little slow bead-wise here on the East Coast ) That quilter was Jeri Bellini-Smith owner of a bead shop called My Fathers Beads and she invited me to come see what beading was all about.
WOW! I left her shop with bobbins of nymo, tubes of Delicas, peyote graph paper and a copy of The Beader's Companion by Judith Durant & Jean Campbell. I was thrilled to find that I could stitch the beads without pain - no pushing required, they already have a hole in them! Now instead of quilts I design bead projects, kits and pattern packages. Thank you Jeri!

How did you start designing? What prompted you to take the step from following others projects/patterns to doing your own?

Designed my own projects from day one. I was never good at following other peoples directions - I have a first grade report card that reads "Debby has very strong opinions about how things should be done and that is: Debby's way" I've mellowed a lot when it comes to everyday activities (now Scott, stop laughing!) but as far as artistic or craft related projects it's still "show me the basics and let me loose!".

What beaders influence you most?


Have you taken bead classes?


Art classes?


What is (are) your masterpiece(s) or pieces that you are most proud of?

I'm still fond of "Proof of cats in Atlantis" that was in the Gleaming treasures contest, but I think the 9-11 Memorial panel may be the most wide reaching piece I've ever designed.

Deb Moffett-Hall                 Deb Moffett-Hall
Proof of Cats in Atlantis (Photo by Pat Savu)    The 9-11 Memorial

What has been your biggest joy concerning designing?

Hearing from beaders around the world - I have "met" the most wonderful, kind, generous people through beading and they are a constant source of joy and encouragement. - Thank you beader friends!

What has been your biggest challenge or disappointment?

Color is always a challenge for me - During a color theory class in college my professor discovered that I am 20% red/green color blind - I can see red and green but the shades or values of red and green that I see are not exactly what is really there. So I am always checking and re-checking the reds and greens in my designs with my family. "Does this look right?"

What are your influences as you design? In other words, where do you get your ideas?

Influences? Hmmmm. Memories, Music, Books, Walks, other Beaders - everything! I don't know where all the ideas come from but I am very grateful that they find me.

What styles, subjects do you like to do most and why?

I love to design from nature - if you are searching for inspiration go to and type in something you like such as - humming birds and hit search. Tons of photos from all over the internet instantly at your fingertips . Remember - these photos are copyright protected and should never be copied - but are great to sketch from if you need to know what colors are in which humming bird.

Describe your workspace? Do you have a studio? Dedicated room? Kitchen table? What programs do you use to work your designs?


Here's my desk in the "bead room" the cold 4th bedroom on the north side of the house. The three - 6 drawer plastic tower units hold my pressed glass Czech beads, these are sorted by color not shape. Also pearls, stones, thread, bugles, hex, cubes, UFO's (lots of these).
Behind me is a tall free standing chest of plastic drawers that hold my large selection of Delica beads and tons of size 11 seed beads.
To the right is a TV with the old Nintendo game system hooked up in case Danny wants to keep me company while I'm "playing with my beads".
And in the closet - all the fabric, sewing gadgets and quilts left over from my quilter days.

Computer Center

Here is the command center in a corner of the family room. I design using color pencils and peyote graph paper from Jennie Might's web page (thank you Jennie!) then I work up the pattern on the MAC you see to the right using Beadscape 2.0, I bought the used MAC on ebay just to run this terrific program.
Then I write up the instructions and such on the PC to the left that I share with everyone else in the family.
Yes, that is a guitar body you see in the lower corner - Scott custom builds & repairs guitars as a hobby.

Deb Moffett-Hall

And this is where I sit to do the actual beading - on the floor at the coffee table in the family room with my back against the couch. The dogs are usually one on either side of me like bookends. My work light is a regular gooseneck but it has a terrific white light bulb I got at the home store for $15. The box reads: Philips Daylight energy saving bulb 15w 750 lumens. I've used it for two years now and it's wonderful!
I like to sit in with the family while I bead but have to watch out for spilled grape juice, cookie crumbs, Dad and kid wrestling matches, I'm six and I've teased my teenage sister one too many times and now she is going to tickle me attacks, and wildly wagging dog tails.

Do you have any goals related to beadwork/designing that you would like to see become a reality within the next 5 years? How are you workinig toward that end?

I would love to travel and teach classes. I teach at My Fathers Beads in Coopersburg and get the biggest thrill when a beader is excited by and proud of a project they have just completed or when a student suddenly "gets" how to do a new stitch. I am inspired by the interesting changes that students make, the way they put a new twist on my designs to make them their own creations. We learn from each other.
I would also like to finish the two bead books I have been working on and see them in print.

What have been your biggest personal (not necessarily bead related) challenges, and accomplishments.


Anything else you wish to share that might be of interest, or inspiration for beaders?

It never hurts to ask, don't be afraid to try, and laugh at least once everyday.

Best wishes & full bead dishes,
Deb Moffett-Hall

Deb Moffett-Hall aka Patterns to Bead
View Patterns  -  e-mail  -  Web Site



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