Artist and retired teacher Laura Richardson uses fabric and beads to create blooming beautiful 3D art that adds a touch of summertime color to any season. Learn about the women who inspired her to pursue the dream she never let wilt away.

By Sandy Selby

It doesn’t matter what the calendar says, because it’s always peak season for blooms in artist Laura Richardson’s garden. Laura’s 3D compositions, created with carefully chosen beads and wire are, according to the artist, “a tribute to nature in full bloom.”

The seeds for Laura’s flora-inspired artistic endeavors were planted long ago by her paternal grandmother and great grandmother. “My great grandmother was perhaps the most artistic,” Laura says. “She not only painted but also did copper tooling. They both crocheted, knitted, quilted, and sewed. They would give their rambunctious grandchildren mini lessons to keep us engaged and busy.”

Laura learned to sew at the elbow of her grandmother and carried those skills to college, where she majored in fashion design. “I was immersed in art classes from the beginning,” she says, “and soon learned that I had no talent for figure drawing at all. I switched my major to fashion merchandising.”

Unfortunately, her degree didn’t translate into job opportunities, so she shifted her career path to teaching. “Because of my background in art, I was lucky to have enough hours to be certified as an art teacher as well. For almost thirty years, art education was my passion. Now, practicing and producing art is my passion.”

In 2019, Laura pushed art to the forefront, and developed a 25-step process for creating fabric and wire beads. “These hand-sculpted beads were the foundation to over one hundred fun, fashionable necklace designs that spanned four distinct collections: black and red for the Marshall Owls, gold and black for the Mizzou Tigers, camouflage for hunting season, and fall colors for her favorite season.” The process was time-consuming, so she simplified the steps and, to her delight, the result was a lighter, softer necklace.

She began adding silver and glass beads to her fabric creations and has spent the past couple of years creating the beaded flowers of her “Forever Blooms and Bouquets” collection.

Her workspace provides plenty of inspiration for her vibrantly hued art. “My worktable is in the center of the room facing two matching wooden and glass bookcases,” she says. “These bookcases have recessed lights so that when I turn them on, all my beautiful blooms and bouquets sparkle and shine. I like to call the blooms and bouquets ‘blooming bursts of visual stimulation.’ The blooms themselves don’t require water, and they do not wilt or dry out. And for the allergy sufferers out there, they are allergy free!”

Laura is a proud member of the Best of Missouri Hands artisan organization, and her work is available at the Missouri Life Mercantile or online at