The lot scene at a Grateful Dead show was always full of ingenuity and creativity. A truly unique marketplace, there was good food, kind party favors, and you could buy a complete head-to-toe custom-made wardrobe. It was not uncommon to watch Deadheads work on sewing machines in the lot or sit around beading. It was the ’85 summer tour that inspired Lindsay Brink to bead.
Growing up in Simsbury, Connecticut, she remembered how GD music played an important part in her adolescence, “My older sister and cousins were a huge part of what influenced my musical tastes. My cousins used to play records and we would dance in the living room. They gave me my first three GD albums, Skeletons, Europe ‘72 and Steal Your Face.”
Her first show was in Hartford in 1983, when a bunch of kids from school were going and she came of age, allowed to go to concerts with friends. “It was life changing the moment I laid eyes on all of the Deadheads in Bushnell Park. After that I went about once or twice a year until 1985 where I convinced my mom to let me go on a summer tour with some friends. That summer was when I became interested in learning how to bead,” Lindsay shared.
At home, her mom and her Aunt Carol both taught ceramics and had studios in the basement. They encouraged her to make artwork and be creative. When they had booths at craft fairs, Lindsay would tag along and help, foreshadowing the vending scene she found so at home on in the lot.
Lindsay’s beadwork is delicate in its intricacy and striking in design. She makes earrings and necklaces using a wide color palette that can be soft, bold, and wildly psychedelic. Her techniques evolved from other artists around her and she was able to turn it into a business. “There was a lot of time sitting around in Santa Cruz, smoking weed, and beading back then. I specifically remember that Nome was a beader that I looked up to for inspiration. Sometime around 1986-1987 this turned into one of the ways I supported myself on tour. I would go to NYC and buy beads by the kilo, break them up and sell them at shows so I would have free beads, and then make beadwork to sell,” Lindsay recalled.
Through trial and error, photocopied directions, and so many roads on tour, she created gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry that have that indigenous vibe of the Grateful Dead community. Lindsay’s work involves peyote stitching, wrapping crystals and gems, and making designs that reflect the natural world.
She explained, “I never viewed myself as an artist because I am horrible at drawing, but now as an adult I see how it is not just about being able to draw a picture. I have a passion for gardening and feel that is where I find inspiration for much of what I make and the colors I choose. Sometimes my inspiration comes from GD lyrics. It really just depends on my mood. …I love seeing people wearing my beadwork at shows. Some friends still have old pieces from the late ‘80’s early ‘90’s and it always brings me joy to see those are still being worn.”
Lindsay will be vending at Skull and Roses and you can check out her beadwork online:
Photographs courtesy of Lindsay Brink