GREENFIELD – A Hancock County native who never thought of herself as creative is now a celebrated bead artist in Indiana and has two intricate ornaments on display at the Indiana State Museum’s 92-County Tree.

Lisa Bowling has gotten into bead embroidery the last decade and has won several awards at the Indiana State Fair. Her creations caught the attention of the curator for the Indiana State Museum, who asked her to design ornaments for Porter and Hancock counties to represent the culture of both communities.

Bowling was living in Porter County at the time but recently moved back to Hancock with her husband Tim to be closer to their combined five children and 10 grandchildren.

Bead embroidery creates intricate designs with tiny colored beads through sewing. Bowling happened upon the craft in 2010 when she endured an injury and had to stay home from work for eight weeks.

“I never thought of myself as an artist. I was never creative in school,” she said. “Until I started doing this; people started calling it art and I thought, ‘I guess it is.’”

She was approached two years ago by the Indiana State Museum to create an ornament design for Porter County because she was living there at the time. When the curator found out that she is originally from Hancock County, he asked if she could make another.

Installed last year for the first time but still on display this holiday season, the two ornaments join 90 others on a large tree at the museum’s Washington Street entrance in downtown Indianapolis.

The Hancock County ornament is an open book, paying tribute to poet James Whitcomb Riley with nods to artist Will Vawter, Olympic gold-medal gymnast Jaycie Phelps and local sites like the Octagon House, Frank Littleton Round Barn and the Old Swimmin’ Hole immortalized by Riley. The ornament also includes logos of the four local high schools and celebrates economic growth from Walmart and Amazon.

The Porter County ornament includes depictions of the Indiana Dunes, popcorn, agriculture and more.

The ornaments took Bowling eight to 10 hours a day to create for over a month.

The 25-foot, 92-County Tree has been a focal point at the museum’s Washington Street entrance since 2008, however it has recently undergone a complete refresh, according to a press release from the museum. This year’s tree features 37 new ornaments, adding to the remainder that were unveiled last year. Each piece was hand-crafted by Indiana artisans to represent significant natural and cultural features of their county.

A digital kiosk has also been added for visitors to learn more about each county’s ornament and the artist who created it. The museum is open daily through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25) with extended hours on Thursdays.

Bowling said she is humbled that her work is alongside the beautiful pieces of so many Indiana artists, and enjoys viewing the ornaments.

Since moving back to Greenfield, Bowling and her husband have enjoyed settling into their home. A room specifically for her artform was a must, and Bowling can spend hours in there.

Bowling creates necklaces, bracelets, cuffs and more. She enjoys going to trade shows and was inspired by Sherry Serafini, a world-renowned bead artist who challenged her with a kit.

These days, Bowling not only wears her own jewelry and gives her creations as gifts, but also sells them on Etsy and at the artisan shop at the Twenty North Gallery in downtown Greenfield.

“I found that I really enjoyed putting the colors together and I had a knack for it; people liked what I was putting together, they liked what they were seeing,” she said of when she first got hooked on bead embroidery. “If I wore a necklace I’d made, people would say, ‘Where did you get that?’ “Well, I made it.’ ‘Oh, can you make me one?”

She enjoys listening to audio books while doing her embroidery.

“A lot of people look and say, ‘That looks tedious,’ but it’s not to me. It’s relaxing to me,” she said. “I don’t often sit down with a pattern in mind. I start with a focal bead and I work outward from there.”

Bowling also recently taught a class at the Twenty North Gallery, and wouldn’t mind if the beadwork interest spreads in the local community.

“I’d like to teach them about the art of beadwork; it’s not just a hobby, it is art and it’s a talent and it’s a creative expression and anybody can do it,” she said. “If you know how to pick up a needle and thread, you can do what I do.”