Drumroll please – introducing “Muted Potential” (Part I)!

Finally. Introducing my first completed project of 2021 – “Muted Potential”!

While initially I was surprised that it took less than 2 months to complete the beadwork, I then took my sweet time assembling it and taking pictures. Guilty.

As you may have read in some of my earlier posts, the cellular pattern is based on an image of a stem cell culture that can serve as an endless source of new neurons. Similar to my previous work “Sunrise” it symbolizes our inner potential.

As I was working on this project, several interpretations have crossed my mind.

Stem cells – the literal version

Despite the fabric layers in the front, stem cells are obviously the main heroes of this work. Stem cell research has exploded over the past 15-20 years, especially after the groundbreaking paper by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka in 2006, showing that post-mitotic cells (ones that no longer divide) can be reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state through induction of only 4 genes.

Beyond uncovering a boundless field of possibilities for regenerative medicine, this research also allowed scientists to address the potential ethical concerns about use of human embryonic stem cells. Now, theoretically, a patient could provide their own skin cells as a potential source for their treatment. And in the future, we may even be able to regenerate new organs for them.

This is the “Potential” part of the title.

But why “Muted” you might ask?

If we think about “potential” more conceptually, it can refer to possibilities of…. anything. Your potential to achieve your personal and professional goals, to establish meaningful relationships, to be creative, to live your life the way you want to.

This is what we all strive for.

But life gets in the way and we feel like we are not given the chance to do everything we could otherwise. External circumstances prevent us from fully expressing ourselves. That is why I covered the stem cells with several layers of folded tulle fabric, which represent life-inflicted barriers.

Circle of Influence vs. Circle of Concern

When I was in graduate school, I snuck out of the lab to take some “soft skills” courses. (Imagine the horror!) I was in a pretty bad place emotionally – thinking about what I could do with my potential and be able to apply it.

One of the topics we discussed was “Circle of Influence vs. Circle of Concern” from Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Essentially, the Circle of Concern entails all of the things that are affecting our life, but are outside of our control.

We spend a lot of time stressing out about them, but they are external factors that are there whether we like it or not. The Circle of Influence however, is under our own personal control. These are things that we can do ourselves to make the situation better.

A simple example may be,

  • Circle of Concern – It’s raining outside and you have to cancel your plans to take your child to the playground.
  • Circle of Influence – You can make hot chocolate and paint together instead!

So in the case of “Muted Potential”,

  • Circle of Concern – The white veil represents whatever external barriers you are currently facing.
  • Circle of Influence – The stem cells represent your personal ability to find a solution and unleash your inner potential.

In contrast to all of my previous projects, this one is interactive!

As you work towards your goal and achieve self-established milestones, you can remove the pieces of thin fabric that block you from seeing the full picture of the stem cells.

There are 3 layers of fabric overlapping each other – each one attached by Velcro to an individual thin sub-frame. I give you full permission to remove them one by one – but only when you achieve your milestones! This way you will feel motivated to keep going.

And when you have achieved your end goal, you can remove ALL of them!

More than that, you will be in for a nice surprise. (OK, I am giving it away here.). The background behind the cells is covered with reflective material. So when you are done, you will not only see all of your cells and uncover their full potential; you will also see yourself!

And you will be super proud of what you have done!

“Muted Potential” is available for sale! You can use it as source of inspiration to reach your life goals.

Buy now!


Art is my emotional outlet and my oasis.  I use art to express my feelings and work through life issues.  Come join me on this journey of letting go of control and letting the creative process take over.  You will get access to all of the behind the scenes footage and see the major breakthroughs that translate into new artwork.

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