Stephen Beal was a Midwesterner, raised in Evanston, Illinois. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts and did graduate work at Exeter College, Oxford, under tutor Jonathan Wordsworth, descendent of the poet. Subsequently he pursued a “checkered career” of teaching/freelance/writing/advertising/editorial.
He began fiber art in the early 1970s, and his work with colors of thread prompted a return to writing poetry in the early 1990s. Interweave Press of Loveland published his first collection, The Very Stuff, each of whose poems is inspired by a shade of embroidery floss. That collection received the 1997 poetry award from the Colorado Center for the Book and sold over seven thousand copies. After the publication of this book he moved to Loveland to work for Interweave as a copy editor.
His second book, Suddenly Speaking Babylonian (Hanging Loose Press, 2004), was a nominee for the Colorado Book Award in 2005. He was represented in the critically acclaimed group exhibition, "Pricked: Extreme Embroidery," at the Museum of Arts and Design in 2007. In 2008 Beal was the recipient of the Lillian Elliott Award for Excellence in Fiber Art, presented at the Textile Society of America Symposium by the Lillian Elliott Award Board. His work, thankfully, remains and he was afforded the pleasure of knowing of his successes.