Create on Cue: 4 Tips to Reduce Beading Stress

If you look at my current resume, there isn’t a section called Rewards. No presidential citations or even an “Employee of the Month” award. I’d put them on there if I had any . . . Well, I guess in the sexist 1970s the high school band voted me “Best Legs”, but I’m not sure that would add to my credentials. And, quite frankly, the “best” part of my hail-damaged legs anymore is that they get me from Point A to Point B!

Meet Beadwork's Designers of the Year

So I have to admit I was thrilled when Marlene Blessing gave me this credit to add to my curriculum vitae: I’m one of Beadwork magazine’s Designer of the Year for 2009. What an honor! And to be in the company of Marcia DeCoster, Jamie Hogsett, and Lisa Kan? Humbling. I can predict right now what this year-long addition to the magazine will bring: Marcia will always offer astounding projects that defy what we know about color and shape in beadweaving; Jamie will make haute couture statements that not only involve beads, but other surprise elements; and Lisa will tend to blow our socks off with romantic picot flourishes and beaded embellishments. I just received the February/March issue and I’ll have to say I’m excited–not only about the D.O.Y. projects, but about the rest of the issue, too. It’s filled with gorgeous pieces that I’d love to make.  (Take a look at the four photos of the D.O.Y projects from this issue and I bet you'll agree with me.)

The Downside:  The Pressure to Perform

The downside to standing in the ranks of such pros is the pressure. I usually perform well under pressure, but being creative on cue can be hit or miss with me. We’ve all experienced this, whether it’s making a deadline for a magazine submission, a contest like Bead Star or the Bead Arts Awards, or coming up with a last-minute jewelry design for a birthday gift. So I’ve given myself four rules to follow to help me through my anxiety as I design my six D.O.Y. pieces this year. Maybe they’ll help you, too?

4 Tips to Reduce Beading Stress

1. Do what you do best. If you’re running against the clock to make a piece, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Use the techniques and materials you’re known for. You’ll feel more relaxed when designing and you’ll be able to build on some of the creative work you’ve done in the past to make your new piece. Save those artistic experiments for when you have more time.

2. Use seasonal colors. Color can often pose a real stress for many of us beaders, me definitely included. If you’re in this camp and you’re in a rush to make a brand-new piece, don’t add color to your stress list. Simply surf the internet for the latest color trends. Pantone’s site, for instance, offers samplings of the hottest design colors.

3. Give yourself an assignment. When sitting down at your worktable to start a piece, give yourself 3 choices: necklace, bracelet, or earrings. Even if you begin making a bracelet and it turns into a necklace, you’ll still have started somewhere, which is better than spending time flustered about what you might make.

4. Make “sketches” with beads. Use your stash as a painter uses a paint palette: lay out various beads, wire, thread, and findings next to one another before you bring out any tools. This way you’ll have a firm sense of the materials you’ll use, and the colors and shapes can gently guide your design. Doing this will also reduce any panic-stricken runs to the bead shop!

Do you have some techniques that have worked for deadline beading? Share them on the website. Trust me–I could use them!  


Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks! 


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