Top 3 Places to Find Beading Inspiration

Get Inspired

Inspiration is truly everywhere.  Last night I opened a bag of new Halloween-themed M&Ms and was struck by the colors–lime green, orange, lavender, black.  The first thought that popped into my head was not eating them, but draping them on my wrist to see how they would look as a bracelet!  (I didn't do it–really–but I was ridiculously tempted!)

More than 1,000 beaders responded to the inspiration poll.  The top three sources for inspiration were beads/materials, magazines, and books, specifically beading or jewelry-making titles.  Nature and websites tied for fourth place.  The least likely source of beading inspiration was "politics"!

Inspired by the Beads

"Touching the beads, holding them up to the light, and looking at all the different colour combinations inspires me," one reader said.  Another noted, "The shape of a bead, where the hole is drilled, how it hangs–all inspire the final project." 

I agree–it's definitely inspiring to pick up and admire all the beads in my stash, but it also means that straightening up my beading table takes forever!  Of course, one reader pointed out that even cleaning is inspiring.  "Yesterday I swept the floor in our beading room and violá–inspiration in the dust pan."  Being inspired by the very materials you work with makes it fun–and a little dangerous–to visit bead shows and shops.  I don't know what you're like, but the minute I pick up a bead, I have a million ideas of how to use it.  And if I don't have an instant idea, I still might buy the bead because it seems like a challenge!  

Inspired by Books and Magazines

Many beaders in the poll used beading and jewelry making books and magazines to jump start the creative process.  One beader noted, "I usually end up using a piece of this inspiration and a piece of that inspiration to get a finished piece of art of my own."  Another said, "When I get inspiration from beading magazines, I don't copy the designs I see.  I have hundreds of designs in my head and notebook.  Beading magazines often get my creative juices flowing and motivate or challenge me."   The "Inspired by Stringing" gallery has some great examples of projects inspired by Stringing magazine.

Of course, there's a difference between being inspired by a design and simply copying it bead-for-bead.  As one reader wrote, "I'm tremendously annoyed by people who confuse 'inspiration' with 'copying.'  It's hard enough to get back your investment in time and supplies by selling your own work without having other vendors at craft shows stealing  your 'unique' designs and features.  Don't they realize that copying hurts them/their sales as well as everyone else's?"  Share your thoughts in the forum.

Inspired by Everything!

One reader wrote that she was inspired by the words "I wish I had…"  If she couldn't find what she needed, then she would make it.   Here were a few other suggestions from readers:

  • "Today while waiting in line at the Post Office, I saw a great teal and purple mailing envelope and thought 'ummmm…bracelet!'"
  • "I find inspiration in strange places like the pattern of stacked drainage pipes in a builders yard or the repeat of brickwork on a historic building."
  • "Even comic books can cause bursts of inspiration."
  • "Sometimes just reading a good story can inspire me."
  • "Some of my best ideas have been inspired by cleaning up a spill or pruning in the garden."
  • "My kids give me ideas all the time when I am at an impasse!"
  • "I like to look at art/painting magazines."
  • "A symbols dictionary can be an inspiring guide for combining beads that tell a story through shapes, colors, and number sequence."
  • "Some of my best inspirations have come from a need to have 25 pair of earrings (or whatever) done by the end of the week. Needing the cash is a great source of inspiration!"

So where do you find inspiration?  DId any of these ideas from other readers ring true for you?  Share your thoughts on the website.


Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.


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