12 Bead-Weaving Breakthroughs Inspire and Delight

Despite all we don’t like about winter, it’s comforting to know that all one needs for a good night are some beads, thread, and needle. Okay, and maybe a crackling fire and tasty beverage, too. And even thought it will be dark before 5 p.m., it’s acceptable to begin a bead-weaving routine even earlier. Which also makes this a good time to stock up!

These months of dormancy can also be an opportunity for creativity, a time to develop that design idea and finally get started. With this end in mind, we’ve asked the designers from the October/November issue of Beadwork about what inspired their piece and how they pushed their bead-weaving ideas along. Here’s what they shared:

Kassie Shaw, Whirligig Bracelet

“Like most of my work, the design came to me when I was trying to make something else! I wanted to use crescent beads to re-create a rope I’d made previously with SuperDuos. I realized that the crescents were going to be a problem if the units were stitched next to each other, so I used cubic right-angle weave to connect them instead. What I love about this piece is its playfulness and how different colorways can change the look completely.”

Kimie Suto, Carousel Bracelet

Carousel Bracelet beadweaving design by Kimie Suto
“The rounded side of the crescent bead is really beautiful, and I wanted to showcase it in my design. I struggled with color combinations but eventually found that different shades of gold were the perfect choice.”

The Carousel Bracelet is also available as a kit here!

Robijo Burzynski, Briolette Bauble Earrings

Robijo Burzynski, Briolette Bauble Earrings, beadweaving earrings design

“The inspiration for this piece came when I was learning how to make warped squares. I was playing with the shape, using different beads and finishes, and looking for ways to incorporate the crystals I love.”

Phyllis Dintenfass, Triverse Pendant

Beadweaving - Triverse Pendant Beadweaving Pattern by Phyllis Dintenfass

“Beaded triangles, in various iterations, have become my signature shape. My latest triangles incorporate SuperDuos and MiniDuos, adding texture and a new design element. It’s very satisfying to begin with three beads and build a universal shape with unlimited color options.”

Debora Hodoyer, Raindrops on Roses Pendant

Raindrops on Roses Pendant beadweaving design by Debora Hodoyer

“It all started when I was working on ways to bezel a rivoli using different bead types. The bezel in this piece doesn’t hide the rivoli, and it enhances the crystal’s brilliance. Then I built a flower-shaped pendant with a solid, rich structure and a delicate look.”

Pru McRae, Midas Bracelet

Beadweaving Midas Bracelet by Pru McRae

“My inspiration always comes from the materials themselves. I love to explore the design potential in popular beads and cords and am constantly experimenting and trying to find new ways of using kumihimo in jewelry making.”

Sara Oehler, All That Glitters Necklace

All That Glitters Necklace beadweaving design by Sara Oehler

“I’ve been experimenting with using Soft Flex beading wire on a kumihimo disc. In this design, I incorporated beads in two different colors. I love how elegant this design feels in black and amber, but I’d also like to try it in a fun color combination!”

Deborah Shipp, Tartan Bracelet

Tartan Bracelet beadweaving design by Deborah Shipp

“I draw my inspiration primarily from vintage jewelry, Mexican silversmiths, and Native American silversmiths. This piece was inspired by Zuni jewelry with blocks of natural stones inlayed with silver. I love working with squares and rectangles and intersecting them with coordinating lines.”

Svetlana Chernitsky, Basilisk Bracelet

Basilisk Bracelet beadweaving design by Svetlana Chernitsky

“It was my first time attempting kumihimo, and I began by making a bracelet from pinch beads. I liked the look, but it needed some sparkle-so I added Swarovski bicones and later the Czech firepolished beads for a vintage feel.”

Gabby Guset, Kumihimo Charm Bracelet

Kumihimo Charm Bracelet beadweving design by Gabby Guset
“There’s nothing I love more than finding new and unexpected uses for familiar techniques and components. Lately I’ve been fixated on making kumihimo jewelry with nontraditional foundations; what better way to combine the two than to create colorful, customizable kumihimo charm bracelets?”

Gail McLain, Lilly’s Lotus Bracelet

Lilly's Lotus Bracelet by Gail McLain, glitzy beadweaving design

“I’ve fallen in love with CzechMates two-hole triangles and wanted to use them in a unique way for a comfortable yet classy bracelet. I named the bracelet after my grandmother, who spent her youth as a vaudeville and circus performer, wearing wonderful sparkly costumes!”

Akiko Nomura, Wild Grapes Bracelet

Wild Grapes Bracelet beadweaving design by Akiko Nomura

“I found design inspiration in the wild grapes that grow on the mountain near my cottage. This design doesn’t take long to finish, but it’s a lot of fun to create. Because I was working with the newly developed crescent beads, I wanted to create a simple design.”


As we all know, inspiration works in mysterious ways–it can come from anywhere at any time. However, as these Beadwork designers prove, it most often strikes when you’re already sitting down, playing with your materials, just beading. So make this winter a season of creation, joy, and cozy bead weaving sessions.

Andrea Hoyt
Assistant Editor

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