8 Beading Projects to Love — Without Shaped Beads!

Shaped Beads vs. Seed Beads: The Debate Continues

Beaders seem to either love or hate shaped beads. Based on our magazine submissions, we know that many of our readers like them. But based on some of the comments we’ve seen, we also know that many people aren’t big fans.

We were recently alerted to a lively Facebook thread about seed bead vs. shaped bead projects in beading magazines. By the time I was able to join the Facebook group and add to the discussion, the thread had almost 200 comments!

Here are some of the main comments from this discussion:

  1. There are too many shaped bead projects in the beading magazines.
  2. There are too many shaped beads in general!
  3. Shaped beads are expensive.
  4. Some of the shaped beads are just passing fads.

Too Many Shaped Bead Projects

It’s definitely true that beading magazines are publishing a lot of shaped bead projects. In our case, this is because we receive many more submissions with shaped beads than without. I’d estimate that the ratio is about 2:1.

8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads!

 

Since Beadwork doesn’t have themed issues, we tend to rely on our contributors to guide the content. If readers are submitting so many projects with shaped beads, it must be because that’s what they like, right? However, we’d love to publish more projects that use only seed beads! So, please send us your seed bead-only submissions! (Email bwsubmissions@interweave.com.)

Too Many Shaped Beads

The first time we wrote a feature on shaped beads was in the December 2012/January 2013 issue. In Stitch Pro, Jean Campbell discussed 5 types of shaped beads: peanut beads, 2-hole seed beads (SuperDuos and Twins), 2-hole tiles, long magatamas, and spikes.

Our most recent feature on shaped beads appeared in the June/July 2017 issue. In the “Expanded Guide to Shaped Beads,” we highlighted 46 different shaped beads! Overwhelming, to say the least!
8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads!

For better or for worse, the market has exploded in the past few years. Even we have a hard time keeping up with all the new shapes, never mind keeping our readers informed about what’s available. (But with all those shapes, just imagine all the design possibilities!)

Cost of Shaped Beads

Unless you’re talking about gold-plated seed beads, shaped beads do tend to cost more than traditional seed beads. This is likely because the manufacturing process is more involved. In addition, packages of shaped beads contain fewer pieces per gram.

However, remember that shaped beads are larger than seed beads and therefore take up more space in a design. So shaped bead designs don’t necessarily cost more overall than designs made strictly with seed beads.

A Passing Fad?

8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads!Some beaders are afraid that shaped beads will just be a flash in the pan. They worry about buying beads that won’t be available again if they need more. And they fear that once shaped beads lose popularity, it will be impossible to find new patterns that use them.

No one wants to be stuck with a large cache of materials they can’t use. But many of the “new” bead shapes seem to be here to stay. In fact, in the Facebook thread about shaped beads, most commenters said they like and use SuperDuos.

8 Beaded Projects Without Shaped Beads

Our latest eBook is a collection of projects from former Beadwork Editor Melinda Barta. And almost none of the projects use shaped beads! Check out the following projects from 8 Beaded Projects by Melinda Barta.

5 Beaded Bracelets

Melinda’s Sawtooth Cuff features a zig-zag design that resembles a jagged mountain range. Size 11 seed beads are peyote-stitched into reversible layers, with metallic pressed-glass rounds running down the center.
8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! Melinda’s Sawtooth Cuff

This & That is a sweetly simple bracelet that uses only size 11 and 8 seed beads. It features tiny seed bead blossoms.
8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! This & That by Melinda Barta

The Antique Connections Cuff shows off brass bead caps and connectors with an assortment of lustrous seed beads and pearls. A custom clasp completes the seamless look of the bracelet.
8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! The Antique Connections Cuff by Melinda Barta

Melinda’s Ruffled Tapestry Cuff uses mostly cylinder and seed beads, with a handful of cubes and rounded triangles thrown in. (Do those count as shaped beads? I guess so . . . but they sure look a lot like seed beads!)
8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! Ruffled Tapestry Cuff by Melinda Barta

The Tambourine Bangles combine size 11 seed beads with colorful Indonesian glass discs. (However, you could easily substitute similar glass beads of the same size.)
8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! The Tambourine Bangles by Melinda Barta

3 Beaded Necklaces

Spring Blossoms uses seed beads and potato pearls to create little blossoms. Melinda alternates these blooms with curved floral brass connectors. But you could skip the connectors and use the beaded blossoms however you like.
8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! Spring Blossoms by Melinda Barta

Melinda’s Edelweiss Necklace is a gorgeous combination of pearl and seed bead flowers assembled on a string of pearls and a herringbone-stitched rope. No shaped beads in sight!8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! Edelweiss Necklace by Melinda BartaFlirty Framboise is another project that uses mostly seed beads and pearls. Consider substituting the half-drilled pointed ovals with similar beads in the same general shape and size, for a completely different look.

8 Beading Projects to Love -- Without Shaped Beads! Flirty Framboise by Melinda Barta

Let us know your thoughts on shaped beads. We’d love to hear from you!

Happy beading!
Lavon Peters
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine


Find Melinda’s new eBook and her kits in the Interweave Store!

 

43 Comments

  1. Megan K at 6:51 am June 21, 2017

    I find that the use of shaped beads in my bead weaving projects is overwhelming. Perhaps it comes to my organizational skills I’m not sure. It just seems that I never have enough of the shaped bead required to make the project. Or it is such a labor to get a hold of the shaped bead that I just give up. I have many projects with the twin beads or mini duo and through art beads I have been able to acquire some of these new shaped beads but again back to one of my first sentences I just don’t ever seem to have enough to complete a project or even start . I believe the twin beads will be here to sa I believe the twin beads will be here to sray but I’m not sure about all these other ones and there are so many it’s overwhelming.

    • Carol A at 7:28 am June 22, 2017

      Beading is already a hobby that is complex compared to knitting or crochet,—all the different threads, different sizes of beads, colors, components. When shaped beads came out, I felt like shouting “Enough”. I already have so many beads , I do not want to buy any new types. Yes, indeed, I am thinking of cancelling my magazine subscriptions because so many designs call for shaped beads. I am using my old magazines for inspiration.

  2. Monica P at 7:08 am June 21, 2017

    There’s nothing as classical as Delicas yet they’re not featured at all lately. I keep looking at old books/magazines for inspiration.

    • Patricia G O at 2:44 pm June 21, 2017

      I agree! The 4-part series called Pattern Play was one of my favorites even though I’m not particularly fond of brick stitch (prefer peyote).

  3. Cheryl O at 7:12 am June 21, 2017

    I am in full agreement with Megan K!! I rarely ever have enough of a certain shape to make a project without having to spend additional money buying another package of something, when I only need 3 more beads, etc. I make most of my things for resale, and can’t get the prices that are posted in big cities. I live in northern Wisconsin.. Fads are not appreciated here. By the time I get enough saved to buy whatever the newest shape is, the “fad” is over and considered old news. If you need a quantity of anything, like those pyramid shaped beads, you are paying upwards of $30 (not counting the clasp!!) to make a bracelet. So, if no one is willing to spend much on that bracelet, there’s no way to make any kind of profit. I stick mostly to seed beads, bugles and the occasional Rivoli. I just can’t justify the expense of buying beads at 15c or 20c apiece, and need 50+ to complete a project! I am sticking to the old tried-and-true.

    • Catherine P at 10:25 am June 21, 2017

      As a designer and instructor to 25 students, too many DIFFERENT shaped beads came on the market and not enough variety of patterns. I dropped some subscriptions also. I do love Duos, cubes, Magatamas, and spikes.

  4. Cheryl O at 7:15 am June 21, 2017

    Oh, and 1 more quick comment.. I hate to admit it, but I have let a few of the magazine subscriptions lapse, that I had been getting for many years. Why? Because it seems almost every single project now has shaped beads, that I can’t afford to buy individually, to make something that I can’t sell profitably. When they go back to more classic types of materials, I’ll reconsider my subscriptions.

    • Maureen R at 8:44 am June 21, 2017

      I too have let my magazine subsciptions lapse and it is because there are so few projects that inspire me. I very rarely use shaped beads; for me the whole point of beadwork is to create shape and style with seed beads. I think that the cost of shaped beads and the sheer number of different shapes is killing the art, we have a lot of beadwork suppliers who are either struggling or have even closed down of late.

      • Cheryl O at 10:08 am June 23, 2017

        I agree, Maureen R.. here, I had to drive 50+ miles t go to either of 2 bead stores. Now, I have to drive over 200 miles! Most of the stores have closed, or gone to mail-order-only sites. I think the push toward shaped beads is closing down a lot of creativity in beading. I would hate to see people discouraged so much that they quit. I am no longer inspired by what’s “new” in the magazines.

    • Hilary L at 11:13 am July 10, 2017

      I can’t find a way to comment on the article as a whole so I am adding my comment as a response to a comment. I am gratified to see that many people feel as I do. At first I found some of the effects achieved by using shaped beads to be fascinating, but I actually didn’t many any of the projects because I couldn’t find the beads. Eventually it seemed every single project in the magazine was for shaped beads and for that reason I let my subscription lapse. I recently received an invitation to re-subscribe, so I had a look at the most recent issue on the newsstand. Still full of shaped bead projects. I’m sorry, I’m not going for it. There’s too much out there anyway, I can make enough things from my own imagination

  5. Darka J at 7:16 am June 21, 2017

    I agree wholeheartedly with Megan. The choices are overwhelming. And since I like to have a selection of colors on hand to choose from, that complicates matters further. I have some superduos but have never been tempted to get involved with other shaped beads. Plus the pieces made with shaped beads tend to be clunkier. I much prefer the intricacy that can be achieved with seed beads.

  6. Sylvia R at 8:03 am June 21, 2017

    Love having more choices with the shaped beads, BUT, the rate they’ve come on the market is overwhelming. It’s flooded with too many new ones, one hole, two hole, minis, and larger beads!
    I feel I can’t focus on one or two new shapes before several more new ones appear. I’m still loving tiles and superduos…..but feel I’m missing out on the “42”(my exaggeration) other types of new beads out there.
    Some small shops can’t afford to carry such a large inventory…
    I will buy online but prefer seeing what I’m buying because pictures just don’t do the colors justice sometimes.
    I’ve let my subscriptions to the beading magazines expire as their focus has certainly changed in the last few years. Too many ads, too many none beadweaving projects, and like the others, let’s have some more patterns that feature seed beads!
    Stepping down off my soapbox now.

  7. Anita R at 8:06 am June 21, 2017

    I agree that you cannot find the beads, or the colors required, besides being expensive. I like to have several colors of a bead when putting a project together to get the combination “just right”. The store owners cannot carry all of the different kinds of beads, or colors due to space and expense, so I just stick with basic projects using seed beads, and some superduos. Many of the new designs are too “busy” and “chunky” for my taste, so I use what I have.

    I think the bead manufacturers just got tired to making the same beads and are now trying to make more money, but all it has done with me, is I have quit buying everything.

    But I bead for fun, not frustration so I guess it does not matter.

  8. Lynn N at 8:25 am June 21, 2017

    I prefer using seed beads for several reasons. Probably the most important is that I don’t like the “clunky” look of shaped bead projects. I tend to make smaller, cleaner lined projects and if I want size I use cubic right angle weave. I like the look of intricate designs make from seed beads, crystals and pearls. Economically it is all I can handle building a working bead stash with all the colors, sizes and finishes of seed beads.

  9. Diana G at 9:30 am June 21, 2017

    I couldn’t agree more with previous comments! I too have let my subscriptions lapse and don’t even buy older issues available cheap at my local bead store. For the last two years I’ve seen not a single design I wanted to use from a magazine! I love the fluidity of beadweaving, especially using the simpler beads. And the meditation of the needlework. In my opinion it is the finish and color of the bead that makes me want to use it, or makes the finished piece very special. And I have had wonderful results varying a simpler design with different sizes and shapes of (1 hole) fire-polished beads and crystals. Using Chinese and Czech crystals and Czech fire-polished and druk beads keeps my designs affordable and still gorgeous and unique.

  10. Diana G at 9:37 am June 21, 2017

    PS You are definitely on the right track with the above designs… I love most of them! Thank you for paying attention, Interweave.

  11. Nathan B at 11:13 am June 21, 2017

    It has been our experience (as a retailer and wholesaler) that those who dislike shaped beads are much more vocal than those who do. Very few people want to be a small voice in a crowd, even if most of that crowd actually quietly enjoys and using the shapes. Based on website sales, retail store sales, wholesale sales, pattern sales, and YouTube views, we have incredible feedback from a large swath of beading customers. The sales data shows that shaped beads (of all varieties) are far more popular than most people suspect.

    • Martha S at 1:44 pm June 21, 2017

      +Nathan B — glad you still have retail stores, but most of us no longer have access to them. If I still could shop at a retail store I’d be much more likely to buy a tube of a new shape and try it out, but your closest store is a day’s drive away.

      That said, I don’t need to buy any more cylinders or rounds because I already have a ton of them. Ditto for patterns. Maybe your customers are buying the new shapes and the patterns for them because they’ve already got the other stuff.

      And I think you are missing the point of many of the posts here. Most of us like the shapes, it’s just that we also like the older styles too, and would like to see a balance of patterns in the magazines.

      • Wendy B at 2:02 pm June 21, 2017

        I used to live in a city with five bead stores. All of them have closed but one, and my current town has none, and there are none closer than a four hour drive. I think that if I had a local bead shop I would also be much more likely to try more shapes one or two at a time.

      • Sharon G at 6:00 pm June 21, 2017

        I agree with you, Martha S.

  12. Carol C at 12:04 pm June 21, 2017

    It may be that some retail bead stores are selling shaped beads well. But my experience with two, small retailers tell a very different story. They have money tied up in inventory of many of the shaped beads that are not selling well.
    I have no judgements toward beaders who love the shaped beads. I have seen some outstanding designs made with them.
    That said, However, my personal opinion is quite cynical of late.
    I take the flooded market of shaped beads to be obscene and outlets like the magazines and bead shops have put enormous pressure on me to like them , buy them, or be left in a creative desert. I take it quite personally.
    It’s unseemly somehow to have a great number of artists and bead manufacturers designing the new shaped beads and making most of the new designs which are then printed in the magazines or given free when you purchase the beads required. A friend recently asked me how these designers can afford the beads (let’s face it. No matter how you slice it they are very expensive and cost prohibitive for most of us) they use in their designs. Well, of course they do not buy these beads. They are given as incentive to come up with more designs. It almost feels like a scam. Especially at the rate they are coming out. And this insane push of shaped beads is having an effect on beginners who are trying to just learn the basics. I’ve had one friend who just gave up…
    I, too, have decided to end my subscriptions to the beading magazines that I have been subscribing to since 1999. I have magazines that have come and gone.
    It may be that the mags are only receiving shaped bead patterns because they are being encouraged to only use them. If the magazines put out a sincere call to designers to submit seed bead projects, I bet they would be inundated.
    I have gone on/off with my opinion. No one with influence has ever asked me before. thanks for listening.

    • Wendy B at 1:52 pm June 21, 2017

      Carol I totally agree with everything you said!

    • Cheryl O at 6:02 am June 22, 2017

      Carol, VERY well said, and your opinion echos what many of us have been thinking!!

    • Sharon G at 2:24 pm June 24, 2017

      No designer that I have ever met has been given free beads by the manufacturer. I have asked ever bead designer I have ever taken a class with, a lot of household names, and no one has ever been recipient of free beads. Magazine editors may have a different experience, I do not know about them

  13. Wendy B at 1:07 pm June 21, 2017

    I was part of a Facebook beading group where this topic came up; I mentioned all of the points made by people here who also aren’t enamored with the shaped beads. Rather than any kind of constructive discussion between adults with differing opinions, I was kicked out of the group for being “disruptive”. I wasn’t rude, I wasn’t judgmental, or in any way combative. I just said that I wasn’t crazy about most of the shaped beads for a variety of reasons, and that I had stopped purchasing magazines because I could no longer find any projects without at least two different shaped beads in them–and many projects use five or six. That means that once you purchase enough beads for one bracelet, you can easily spend upwards of $40. And because the shaped beads tend to come in small amounts, often you have to buy multiple packs. This was and is my opinion which we were asked for–but apparently there was a right and a wrong answer. I was honestly shocked.
    I’ve been beading for almost 20 years and have seen many fads and styles come and go. Some of them I liked, some I didn’t–but I never remember the kind of negativity that I’ve seen in this debate. I love beading, and I do find some of the new shaped beads interesting and have a small collection of them that I’ll probably add to occasionally. But I have stopped subscribing to magazines, and I don’t buy many patterns at this point. I also know now that there’s a segment of the beading community that is pretty condescending and judgmental towards those of us who have more traditional tastes; I just don’t purchase from suppliers like that. And I stay out of this debate for the most part, but as a formerly loyal customer since the beginning, I thought I’d share my opinion.

    • Donna B at 7:36 pm June 21, 2017

      I totally agree with you! I am totally burned out on the shaped bead craze and am just about to allow my last beading magazine subscription to expire. I just received the current issue and found one non-shaped bead project moderately interesting. The rest of the magazine is of absolutely no use! I have bought more than my share of two-hole beads and made some interesting pieces. However, you can only do so much with them and most of the patterns I see now as overdone and just an attempt to find a way to utilize these odd shapes, regardless of their attractiveness! I really hope the bead manufacturers will listen and redirect their attention to further development of the basic beads….you never have sufficient bead color and finish choices!

  14. Martha S at 1:15 pm June 21, 2017

    It was fun at first but I haven’t used most of the new shapes I bought, and it’s going on five years now. It seems like new shapes come out once or twice a month. Enough already! I just got the August/September issue today and every pattern uses some shaped beads except for the pattern in the “Simply Seeds” section and that uses montees. I don’t have any. All the bead stores around here have closed. And there’s a nice pattern to use up those Pips I got when they came out — except it needs chatons. I don’t have any.

    Please give us more patterns with cylinders and/or rocailles. And how about some good old-fashioned bicones for crystals? I don’t want to cancel my subscription but I can’t keep buying new beads when every new issue comes out.

  15. bonnie m at 2:55 pm June 21, 2017

    I was at a Bead Society meeting last night and we were discussing this before the meeting and had a copy of your latest edition that just came (Aug/Sept 17). A number of people expressed the view that there are too many shapes coming out and too many patterns using them in Beadwork and Bead and Button. Sadly for you, several of those people said they were letting their subscriptions lapse for that reason. Perhaps it’s time to have a separate issue on new and unusual beads??? and let the marketplace chose?
    I don’t mind some shaped bead articles, but would really like to see a balance – seed bead, combos of seed beads with some shapes, using shapes that are available (duos, magatamis, etc.)… I agree with the comment that the pieces are big, and I find some of them look “clunky”; I have no desire to wear them or make them.
    I am glad for the discussion and hope it helps you in planning and marketing BW.

  16. Jodie P at 2:55 pm June 21, 2017

    I too have let my subscription lapse for many of the same reasons stated by other commentors plus a few additional reasons. I too, think the sudden onslaught of shaped beads was too overwhelming. The bead manufacturers could have timed their new shapes a tad bit slower and not so many all at the same time. This would have given beaders a chance to adjust and warm up to the new ones and prepare to incorporate them into their inventory and designs.

    I am not a big fan of the shaped beads. Some shapes I do like but, many I do not. They have their place and I do see some value in having shaped beads as they do provide options for creating designs. That being said, though, there can be overkill. And I think that is where not only the bead manufacturers make their mistake but also bead magazines. It’s like mass saturation to the point of overkill, you know like “feast or famine”, and then people burn-out and loose interest. If the manufacturers and magazines would slow down a little it would help prevent this overkill and burnout.

    To address one other question that I noticed surfacing in the comments pertains to subscriptions and the lack of originality. A few years ago I was having problems renewing my subscription. It took 5 and half months to resolve the issue and required me speaking directly with the managing editor. While working with her she had asked me questions pertaining to my opinion of Beadwork magazine including how I use it and whether or not I save back issues. I was surprised that she actually asked and offered a response. She shared with me that many of the pieces featured in the magazine are contracted a good couple of years in advance because of how long it takes to put an issue together and then print it and mail it. That made logical sense and satisfied that part of my inquiry/curiosity. But it didn’t satisfy my need for originality or uniqueness. She responded that when they contract with these artists, as mentioned in this article, many of the artists chose their own piece(s) to submit, Beadwork doesn’t request any specific theme or design. When I shared with her that I was finding a lot of repetition in not only the designs and artists but also the type (jewelry as opposed to beaded boxes, pet collars, 3D artwork, etc). And I asked why wouldn’t they consider other art designs as well. Many of the earlier issues did feature unique and original pieces that expanded across multiple disciplines/themes and types including Huchoil,3D designs, and more. But the past 10 years or so its like they have given up on any originality or uniqueness all together. I gave her the names and website links to some of the artists I follow and that is where I lost her. I heard more justifications and ums and uhs that indicated to me she was not all that interested in “knowing me” as a subscriber/customer. I know I am not alone in wanting more originality. Other bead artists I have gotten to know have shared the same opinions.

    • Jodie P at 3:05 pm June 21, 2017

      I also want to mention that it seems like the magazines rely on the same-o same-o artists. While I do appreciate the same legendary, tried-and-true artists, it does get repetitious and boring to see the same artists over and over again and again. The same people every single issue. I realize they are contracted. However, the world is full of wonderfully talented bead artists and it would be nice to see magazines broaden their scope to include more variety in the artists. It’s hard to get inspired when there is so much repetition between types of beadwork as well as the talent/artists

  17. Patricia G O at 3:20 pm June 21, 2017

    Thank you for paying attention to this topic. I, too, was part of a large Facebook group discussing this and hoped that the bead magazines would listen in. In addition to the objections you listed, I have to agree with those about design (the “clunkiness”) aspect, the need in so many patterns for not one, but multiple different shapes and the sense of marketing push. I realize that people have different aesthetic preferences and mine won’t suit everyone. I also realize that bead magazines must have ad revenue and featuring new products is somewhat necessary, but ever since the great glut of Swarovski crystals arrived a few years ago, I’ve felt some dissatisfaction with the balance. (I realize that I’m in a distinct minority where Swarovski is concerned, as I prefer soft sheens to glitz-n-glitter.)

    When shaped beads first arrived, I thought some of them novel and interesting. I played with some, but have still discovered only a very few that I’ve any interest in using, primarily peanuts/farfalles, SDs and rullas (limited) and most recently, the Minos (though not in the way they intended). But my enjoyment of rocailles and Delicas never grows old, however.

    Just for feedback purposes: Out of the most recent (Aug.-Sept. 2017) issue, only two pieces really caught my eye: Chenille Shimmer, which, being familiar with chenille stitch, I don’t need a pattern for but was glad to see for its dependence on rocailles, and the Picket Fence piece because I’ve extra pieces of 5mm round leather left from the embellished seed bead bracelets and necklaces I’ve designed using it as a base or straps.

    I don’t think any of us are asking that bead magazines cease publishing patterns for shaped beads, only that we’d like to see less emphasis on them and more on rocailles and Delicas, which are far more versatile and easier to obtain. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to delve into the issue and for listening!

    • Carol B at 5:40 pm June 21, 2017

      I am amazed how similar the comments are to the way I’ve been feeling lately about the new, shaped beads. I am a bead artist who sells my work. Although I’m thrilled by the thought of new creative outlets and opportunities for new design:
      1. There are too many shapes; it is overwhelming
      2. Many of the designs in the magazines are not wearable; too “fussy.” I’ve found that; my customers are not that interested in the new shapes and tend not to buy them. Wonder if this will change if they see more of them? Or is it because the designs themselves are not appealing? (Some exceptions: tilas and superduos, I’ve found people like)
      3. I thought I was well-stocked in the HUGE variety of shapes and sizes already on the market. And that’s saying something: even trying to have size 11’s rocailles in most colors and coatings is a challenge! Then there are Delicas, 8s, 6s, and….and hex beads and triangles and …..Ohnmygosh I am dizzy just looking at all my beads and what I still need (or want???)
      4. Every time I want to use a new shape of bead that comes out, as someone above me said, I like to stock up on a variety of colors. And now that the internet dominates the bead market and small bead stores have gone out of business, it’s hard to choose colors without seeing them and being able to match them up “in person.” I really can’t afford to stock up on all the new shapes, and find they are less versatile to use in my designs.
      5. Every time I receive a new bead magazine in the mail, I’m excited and go through marking what I might want to make. Alas! For about the last year, I’ve seen nothing that interests me. For the first time EVER I’ve thought about tossing my copies or cancelling my subscription (and for a hoarder like me, that’s saying something!)
      6. And last, I hope I’m not being catty, but there seems to be a trend among “super-star” beaders who dominate the magazines to make the most complicated designs. Sure, it is challenging and I appreciate the skill involved. However, I want to make designs that are wearable, elegant, and timeless. I find myself creating my own designs or going back years to my supply of old magazines to get inspired.
      Thank you, all, I don’t feel so alone anymore!!!!

  18. Shirley E at 5:44 pm June 21, 2017

    I haven’t had the opportunity to even try shaped beads. The cheap seed beads pretty much stretch my budget. I see so many interesting designs using different shapes, but try some of them with substitutes, with some success but a different look. Guess beading isn’t meant for people with meager resources…too bad, as you might find some of the most wonderful creations from their limited variety. So, answer to the question “do I like shaped beads or not?” is I don’t know. Some of them are cute or pretty. Thanks for asking.

  19. Sharon G at 5:53 pm June 21, 2017

    I just want to say, I am part of the beading group that had the discussion in regard to beading magazines & shaped beads & I am very heartened to see that you really payed attention to what was said. It is great to know you care that much about what beaders want to see. I noticed several projects using just seed beads in the newest issue I received a couple of days ago. While I do use shaped beads a lot myself, it is nonetheless great that you heard & responded to the concerns.Thank you!!
    Great job!!!

  20. Helen T at 8:13 pm June 21, 2017

    I am Australian and we do not have such easy access to the many shaped beads which you do in the US. Also when you take into account that the Aussie dollar is not strong at present and US postage is quite expensive it becomes prohibitive to use lots of different shaped beads. Because our population is small and our beading community small we have difficulty sourcing a lot of things locally.

    Like many of the others who have commented here I have given up my subscriptions to American beading magazines and it is not because of the patterns using shaped beads but because everything in the magazines has started to look the same and apart from using different shapes of beads there seems to be little that is new. There seems to be a lack of originality and imagination, which many others have mentioned. Personally I have been experimenting with a variety of materials for example combining beadweaving with polymer cabochons that I make, using things like silk threads and felted pieces with beadweaving. My work is popular with people locally and sells well here.

    I know that is not everyone’s cup of tea but as Jodie mentioned what about some work that extends accross more than one discipline. What about some not jewellery projects? even a bit more bead embroidery and shibori ribbon work would be good. I also subscribe to some polymer magazines and to me they are far more inspiring than any of the beading magazines.

    Several of my Australian beading friends feel the same way, and have also given up their beading magazine subscriptions. I would be interested to know if other international bead artists feel the same way. Thank you

  21. April B at 10:15 pm June 21, 2017

    I love superduo beads but really, all the new beads coming out every time I turn around has my head spinning. I only OCCASIONALLY see a project using them that I would like to make. Now days, when I see a project that looks neat, the first thing I do is check to see if it uses any of these new beads, sometimes, you can’t tell right off, and if they do, I just move on.

  22. Sue D at 2:17 am June 22, 2017

    I don’t often post comments but I agree with many of the comments already made.
    I no longer subscribe to magazines but rather look at each magazine, evaluate if there are projects that I will do, and then buy on an individual basis. This is despite knowing that it is more expensive.
    As for shaped beads, it would be great if there were at least a few more projects with just seed beads, or even with some of the earlier shaped beads – superduos or tilas etc. it is near impossible to purchase most of the newer shaped beads in Australia. We have the same problem with closing physical shops – and I think it would be too costly to maintain the level of stock – colour range etc.

  23. Sharon M at 11:01 am June 22, 2017

    I actually like the newer shaped beads. I think they show off colors in a way that seed beads do not. I also like the “chunkier” styles that result when shaped beads are used. Having said that, I think the recent flood of shaped beads on the market is almost irresponsible of the bead manufacturers. Even someone like me who enjoys using these new shaped beads and will buy them, cannot possibly keep up with the new ones constantly being added to the market. I will get excited about a pattern only to find that there is yet another! bead I’ve never heard of, and only one or two shops on Etsy carry it, or I have to order it from Europe (no bead stores where I live).
    I happen to like intricate and difficult patterns, I would cancel my subscription if Beadwork began publishing only simple patterns or only patterns that did not use shaped beads. But, I have no problem if it were half and half–half the patterns seed bead oriented and half shaped bead.
    Of course Beadwork is submission driven, if everyone who posted on here wants seed bead patterns, why dont they try their hand at creating and submitting seed bead oriented patterns? Just a thought.

  24. Cynthia S at 9:13 pm June 22, 2017

    I LOVE all of the new beads and get so inspired seeing the new projects using them. If people don’t like to use them, then don’t use them. There are still tens of thousands of patterns available that use just seed beads, and thousands more come out each year.

    I find it funny that most of the people complaining are those who no longer have subscriptions. I’ve never cancelled mine… but if I did, I don’t know that I could tell the magazines what they should or shouldn’t do. Most of my beading friends also love the new shapes, but likely wouldn’t post about it. Probably the silent majority are those who are actually spending and shopping.

  25. Darka J at 5:40 am June 23, 2017

    After reading all these responses I feel compelled to add one more comment, although on an unrelated topic. We beaders must be a very literate lot. Having read all the above, I don’t think I noticed a single misspelling or typo. On some other websites the mistakes are so bad I often have to pause to figure out what was the word the person intended to use. I guess beaders have an innate attention to detail.

  26. Sharon G at 2:38 pm June 24, 2017

    I love SuperDuos. They are very versatile beads. Most of the other shaped beads are very limiting in my opinion. Everything I make with most of them looks like any other pattern using them, the shaped beads overtake the design. I agree that the magazines should publish more traditional seed bead patterns, especially those with cylinder beads, Delicas and Aicos.

  27. Ronnie J at 8:53 pm July 1, 2017

    I don’t mind shaped beads in general. I do mind the glut of two-hole beads on the market and in many patterns. Either I can’t find the appropriate beads or the finished piece is too chunky and geometric.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.