Bead Embroidery and Mixed Media Jewelry Designs

I’m a mixed media designer in the sense I mix all media I work in together, as often as I can. When I first started making jewelry, I didn’t quite get how this worked, and didn’t have the skill base to know how to work with too many different media, but knew I wanted to get “there,” some day. Along the course of my journey, I absorbed as much information as I could and shopped and bought things I liked, even if I wasn’t sure how I’d use them. I would also buy extras of things, as you just never know when a technique might come along that’s a hit.

One project that comes to mind is this metal clay design I did where I brought glass beads from lampwork bead artist, John Winter. These were beads he had made that broke in half. He saved them, I saw them, and bought the whole lot, as I knew one day they would be great in something. Turns out, they are perfect for use in metal clay.

metal clay, glass bead, rubber cord - design by Tammy Honaman, glass bead by John Winter

Metal clay and glass bead pendant, by Tammy Honaman

I’ve also used these “half-bead cabochons” in bead embroidery.

bead embroidered glass bead pendant/brooch. Glass bead by John Winter. seed beads, firepolished beads, beading medium, ultrasuede, pin backing, pin converter

Bead embroidered glass bead brooch/pendant, by Tammy Honaman

Bead embroidery is a true mixed-media technique in the sense it requires mixed media right from the start – beads, thread and the material you’re beading onto. Things can only get better form there! Here is a recent design that makes great use of seed beads, beading medium, a metal cuff, cabochons, wire, and these great loops you can integrate and then add beaded dangles to. A mixed media extravaganza!

bead embroidered cuff by Tammy Honaman - mixed media includes seed beads, cabochons, beading medium, ultrasuede, beads, pearls, Swarovski cyrstals

bead embroidered cuff bracelet, by Tammy Honaman

A friend of mine, Kris Schaible, is a lampwork artist who makes the most amazing beads with painterly detail. I saw Kris recently and she shared a new design she’s been working on – glass cabochons for use in bead embroidery.

Glass cabochons by Kris Schaible, lampwork artist, Bead Fest vendor

Glass cabochons by Kris Schaible

You can catch Kris and her new cabs at Bead Fest in August and soon, we’ll have a design or two to share with you!

Love the idea of working your “found objects” or “favorite find” into a design but not sure where to turn? Love the look of bead embroidery but not sure where to start? Let Sherry Serafini help you. Sherry has been creating bead-embroidery art for over 20 years and is a master who can guide you from start to finish. (For more on Sherry, check out the post “Sherry Serafini, Bead Embroidery, and Rock and Roll“)

In Sherry’s recent video, Bead Embroidery: Adding Found Objects Into Your Projects, Sherry covers how to take her basic stitching methods and create found object components to use in your designs. Sherry starts off with a few examples of found objects and the tools and supplies you’ll need to take them from this –

Sampling of found objects from Sherry Serafinis Found Object bead embroidery vidoe

sampling of found objects

to this!

close up look at bead embroidered found objects, by Sherry Serafini

close up look at bead embroidered found objects, by Sherry Serafini

Another video in this series, Successful Edging and Fringe, Sherry shares a few techniques along with tips that will have you adding edging and fringing to your designs at a professional level with professional finishes.

Sherry Serafini explaining some of the fringe and edging used in her bead embroidered designs

Sherry explaining some of the fringe and edging used in her bead embroidered designs

Two other videos in the series include Connecting Bead Embroidery Components and Incorporating Shibori Ribbon Into Your Bead Embroidery.

If mixed media is your thing but you’re not into bead embroidery, Kristal Wick’s video, Mixed Media: Beaded Bracelets with Fiber Beads, Crystals, Resin, and Wire includes making beads, adding resin to components, and creating finished jewelry that is sure to inspire you as you approach your next design.

Mixed Media video by Kristal Wicik

Mixed Media video by Kristal Wick


Whatever your favorite mediums are and whatever media you like to combine, I hope you are making time to enjoy creating new jewelry designs. Please share your next mixed-media design with us in our member gallery or leave a comment.

Happy creating!

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