Bead Embroidery with Kinga Nichols, Sherry Serafini, and Nancy Eha

Bead embroidery is a bead-weaving art that can lead you in so many directions. It’s a world of color, shape, pattern, or no pattern. Bead embroidery is an art that can be symmetrical, planned, perfect, or it can be totally random and something you figure out as you go. It’s definitely a forgiving art form that allows you to be you no matter what that means.

Bead Embroidery with Kinga Nichols

Kinga Nichols is creating bead art that is whimsical, unique, fun, colorful, and dynamic. Her jewelry designs are also wearable and make a statement! Her latest videos, Creative Bead Embroidery 1 and 2 break down her processes of bead embroidery on precut beading medium and bead embroidery with shaped beads and fine fabrics.

Bead embroidered fish cuffs. Creative Bead Embroidery 1 and 2 with Kinga Nichols

Bead embroidered fish cuffs by Kinga Nichols

Kinga shares a bit on how to approach bead embroidery if you haven’t before, how she begins a project, and a tool tip.

Be brave. Bead embroidery might seem daunting because it’s a lot more freeform than other types of bead weaving. Embrace the chaos! If you can think it up, you can turn it into bead embroidery.

I start with a plan. Pick out beads, know the shape I will be working with, and what goes where. The whole idea of using a set shape makes everything more manageable. I visualize what the finished product will look like before I start. The whole idea of working with a pre-planned shape gives you a framework. Which is great, because you can’t accidentally alter it by adding more and more beads to it until your original idea changes to something completely different. You have more control over the finished product.
Upside Down Opposum by Kinga Nichols. Creative Bead Embroidery 1 and 2 with Kinga Nichols

I also start with a limited color palette. There is nothing scarier than when someone tells you that “You can do anything” and you get no guidelines. I think guidelines are very useful, and sometimes working within limits is what really sets you free. Think about it this way: if someone tells you that you should write a poem and it can be about anything, you will be standing there trying to figure out what to write and how long it should be and all that. But if you are told to write a haiku, you now have a set of boundaries, and you are free to work within those and chances are it will be much easier.”

Marty the Chameleon, by Kinga Nichols. Creative Bead Embroidery 1 and 2 with Kinga Nichols

Marty the Chameleon, by Kinga Nichols

Kinga’s favorite pair of scissors, which you’ll see in her video, are Clauss scissors. Kinga prefers these for their ability to cut well, cut into tight spaces, and have holes that actually fit adult fingers. Love that! Thank you for sharing this Kinga (and for catching my error the last time I mentioned this on your behalf!).

Scissors recommended by Kinga Nichols, Clauss

Clauss scissors

Bead Embroidery with Sherry Serafini

Sherry Serafini explains her bead embroidery designs tend to guide her. It appears to me she has a starting point and at least a basic plan (necklace, bracelet, purse, etc.) which may come from a commissioned request from one of her clients (like Steven Tyler from Aerosmith or Melissa Ethridge!) but from there, it’s fun to watch her designs evolve as she changes from bead to bead, pearl to crystal, and oh, let’s add something completely unexpected over here. Now, let’s layer something altogether different on top of this layer. And how about…

bead embroidered rock and roll purse by Sherry Serafini, bead embroidery

Rock and Roll Purse by Sherry Serafini

Sherry covers this very thing in her recent video, Bead Embroidery: Incorporating Found Objects Into Your Bead Embroidery Projects.

Sherry Serafini, bead embroidered cuff, bead patterns

Bead Embroidered Cuff by Sherry Serafini

In 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, showing you how to create professional finishes.

Reeds Got Class bead embroidered and fringe earrings by Sherry Serafini, bead embroidery

Reeds Got Class earrings, by Sherry Serafini

In a compilation of beading patterns Best of Beadwork: 8 Projects by Designer of the Year Sherry Serafini, Sherry shares her designs in the form of bead-weaving patterns.

Ripple Effect Cuff by Sherry Serafini, bead embroidered design with found objects and beaded edging; bead embroidery

Ripple Effect Cuff by Sherry Serafini

Bead Embroidery with Nancy Eha

Nancy Eha approaches bead embroidery differently. She is actually more of an embroidery and quilt artist who incorporates beads into her work. And now, she is a beading queen! Nancy explains in her own words how this all came about and a bit about how she uses her trademark techniques in her Beaded Text Embroidery: The Art of Writing with Seed Beads course.

beaded text bead embroidery by Nancy Eha

Illuminated by Nancy Eha

“I have been exploring with beads and fabric for over 25 years, spending 100’s of hours asking “What if?” questions. As a result of this creative exploration, I have developed new beading techniques. Most of what I teach in my beading courses and through my books is my original beading stitches and techniques, which go far beyond the very few, traditional bead embroidery stitches.

Adding beaded text to my work began in 1989 when I was experimenting with changing embroidery stitches into beading patterns. I called the technique I was creating “Crazy Beading” because it was beading, inspired by the opulent embroidery on crazy quilts. After I had fine-tuned “Crazy Beading” to the point I was ready to teach it to others, I finished my first beaded crazy quilt, “All Things Old Are New Again.”

All Things Old are New Again

All Things Old are New Again

I wanted to sign this “obsessively” beaded crazy quilt with my signature. From this, I learned the scale of the letters would need to be larger. And although I liked my signature in beads, I realized the height of my letters varied and repeated letters, like the letter “a,” were not uniform in shape. These discrepancies were fine for a signature, because that is how I sign my name, but I knew I would want a cleaner, more uniform look. So, back to experimentation!

Seeing my students’ beading projects, created from what the courses inspired them to make, means the world to me! Even more gratifying, is the confidence level students attain, and the joy it brings into their lives. That’s what keeps me teaching and sharing my passion.
Beaing Daily March 2016 image copy

Thank you ladies for all you share and all you offered so we can have a little behind the scenes of how you create your beautiful beaded art.

Have a favorite bead embroidery technique or design you can share? Please leave a comment below.

Learn from these bead embroidery artists today!


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