Bead Weaving: Start Your Spring with Beaded Leaves and Flowers with Huib Petersen
Welcome to Our Garden Party
Remember leaves? And flowers? While they may seem like a distant memory now, they’re quietly gearing up for their comeback. In the meantime, we can always create beaded leaves and flowers — just the thing to get you ready for warm weather and outdoor celebrations. I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a bona-fide garden party, but I certainly aspire to. I imagine crisp white linens, shades of green, and champagne. For now, I’ll gladly settle for the beadwork equivalent. Check out these videos and projects for inspiration and instruction that will transport you to a fresh, springy afternoon spent in the garden.
Russian Beaded Leaves
Huib Petersen is one of many bead artists that find inspiration in the natural world, and he does it particularly well. In Beadweaving 3 with Huib Petersen: Diagonal Peyote Stitch, Huib reveals how to use diagonal peyote stitch to bead Russian leaves, oak leaves, and zig-zags that can be transformed into flower petals or necklaces with beautiful drape.
Diagonal peyote can also be used to stitch the wings of a butterfly.
French Beaded Flowers
Beaded flowers have been around for centuries and became particularly popular in France in the mid-nineteenth century. They adorned altars, banquet tables, were used in religious festivals and celebrations, and even ornamented gravesites and tombs. It’s rumored that the demand was so high for these bead and wire arrangements that prisoners off the coast of Brittany were enlisted to make them.
Beads in Bloom by Arlene Baker is a comprehensive guide to this timeless art. It will take you through fundamental to advanced techniques so you can surround yourself with beautiful flower arrangements all year long—and you’ll get to bead too! Many beaded flower arrangements from the 18th and early 19th centuries still exist and are prized collectibles, impressive compared to the five- to ten-day lifespan of real live flowers. Here is an amazing beaded chandelier from the 1930’s:
Beaded Narcis Flowers
Beaded Leaves and Flowers for the Home
As we’ve seen with the beaded flower bouquet tradition, beads need not only be used to ornament the body as jewelry or clothing, but can bring beautiful color and character to your home as well. While the words “beaded curtains” bring to mind wood-paneled basements and the smell of burning incense, there is plenty of room for improvement within this retro trend. The Leaf Me Alone Beaded Valance is a great example of how you can use your peyote stitch and netting skills to enrich your home.
Glass both reflects and refracts light. It’s a symbiotic relationship that artists have been taking advantage of for centuries. A beaded window screen is a natural choice for the beader who wants to bring the vibrancy of glass beads to their breakfast nooks.
What to Make and Wear this Spring
Now that you know how to use your beading skills to bring the great outdoors into your wardrobe and your home, let’s look at some jewelry projects that, while they don’t have an explicit leaf or flower motif, they nonetheless convey a sense of freshness and refined springtime style.
Named after the designer’s Italian grandmother and her love of garden trellises, this beaded rope intertwines two-hole and regular seed beads, crystals, and pearls to create a spectacular necklace.
Try out several shaped beads—SuperDuos, Silky diamonds, and O beads—when you quickly stitch up this easy, springy design.
Right-angle-weave a meandering path of peanut, labradorite, and seed beads in this delicate trellis-inspired bracelet.
Colorful beads crisscross with a herringbone stitch variation on this pretty cuff.
Whether your plan this Spring is to bead your own indoor garden or attend fabulous garden parties every weekend, some beads and beading time are order. I think I might start with some French beaded flowers with the possibly unrealistic goal of turning them into an elaborate chandelier someday. With the season of rebirth and rejuvenation right around the corner, why not be ambitious?