Bead Weaving Expert, Bead Designer, Beadwork Designer of the Year

While at a TOHO bead event recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Nichole Starman in person. What a treat this was for me, and what a pleasure to meet the woman behind so many advancements in the bead world!

ltor: Marilyn Koponen, Melinda Barta, Nichole Starman, Dave Starman, Tammy Honaman

l to r: Marilyn Koponen, Melinda Barta, Nichole Starman, Dave Starman, Tammy Honaman

Nichole, wife and mother of 2 boys (ages 7 and almost 5), is also the Director of Starman, a Starman TrendSetter, and a bead creator! Nichole, a 2016 Beadwork Designer of the Year, offers us amazing bead weaving designs in each issue, including the fabulous Xanadu pattern (available with a limited kit) from Beadwork Aug/Sept 2016

Xanadu, by Nichole Starman. peyote, tubular netting, right-angle weave design. Beadwork Aug/Sep 2016

Xandau, by Nichole Starman. Beadwork Aug/Sept 2016

 This bead-weaving project will have us stitching perfect tubular netting, right-angle weave, and peyote stitch in no time so grab your kit while supplies last!

Creating beads is something that Nichole has done for over 15 years. She inspired the two-hole beading revolution when she created the CzechMates system, her latest addition to the CzechMates family is the Crescent, an incredibly thin wedge shape that ads texture and elegant beauty to a design.

Chrysanthemum, by Nichole Starman. Crescent CzechMats beads

Chrysanthemum, by Nichole Starman. Photo courtesy of Nichole Starman

Nichole’s most recent collaboratively created bead is the new TOHO Demi Round™ bead. A design she worked on with TOHO for over two and a half years. This new bead is a thinner (in width – hole-to-hole) size 8/O and 11/0 bead, available in 50 colors (with more to be added to the line), and holds true to the accurate cutting standards TOHO is known for.
Size 8 round and Size 8 Demi Round seed bead comparison. Photo Nichole Starman

The Demi Round is seen here in this design by Nichole.

Chenille BAngles, by Nichole Strarman. Demi Round and size 8/0 seed beads

Chenille Bangles, by Nichole Starman. photo courtesy of Nichole Starman

Nichole and I had only a few moments to talk but as a follow up to a few questions, Nichole offers some heartfelt thoughts and tips with us.

From Nichole
With gratitude
I appreciate the experience and encouragement that I’ve been shown by members of our beading community. Gifted people like Diane Fitzgerald and Eileen Barker have been a great source of inspiration, and it’s rewarding to see their talents working with beads that we work so hard to develop.

Her favorite thread
I’ve worked with FireLine® thread for many years and have made the jump to Toho’s One-G for most projects. It’s an amazing thread that works well with the CzechMates. It was an honor to work with Toho to add an additional 10 colors to the line last year, giving us even more options to blend with the ever-expanding bead- color palette.

Her best tip
After experiencing frustration with tension in three dimensional designs, I discovered that a simple baste stitch will eliminate hours of “redo work.” The technique has been used for ages in sewing and lends itself well to beading, too.

To keep designs flexible, I keep the tension in the bottom layers loose and gradually stitch tighter as I build upwards. Baste stitching provides temporary form and control of the base layers, making it easier to handle the piece and prevents unnecessary stress on the working thread. In Avignon, from Beadwork Apr/May 2016 issue, it keeps the first few layers of beads cinched together so that the netted embellishments on the top can be added with even tension.

Nichole is a busy mom with two boys on summer break so I asked what she might have planned outside of work, to help find some balance and quality time with her family.

Dave and I are planning on taking our boys to our hometown of Idaho Falls for a family reunion on the 4th of July. It’s a small city in the middle of the high desert of Idaho, but its claim to fame is having the biggest fireworks show west of the Mississippi! In August I will be going to Colorado to film videos for Interweave/FW.

A little work and a whole lot of play is what I wish for you, Nichole. Thank you for squeezing in time for us, sharing even more of your talent and expertise. And thanks again for the invite to the special event. It was a pleasure to meet you. I hope to see you in Tucson when I can check out what other new things you’ve been up to!

Have you gotten your hands on any Demi Rounds yet? Please share any tips, tricks or ideas in the comments or upload a design to our Member Gallery so we can all appreciate what you’ve been up to!

Yours creatively,


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