Beads, Brick Stitch, Butterflies, and Bees
Karen Parker has taken her love of science to her beads! A scientist and bead artist living in upstate New York, Karen has had a long career as a molecular biologist. An amazing and fulfilling career, but not satisfying on the artistic front, Karen turned to her love of fiber arts for a creative and colorful outlet. Karen shares, “Sewing and quilting let me express myself in colors and textures that are lacking in my research. Over the years, my interests have turned toward weaving and embellishments on fabric, particularly beaded embellishments!”
“The discovery of Carol Wilcox Wells’ book Creative Bead Weaving changed the way I look at my art. I wholeheartedly embraced the concept of off-loom beadweaving to form a fabric. A chance encounter with a microscopic image of butterfly wing scales was a turning point for me (they so closely resembled the seed beads in my stash!), and I began a series of beadwoven butterflies.”
Karen uses brick stitch to create these beauties. For a refresher, hop over to “Take a Closer Look at Brick Stitch.” To create her beaded butterflies, Karen recommends working with Delica or cylinder seed beads. “I’ve designed these butterflies (and the dragonflies and honeybees) using Delica cylinder beads for a smooth, neat finish. You could use round seed beads, but the shape and texture of the resulting butterfly would be quite different than those pictured.”
“Within the pages of this book [Brick Stitching Nature Charts for Beaded Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Honeybees}, I’ve endeavored to mimic the dimensions of each insect, the subtle shading of colors, and the balance of light and dark to render them lifelike.” Karen stitches the beads together with crystal 6lb FireLine® then uses permanent markers to color the cording once the butterflies are assembled, camouflaging the thread to match the beads along the edges.
“This careful attention to shape and color will result in pieces that are both pleasing to the eye and rewarding to the soul. Whether you work your way through all the projects in the book, or just a few, I hope you will come to appreciate the infinite beauty of nature’s creations as much as I do.” In addition to the beautiful diagrams created for the book, Karen has assembled bead kits for the colorful butterfly, the Noble Leafwing.
Have a favorite beaded butterfly, insect, or other flutterby? Please share your design with us and comment below
Happy butterfly beading,