Design Choices Lead to Process in Beadwork August/September 2019

When asked how I approach a design, my questions in reply are, “Which medium? Which season? For myself, for teaching, or to gift or sell?” This line of questions may seem snarky, but this is just not a question with easy answers! Then, what I find is once the process starts, there are even more questions to be asked and answered.

ABOVE: Clockwise, Beadwork August/September 2019 cover; Lisa Jordan’s Trapunto Bracelet; Becky Mitchell’s Serendipity Pendant; Agniezska Watts’ Color Block Bangle; and Vezsuzsi’s Floret Post Earrings.

Lisa Jordan’s Trapunto Bracelet

Lisa Jordan’s Trapunto Bracelet from Beadwork August/September 2019.

Ultimately, the questions and answers outline the design process, but it is quite a journey from start to finish. Here are some examples. When approaching a design with beads for on- or off-loom bead weaving, I tend to first gravitate to color. What’s my mood? Do I want something bright and cheery? Or am I on an edgy path, and matte black with a touch of silver are my palette du jour? Once I know the colors, I need to decide if I am up for something challenging, or do I just want a bold, wide, even-count peyote bracelet to finish off an outfit? Either way, the next choice is a clasp, thread, and needle size, then I’m off and running.

Becky Mitchell’s Serendipity Pendant from Beadwork August/September 2019.

Becky Mitchell’s Serendipity Pendant from Beadwork August/September 2019.

When working in bead embroidery, I tend to start with the focal. Once I choose a gemstone or glass cabochon (or button!), a piece of raku, or even a found object, I’m led to the questions of pendant, cuff, or statement necklace. Then comes the fun part of choosing beads that will complement the focal. The beads will range in size and color so there is texture and excitement in the finished piece. Then there is the question of shape! And on it goes.

Debora Hodoyer uses her dining room for beading and doing guitar maintenance. Her dog, Sharden, is Debora’s number one fan. (Photo courtesy of Debora Hodoyer)

Debora Hodoyer uses her dining room for beading and doing guitar maintenance. Her dog, Sharden, is Debora’s number one fan. (Photo courtesy of Debora Hodoyer)

Inside Beadwork August/September 2019

In this issue of Beadwork, our contributors share their design process in an interview with Katie Hacker. It is interesting to see how they approach creating, each with a special place of their own, as well as how their questions and answers guide their hand, too.

Monet’s Lariat by one of Beadwork's Designers of the Year, Wendy Ellsworth

Monet’s Lariat by one of our Designers of the Year, Wendy Ellsworth, in Beadwork August/September 2019.

Not only do these talented artists share their design path, they also offer some amazing bead-weaving patterns. Be sure to bask in the glow of Beadwork Designer of the Year Wendy Ellsworth’s cover design, Monet’s Garden Lariat, inspired by a trip to Monet’s garden and lily ponds in Giverny.

Mama Got Rocks kumihimo design by Maggie Thompson from Beadwork August/September 2019.

Mama Got Rocks kumihimo design by Maggie Thompson in Beadwork August/September 2019.

See where Maggie Thompson took her purchase of a gemstone fan-set in Mama’s Got Rocks. Lisa Jordan channeled quilting techniques in her Trapunto Bracelet (top). And Keiko Okamoto brings sunflowers front and center through her creative bead weaving of shaped beads in Sunflower Bracelet.

Colorblock Bangle pattern in two colorways, by Agnieszka Watts

Colorblock Bangle pattern in two colorways, by Agnieszka Watts in Beadwork August/September 2019.

No matter your design choices and the path you take from start to finish—the important thing is to start and enjoy the process. We would love to hear from you and learn what inspires your designs. Please drop a line, any time, or leave a comment below.

Tammy Honaman
Editor, Beadwork magazine


Explore new designs inside every issue of Beadwork magazine.

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