Discover Zentangle Inspiration with Beadweaver Carole Ohl
Q&A with Beadwork Designer Carole Ohl
Carole Ohl is a long-time Beadwork contributor. Her Saturn Connections bracelet is featured in April/May 2017 Beadwork and is available as a kit. This unique component-based project uses circular herringbone stitch and ladder stitch. We recently asked Carole about how she got started beading, her creative philosophy, and the inspiration behind her Saturn Connections project.
Q: How did you get started beading?
A: About fifteen years ago I walked into my first bead store — right in my own neighborhood! At the time I was making felted bags out of old sweaters and thought it would be fun to add some beads. I was overwhelmed by all the colors and types of beads that I had no idea existed! The owner, Julie Walker, wanted me to make her a bag, so we traded the bag for some of her bead classes. I never made another bag! Julie and Jann Christiansen were my first teachers, and thus began my love of the beading life.
Beading Inspiration and Design
Q: What inspires your creativity?
A: A new color or a new shape of bead will often inspire me to sit down and play. Most of all, I get inspired by the people around me. When people bead together, there is a flow of inspiration that guides the creativity of all involved. I don’t know if I would bead as much as I do if I didn’t have my bead community. We can learn so much from one another!
Q: Do you plan your designs in advance, or do you just let the creativity flow?
A: I don’t usually begin with a concrete idea. I’m a huge fan of the art of Zentangle, whose tagline is “Anything is possible . . . one stroke at a time.” One stroke informs the next, and so it goes when I play with beads. One bead plays on the next, with no plan. It’s so much fun to see what those beads like to do with each other!
Q: How do you approach the use of color in your designs?
A: I tend to be monochromatic. I have to try really hard to do anything else. When I’m in designing mode, I use my usual comfort colors just to see what kind of structure occurs without contrasts in color. I like to focus on the sculptural aspects of the beads first, then I go for more color.
Q: How do you get out of a creative rut?
A: I make a point of learning something new. I’ll usually pick up a magazine and make a project by another designer. It’s amazing the way different brains approach things. I get energized by learning new ways to use beads.
Bead Weaving Favorites
Q: What’s your favorite stitch or technique, and why?
A: It depends on the beads. I love two-hole beads, so I often do more right-angle weave with them. I love turnarounds in beadwork because you have more opportunities with your thread path. When I want to do more relaxed, repetitive beading, I go for hubble stitch or peyote stitch.
Q: What do you love most about beading?
A: People bead for all kinds of reasons. I love that there’s something for everyone who loves beads. It’s an exciting time for beading, too. Four years ago, when we opened our bead store, there were only a couple of two-hole beads — and now look what’s available! I love that people have so many options to find the style of beading that works for them, whether it’s a simple half-hour project or something large and architectural that takes weeks to complete. What a beautiful bead world!
Focus on Seed Beads
Q: What was the inspiration for your Saturn Connections project?
A: I wanted to create a design that relied mostly on seed beads. Creating actual shapes with seed beads isn’t something I do very often. The seed beads are usually a support for larger elements. And again, the Zentangle philosophy — connecting lines and segments to each other is fun for me.
Please share your original designs with us! To submit to Beadwork magazine, email us at email@example.com.
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine
For other designs by Carole Ohl