Fast & Fabulous: Bead Stringing Around the World

Fast & Fabulous: Around the World features simple bead stringing designs using patterned bone, saturated gemstone colors, elephant and dragon motifs, and wood and paper beads to represent the varied styles of Thailand, Japan, Africa, Egypt, India, and China. These colorful, wearable designs are great for creative jumpstarts and last-minute gifts.

Some of your favorite designers share their globally-inspired ideas in this Fast & Fabulous: Around the World bead stringing collection. Anne Potter, Michelle McEnroe, Anne Perry, Kristen Fagan, and Sandra Lupo take us on a trip around the globe.

There’s nothing quite like travel to get your creativity flowing. Other countries and cultures are so inspiring! The sights, sounds and scents all add up to an amazing creative infusion. Get ready to travel around the world for an infusion of color, symbolism, design style, and more in this Fast & Fabulous bead stringing collection.

Bead Stringing Around the World

Anne Potter’s Taj Mahal bead stringing design global brass turquoise

Anne Potter’s Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Bracelet and Earrings

Taj Mahal by Anne Potter uses basic bead stringing techniques to create this elegant bohemian bracelet and earring set. It’s carefree and trendy, but sophisticated, too. You can make a whole stack of bracelets using your favorite gemstone beads or your favorite color palette. Plus, it’s simple to assemble coordinating earrings. Stamp your own metal blanks like the ones shown here or choose meaningful premade charms to give your new jewelry an international flair.

Did you know that turquoise and many other gemstones are featured in the elaborate decorations of the Taj Mahal? Turquoise is associated with many healing properties, from general well-being to repelling negative thoughts, and more. Combine turquoise with gold for in this stylish mindfulness jewelry set.

Michelle McEnroe’s Elephant Walk Necklace brass jewelry necklace

Michelle McEnroe’s Elephant Walk Necklace

Elephant Walk Necklace

Elephant Walk by Michelle McEnroe is eye-catching necklace inspired by Thailand in two ways. It incorporates the national animal of Thailand, which is the elephant, and gold elements, which symbolize Thailand and the “land of gold.” Elephants are Thailand’s national symbol because of their strength, durability, and longevity. Gold has spiritual significance for Thais and brings extra meaning to adornment, decoration, and embellishment.

The polymer clay beads are an intriguing addition to this necklace. In fact, each of the elements have subtle textures that play really well together, from the chain tassel to the embossed elephant, to the beads. The two-tone, medium-width ribbon provides an anchor for the focal section at the front of the necklace.

Michelle McEnroe’s Gingko Leaf necklace sari silk ribbon

Michelle McEnroe’s Gingko Leaf

Gingko Leaf Necklace

Gingko Leaf by Michelle McEnroe combines a collection of Asian symbols into a lovely, eye-catching bead stringing design: The Chinese dragon represents power and good fortune; the color red symbolizes good luck in China; the gingko leaf signifies longevity in Japan; and the kimono is a traditional garment. The flowers along the side resemble cherry blossoms, which symbolize a time of renewal.

This necklace is a good guide for how to bring many different kinds of components together in a bead stringing design. Start with a pendant. Pull some medium-sized links and intersperse them with beaded eye-pin links. Choose a ribbon that can help pull together the colors and style.

Anne Perry’s Bollywood Swingin’ necklace fabric beads pink

Anne Perry’s Bollywood Swingin’

Bollywood Swingin’ Necklace

With bright colors and lots of movement, Bollywood Swingin’ by Anne Perry is as fun and energetic as a Bollywood dance number. Use colorful seed beads to embellish and customize the focal section, then use simple connections to link the rest of the embellishments together. You could use this technique to embellish fluted beads with seed beads to add a handmade look to any bead stringing project.

Movies and music are huge sources of inspiration for many beaders and jewelry makers. Bollywood is a play on Hollywood and is the nickname given to movies that are made primarily in Bombay, and they’re a full of colorful imagination. They tend to have dramatic musical numbers along with flamboyant costumes and other inspiring elements.

Kristen Fagan’s Batik Goddess beaded bead stringing necklace

Kristen Fagan’s Batik Goddess

Batik Goddess Necklace and Earrings

Batik Goddess set by Kristen Fagan features a primitive spiral pendant and geometric batik beads that the artist discovered while attending the Tucson bead shows. The spiral motif represents evolution, growth, creation, and the divine feminine. The contrasting patterns on the batik beads are influenced by animals and nature. Together, these materials and the bib design have a laid-back feeling that would be at home anywhere in the world.

If you’re heading to shows in Tucson next year, check out the Tucson Show Guide for tips on discovering treasures of your own. I usually make a plan and a shopping list, but it’s definitely a good idea to keep your eyes open for discoveries that will bring new energy to your bead stringing and other designs.

Anne Perry’s Afrobeat stringing necklace wooden beads paper bead

Anne Perry’s Afrobeat

Afrobeat Necklace

This colorful necklace by Anne Perry was inspired by Afrobeat, a musical style that incorporates elements from Africa and around the world. You should definitely crank up some tunes while making your own version of this necklace! I recommend Fela Kuti’s Afrodisiac for a good time.

The paper beads in Afrobeat are from BeadsforLife.org, a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurial training for women in 10 countries across Africa. Paper beads have become an important part of women’s enterprises for sustainable income. Colorful magazine pages and plentiful newspapers are transformed into beads that reflect their origins but transform them into something new.

Sandra Lupo’s Cleo’s Collar gemstones evil eye necklace

Sandra Lupo’s Cleo’s Collar

Cleo’s Collar Necklace

Sandra Lupo’s necklace, Cleo’s Collar, combines deep blue and red gemstones with bright gold components to make a regal Egyptian-style collar fit for a queen. Sandra’s design invokes the confidence and strength of Cleopatra. It would be equally striking at work or for a big night out. Bead stringing and simple wirework are all that’s required to bring the elements together.

The evil eye symbol is found in many cultures worldwide. There are many amulets, prayers, and rituals that people around the world use to deflect the evil eye’s curse or to get rid of it. The evil eye charm can also be used as a symbol of protection and power. The eye charms used in this necklace are inset with Swarovski crystals for a touch of extra sparkle.

Get Your Global Groove On

When you’re looking for bead stringing inspiration, it’s smart to take a little trip around the world. There are so many rich traditions and color combinations you can use to inspire and infuse your jewelry designs. There’s an African proverb that says, “To get lost is to learn the way.” Take a little step outside your creative comfort zone and see what you can make!

Happy beading,
Katie Hacker
Managing Editor of Beadwork


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