Fearless Bead Embroidery Ideas from Guest Blogger Kelly Angeley

Kelly Angeley and I have a lot in common: we both love beads, yoga, and the Blues. Ever since I first laid eyes on some of Kelly's magnificent bead embroidery, I've been a fan of her work. Today, I'm thrilled to have been able to get a sneak peek at her new book, Explorations in Beadweaving, and even happier to be able to introduce her to you as our guest blogger today on Beading Daily! Read on to find out why Kelly is such a fan of bead embroidery, and see what you can learn about fearless beading!

I have to admit that I am completely fascinated by and seriously addicted to bead embroidery. I have a weakness for color and texture, which are both sufficiently abundant in this technique.  I think another reason for my fascination is my background in oil painting. Using seed beads in embroidery reminds me a lot of creating paintings, only without any paint. As an added bonus, it's much less messy and unless you use smelly glue, it's a lot less toxic!

Another one of the reasons I love bead embroidery is because of the freedom it provides. There really are no rules with this technique, which for someone like me, this is fantastic because I'm not a real fan of following rules when it comes to my art work. Depending on the vision that I have for a particular piece, I can either go a more symmetrical route or for a more spontaneous look I can deviate from the symmetry and let my imagination run wild. I can even change my mind halfway through a piece and take it in another direction with the results still ending in a visually pleasing piece.

This approach often scares the heck out of many of my students. If freeform (the dreaded "f" word) is not your bag, fear not! A more systematic and symmetrical approach can always be taken. With the number of stitches and embellishments available to this particular beading technique, the piece will still be a successful design and visually interesting.

My go-to stitch in bead embroidery is backstitching. But I use peyote stitch to capture and bezel almost all cabochons a larger stones. I also use a variety of fringing and picot techniques to add texture. I neatly sew and finish the edges of my pieces using a modified brick stitch technique.

The most common question I receive regarding bead embroidery is, "Where do you start?" For me, the common denominator in every piece I do is beginning with a focal point. The focal point is always my muse and inspiration. I generally pick out one large stone or cabochon that I want to showcase in the piece. Since this piece is the star of the show, I then find other cabochons, larger beads, sequins or sew-ons that complement the focal. Next, I pick out way more tubes of seed beads colors than I will ever use in one piece. Basically I audition them to see if they will work in the piece. I choose colors that will match the focal as well as beads in complimentary shades that will really make the piece pop visually. I like to work in an assortment of sizes and shapes of seed beads to add an additional element of variety in my designs.

 Before committing to a design, I arrange the stones on my beading foundation and move them around.  Once I know where I want the main focal piece placed I will glue only that one piece down. I then trace around the other larger pieces to map out where I had them arranged without yet gluing them down. I never like to commit to more than one larger piece at a time because my vision often changes during the creating process.

My greatest piece of advice for those of you wanting to test your hand at bead embroidery is to let go of your fear. Getting past the fear is the most challenging part. The rest is just time, patience and most importantly, fun. Let go and trust your voice and I promise you will have fun.

What makes Kelly's style of beadwork so special? I think it's the way she captures her philosophy about life and tells her own story with the beads, making each stitch a word or a phrase in a magnificent narrative.

If you're eager to explore more of Kelly's techniques for capturing the moment in your bead embroidery, there's no better place to start than with a copy of her new book, Explorations in Beadweaving. Each of the 19 beading projects included in this book is the perfect balance of instruction and inspiration. Take a good look at how Kelly has used a whole array of beads and found objects to capture the moment and create exquisite, playful beadwork, and you'll be inspired to dig through your stash and do the same!

For a very limited time, when you pre-order your print edition of Explorations in Beadwork, you'll get the eBook as an instant digital download, so you can start exploring your own stories using Kelly's techniques and advice right away!

Pre-order your copy of Explorations in Beadweaving and tap into some of Kelly's wisdom and advice to find your way with your beads! Or if you prefer a digital eBook to a print copy, you can download your copy of Explorations in Beadweaving onto your favorite desktop or laptop computer and be reading and beading in just minutes.

Have you created a special piece of beadwork that held significant meaning for you? Have you ever felt as though you were transported to a deeply meditative state while working on a piece of beadwork? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your experiences with us, or better yet, take a picture of your meaningful masterpiece and post it in the Reader Photo Gallery!

Stay tuned for details about Kelly's LIVE webinar coming later in July!

Bead Happy,


Kelly Janice Angeley lives, teaches beading classes and works out of her home studio in Florence, OR. Kelly holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from Western Washington University, where she began her artistic career as a painter, however, a healthy obsession with beadwork has caused Kelly to put down her paintbrush. What once started out as a hobby has become a serious profession for Kelly. She sells her beadwork in galleries and boutiques along the west coast of the United States and has exhibited her work in national beadwork exhibitions.She has taught at the Bead & Button Show, Puget Sound Bead Festival and the Bellingham Bead Festival, as well as teaching up and down the west coast at various bead stores. Kelly's work has been featured in several books and magazines. Her hobbies include playing guitar and collecting, you guessed it, beads.You can see more of her work at her website, Kelly Angeley Beadologie, and check out her Etsy shop, Beadologie, for the coolest beads, supplies, and beading kits!

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