Meet the Designer: Jann Christiansen, Beadweaving Artist
Designer Q&A: Jann Christiansen Beadwork Artist
Jann Christiansen is one of the designers featured in February/March 2017 Beadwork. Her simple but stunning That’s a Wrap! bracelet uses crystal rondelles and Japanese drops for an easy, stylish wrist wrap. Get the pattern in February/March 2017 Beadwork, or purchase the That’s a Wrap! bracelet kit in the bronze colorway.
We recently spoke with Jann about how she got started with beading, her favorite beadweaving stitch, and how she designed her That’s a Wrap! bracelet.
Beadwork, from the Beginning
Q: How did you get started beading?
A: I grew up doing all types of needlework–cross stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, and even beading on a loom. I continued with cross stitch until the early 1990s, when I came across a picture of a beaded amulet bag and decided I wanted to make one. Since there were no bead stores around at the time, I searched the Internet for beads and patterns and pretty much taught myself. Once I had mastered peyote stitch, I moved on to learning other stitches and techniques.
Q: Where do you get your design ideas? What inspires your creativity?
A: It usually starts with a single element, such as a lampwork bead, or perhaps a certain color of seed bead, or even a bead shape. It may even be something I see, whether from nature or just an item whose shape or colors inspire me. Then when I’m actually working on the design I find it’s often a matter of “What if?” For example, “What if I use this bead instead of that one,” or “What if I do it this way instead of that way?”
I also hang out with a talented group of beaders and find that even if we’re all working on something different, there seems to be a creativity that occurs within the group.
Let the Beads Guide You
Q: Do you plan your designs in advance, or do you just let the creativity flow?
A: It depends on what I’m designing. If I’m working on a design to use for a class, I usually have a technique or stitch in mind. When I’m beading for fun, I’ll play around with an idea and see where it takes me. It’s not unusual for the end result to be different than the original concept.
Q: How do you get out of a creative rut?
A: I find that clearing my work area and doing something different helps to clear my mind when I’m stuck, whether it’s learning a new technique I’ve always wanted to try or working on a jigsaw puzzle.
Q: What’s your favorite stitch or technique, and why?
A: Peyote stitch is my favorite. I like that you can use different variations of the stitch and the results can all be different. For example, with tubular peyote stitch you can bead an amulet bag and enjoy watching the pattern emerge, or you can use the same technique to bezel a rivoli. Change the beads and sizes, and you have a beautiful Cellini spiral.
Patience, Talent, Generosity
Q: What do you enjoy about teaching?
A: I love to share my passion of beading with others. My favorite things are that “Aha” moment a beader gets when they suddenly realize they understand what they’re doing, and when they come back and show me other things they’ve made with a design or technique. I often receive a thank you for my patience, which is the best compliment.
Q: What was the inspiration for your That’s a Wrap! bracelet?
A: I was trying to come up with a right-angle-weave wrap bracelet for a class, and I was inspired by the Thunder Polish crystal rondelles I found at my local bead store. I loved the combination of the metallic seed beads and sparkling crystals. When I was done with the bracelet, I felt like it was still missing something, so I started playing around with different sizes and shapes of beads to embellish the edge. The Japanese drops were exactly what the design needed.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to make Jann’s bracelet design!
Please share your own designs with us, either as submissions for publication in Beadwork magazine (email firstname.lastname@example.org; instructions will be requested if your original design is accepted), or just to share on our website (email me at Lavon.Peters@fwmedia.com).
Get the kit while supplies last!