Kimberly Costello: a Talented Bead Artist with a Whimsical Style

Kimberly Costello is a talented bead artist with a whimsical style. Her “Pop” Goes the Needle beaded needle case project is featured in the October/November 2018 issue of Beadwork. Learn how Kimberly got started beading and discover her unique perspective on creating new beadwork designs.

Learning to Bead

Q: How did you get started beading?
A: Three things happened around the same time that led me to start beading. First, I was looking for a hobby to help me cope with stress. Second, I saw the most beautiful little peyote-stitch beaded amulet bag and I wanted to learn how to make something just like it. And third, my mom had just started beading as a hobby. I found my mom’s new hobby intriguing and decided to try it. I checked out some books from the library, bought some Delica beads, and taught myself how to bead weave. (This was back in 2000, before instructional videos were available on YouTube!)

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Beaded earrings. Photo by Kimberly Costello.

Q: What’s your favorite stitch?
A: I find myself going back to peyote stitch over and over again. Peyote stitch is very versatile (flat, circular, tubular, odd- and even-count). I also like the way peyote stitch looks. I really enjoy working with it.

Inspiration and Creativity

Q: Where do you get your design ideas?
A: Anything and everything inspires me! Whenever something catches my eye, I wonder, “Could I make that into a beaded object?” or “Is that something I could bead around?” Once I decide to bead something, I spend a lot of time thinking of different ways to make it work. I’m always thinking about new beading designs.

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Beaded spools as pencil tops. Photo by Kimberly Costello.

Like many beaders, being out in nature also fuels my creativity. Specifically, I draw a lot of my inspiration from flowers. They have so many incredible colors, patterns, and wondrously varied shapes and designs! I have a notepad app on my phone so that when an idea comes to mind I have a place to put it so I’ll remember it later.

Q: Do you plan your designs in advance, or do you just let the creativity flow?
A: Usually, I have an idea of what I’d like to make and the colors I want to use. I check my notepad app frequently, too. Once I start to bead, I let my imagination run wild. Sometimes the end result turns out pretty differently from my initial idea.

Q: How do you get out of a creative rut?
A: I used to think that all the great bead-woven designs had already been thought of. But then I started questioning this idea, and I realized there have to be designs still waiting to be discovered. I had to change my way of thinking about designs and beadwork. Rather than letting myself believe that trying to come up with new ideas is a waste of time, I decided to take the creative process a bit more seriously and put some real effort into it.

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One of Kimberly’s latest projects. Photo by Kimberly Costello.

One thing that helps me get out of a creative rut is a change of scenery. Going for a long walk or just spending time outside can make a big difference. Most of the time, I’m working on about three or four projects simultaneously. When I get stuck with one project, I pick up one of my other pieces and work on it instead. And last but not least, a trip to the bead store always gets my creative ideas flowing again. I usually end up with ideas for several new projects that I hadn’t planned on — including the beads to make them!

Color Theory

Q: How do you approach the use of color in your designs?
A: Color fascinates me. Any time I find a beautiful color combination, I either photograph it or save the image in a special “Colors I love” album. I have a color wheel that I use frequently, which I’ve found very useful. Studying nature also provides wonderful ideas for stunning color palettes.

I’ve found that adding metal finishes to a colorway (for example, rose gold, copper, or bright silver), as well as adding black and/or white to a design, makes the palette more pleasing to the eye and gives the finished piece a more polished look.

A Serendipitous Design

Q: What was the inspiration for your “Pop” Goes the Needle beaded needle cases?

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“Pop” Goes the Needle beaded needle cases. Photo by George Boe.

A: My inspiration was actually the chrome pop-top! I bought a package of the bottle caps during one of my “getting-out-of-a-rut” shopping trips, with no particular project in mind. I then discovered that the pop-tops fit perfectly on top of my wooden needle-case caps.

My dad is a carpenter, so I spent a lot of time in his workshop learning about wood and how to work with it while growing up. It occurred to me that I could use sandpaper to give my needle cases a pop-bottle shape.

To learn more about Kimberly as a bead artist, and to see her adorable beading space, see “Kimberly Costello’s Beading Studio Is Small but Charming.” For a tutorial on which beading needles might be best for you, see “Stitch Pro: Which Beading Needle Should I Use?”

While they last, get a kit to create a beaded needle case like Kimberly’s “Pop” Goes the Needle design. The Soda Bottle Needle Case Starter Kit includes 2 wooden needle cases, 15 mini bottle caps, and plenty of thread. It comes with the October/November 2018 issue of Beadwork, where you’ll find the pattern and instructions for Kimberly’s design. The kit also includes a blank template so you can create your own needle case label.

Lavon Peters
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine

Featured Image: Kimberly Costello and some of her beadwork. Photos by Kimberly Costello and George Boe.

Find Kimberly’s “Pop” Goes the Needle design in the October/November 2018 issue and subscribe to Beadwork for more fun projects and bead artist profiles!

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