18 Luxurious Beaded Jewelry Designs with a Vintage Flair
Kelly Wiese’s beadwork is delicate and romantic. She loves using size 15° seed beads and crystals to create beaded jewelry designs with a vintage flair. In her latest Interweave book, Exotic Adornments, Kelly presents 18 gorgeous bracelet, necklace, earring, and ring designs.
Bead Artist Q&A with Kelly Wiese
We recently asked Kelly about her new book, including how she got started beading, how she uses color in her designs, and what inspired this book. Learn more about Kelly here, then get your own copy of Exotic Adornments (available in print or digital format) and create one of Kelly’s luxurious designs.
Q: How did you get started beading?
A: I saw a pair of beaded earrings in a boutique that I fell in love with. They were brick-stitch earrings with long, beautiful fringe, and I wanted to learn how to make something similar. Around that time I met my good friend Eleanor; she was a beader and offered to teach me. After that, I couldn’t get enough. Luckily for me, that was in the late 1990s and the beading craze was just starting to take off.
Q: How did you develop your unique style?
A: My style evolved over time. When I started designing, I just made what I liked — as it turned out, I liked tiny seed beads and delicate vintage-looking designs. I also love sparkle and anything with fringe, so those elements turn up a lot in my designs, too. I basically make what I want to wear; I’m just happy that my style appeals to other people!
Q: What inspires your creativity?
A: I’m inspired by antique jewelry, luxurious fabrics, nature — many things! I sometimes have to make myself focus because I get distracted by things that catch my eye. I always have multiple design projects going at once. Deadlines are also a great inspiration for me because I love to procrastinate.
Q: Do you plan your designs in advance, or do you just let the creativity flow?
A: I usually start with a general idea and then I let the creativity flow. I often veer off course from my original idea as I work with the beads, so I just go where the beads lead me. I’m not very structured in how I approach designs.
Q: How do you get out of a creative rut?
A: I look at antique jewelry on estate or auction websites, or I pull out my box of beaded bits and pieces from past projects that I keep for just such a thing, and I start playing with them, looking for new combinations, etc.
Q: How do you approach the use of color in your designs?
A: I only use colors that I really like. I prefer jewel tones, such as purple, fuchsia, and teal. I also love metallics, so I use them a lot. If I don’t like the colors I’m working with, then I don’t usually like the design. Color can make all the difference! My color combinations tend to be more subtle, with a pop of color here or there. I stay away from bright primary colors as a general rule.
Q: What was the inspiration for this book?
A: Mostly it was Bollywood dancers. I had visions of rich jewel tones, metallics, and lots and lots of sparkle. I wanted to design pieces that were lush and exotic.
For more of Kelly’s designs, visit her website, The Bead Parlor.
Get more beaded designs by Kelly today in our shop!