Stitch Pro: How to Design Beadwork with Beaded Components

I was reading a review of Artist of the Month Lisa Kan‘s new book, Bead Metamorphosis that begins, “Either you are a fan of Lisa Kan’s beautiful beadwork, or else there is something seriously wrong with you!” I giggled a bit, but then realized this blogger (Cyndi Lavin) is absolutely right! Lisa Kan is a powerhouse bead artist whose wonderfully romantic bead designs aren’t only fun to make, they are beautiful when worn. Lisa truly deserves the recognition as our featured artist this month!

If you know Lisa Kan’s work, you’ll understand why I bring up her name in a blog about working with beaded components. Lisa works as a beading architect when she designs, and knows how useful it is to employ design elements like beaded ropes, bezeled rivolis, and beaded clasps in her pieces. By using beaded components as building blocks in her designs, Lisa can improvise, redesign, and get as simple or elaborate as she wants to go for her finished project.

This bead component-centric way of designing is really how many of your favorite designers create their projects. If you’re just dipping your toes into bead design waters, I’d highly suggest you do the same! I’ll give you a flavor of how it’s done. I’ll show you the old-school way with a little cutting and pasting (yes, I used actual scissors and glue stick for these rudimentary illustrations, but you could use Photoshop, too–either way is much quicker and easier than stitching these babies up to experiment!):

Let’s start simply with just a bezeled rivoli and a beaded rope:


I copied these elements a bunch of times, then got out my scissors and glue stick to experiment with what kind of pieces I could make.

For this idea, I’m just adding the beaded ropes to each side of the bezeled rivoli. I’ve also sketched in a little fringe idea to see how that might look:

In this one, I’m alternating bezeled rivolis and beaded rope for a pretty necklace or wrapped bracelet idea:

Here I’ve spiraled the rope around a bezeled rivoli, then created the straps with stitched-together bezeled rivolis:

I could sit here all day and design this way! Even if you never end up using the ideas, it’s a great way to exercise your creativity.

Do you design beadwork? If so, how do you start? Are you interested in designing? What are your obstacles? Share with your fellow readers here on Inside Beadwork!

Happy beading-

Jean Cox (Campbell)

Content Strategist, Interweave Bead Group




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