Take Your Beadweaving Beyond The Basics

Sometimes, I think that my favorite part of a beadweaving project isn’t just the final, finished piece of beaded jewelry. It’s the story behind the jewelry that I love: how the design was first conceived, how the artist brought it to life, all the little steps along the way and the little bits of coincidence that pushed it along.

Just like my favorite movies, all the best beadweaving books have great stories behind them, and that includes Kassie Shaw’s new book, Beadweaving Beyond The Basics. Each of the 24 projects is beautiful on the surface, but in my mind, it’s the hours of stitching and the creative inspiration that make them really special.

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I asked Kassie a few questions about her personal creative process so you can learn a little more about the story behind Beadweaving Beyond The Basics:

How do you stay inspired to keep designing new pieces? Do you have a favorite bead, or a favorite color palette, or a favorite technique?

Fortunately, I don’t have much trouble finding inspiration. I have more trouble finding time to bead a fraction of the ideas I have in my head! If I do find myself in a rut, so to speak, I will go back to an unfinished project to see if I can revive it somehow. It will sometimes take as long as 2 or 3 years for a project to reach fruition, but I end up with much better pieces when I don’t try to force myself to finish something when it just isn’t working for me.

metallic-seed-beadsI am obsessed with 3mm pearls and bicones, as well as the Miyuki Duracoat and Toho Permanent Finish seed beads. I used to want so badly to design with galvanized beads and was so disappointed to find that the finish came off the beads before I was even done making the project. Now I can finally use metallic seed beads with abandon and not have to spend time worrying about how they will hold up over time.

Since my new book focuses on right-angle weave variations, I have been using those techniques a lot. I am constantly looking for better ways to do things and faux right-angle weave is one of my favorite ways to save stitching time while still ending up with a piece that looks great and holds up to lots of wear. It’s nice to be able to have beadweaving shortcuts that don’t compromise the quality of the finished product.

How would you define “creativity”, or can you tell me what that concept means to you?

I think everyone has a spark of creativity, even those that haven’t found it yet. For me, being creative means turning off (or at least turning down) the analytical part of my brain that says “you must do it this way!” and not worrying about making mistakes or ending up with something I might not even like.

When you shop for new beads, what do you look for? Are you attracted to certain colors or shapes? Is there a particular type of bead that you just can’t live without?

Quality is the most important thing I look for in beads. I will spend more money to get better materials because in the long run, I want my beadwork to last and to look fabulous while doing so!

My favorite color combo is currently teal and purple. Most of my life I’ve loved green and copper best, but the teal and purple combo is really speaking to me right now. I have to make myself use different colors and try to make each new project in several different colorways if possible. I find it amazing how different pieces can look just by changing the colors.

Cubic-Right-Angle-Weave-Pen

I do like the shaped glass beads and all the fantastic new colors coming out. I bought some firepolished beads recently that are polychromatic so they shift from teal to purple (there’s that obsession again!) depending on the light. I’m excited to be a part of the Starman TrendSetters Team this upcoming year and look forward to seeing more of the great new shapes and colors that they come out with.

We all have busy lives. What one thing would you recommend to help us find a little more time for beading and creating?

I don’t do this often enough myself, but having a project that you can grab and take with you is a great way to sneak in some extra beading throughout the day. How many times are we sitting in a waiting room somewhere with nothing to do? Reading a book is nice, but I like to listen to an audio book and free my eyes and hands up for beading. It’s also a great way to meet other beaders because they will want to come over and see what you are making!

What was the most surprising thing about writing your first book?

I think I surprised myself that I actually had enough in me for an entire book. I always have lots of ideas, but coming up with a cohesive story to tell is another thing entirely! I was worried that I would struggle to fill pages if I focused on something so seemingly limited as a single stitch. It turns out that I had so many ideas I didn’t even have room for them all! And even better, now that the book is done, I’m using that momentum to continue creating more projects using those techniques.

cubic-right-angle-weave-bra

Ready to turn up your creativity with 24 great beading projects that you can wear every day? Get your copy of Kassie Shaw’s Beadweaving Beyond The Basics and discover how to make beadweaving projects that are anything but basic. (And if you’re the type who just can’t wait for the mail to arrive with your print copy, you can also get Beadweaving Beyond The Basics as an eBook, and download it instantly on your favorite digital device!)

Bead Happy,

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Jennifer

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