Three Ways To Incorporate Native American Beadwork Traditions Into Your Beadwork

There's no doubt that for many of us, beading is a spiritual practice. For the Native Americans of North America, beads and jewelry were a particularly important part of their spiritual beliefs, and with the introduction of seed beads and smaller beads used to add embellishment to ritual objects in the early 1800s, the practice of beading itself took on a spiritual significance.

Because I've always felt that beading is a very important part of my spiritual well-being, I try to incorporate some of these Native American beadwork traditions into my own beading.

Desert Tapestry Bracelet by Phyllis Dintenfass

Beading when you're happy. I remember reading an article in a very old issue of Beadwork magazine about a Native American beadwork and basket artist who said that she tries not to bead when she's angry or sad, because she doesn't want to work her negative emotions into her beadwork. I try to watch comedies and happy movies while I'm beading, especially if I need to bead when I'm feeling stressed out or sad. The combination of the happy movie and my beadwork usually does the trick to snap me out of my funk.

Serengeti Earrings by Phyllis Dintenfass

Include a spirit bead. One of the better-known Native American beadwork traditions is the inclusion of a spirit bead somewhere in your beadwork. A spirit bead is a reminder that nothing that is created by human hands can be perfect. (It can also be referred to as a "mistake".) Native American beadwork artists will intentionally include a bead that is the wrong color somewhere in a piece of beadwork as a way to honor the Great Spirit and express humility. I'm pretty sure that most of us have included a spirit bead in our beadwork at one time or another!

Rainforest Necklace by Terri Wlaschin

Make your beadwork a prayer. Traditionally, Native American beadwork artists include prayer as part of their beading rituals. And for many of us, beading is the perfect form of mindful meditation. It's easy to make your time spent doing beadwork into a spiritual retreat. Light some incense or a candle, put on some relaxing or uplifting music, and remember to stop and take a deep breath every now and then. Remind yourself that beading is a journey, not a destination!

Now all you need is a few new beading projects to keep you moving down the path to greater spirituality in your beading journey, right? And right now, all beading projects in the Beading Daily Shop are on sale, through July 13, 2012. Stock up on some new beading projects, find new ideas and new inspirations, and best of all, save some cash so you can buy more beads! Check out all the great beading projects in the Beading Daily Shop and get in touch with your spiritual side by practicing some of these Native American beadwork traditions while you bead!

Do you have a special ritual for your beading sessions? Do you listen to any special music? Maybe you're like me, and you like to watch movies while you bead. I live to watch movies because this way, when the movie is over, I have to get up and change the disc so that I don't sit for too long. Leave a comment and tell us how you like to make the perfect environment for happy beading!

Bead Happy,


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