What Can You Learn From Beadwork Magazine's Designers of the Year?

Beadwork magazine chooses some pretty amazing beadweaving artists to feature as their Designers of the Year. These artists teach internationally and are known for both their gorgeous beaded jewelry designs and their innovative uses of traditional off-loom beadweaving stitches. It's hard for me to pick out the projects from Beadwork magazine that I want to make every month, but they always include at least one of the projects from the Designers of the Year because I learn so much from them!

Marcia DeCoster's Ellipse Necklace was a great learning experience for me when it comes to shaping and building three-dimensional right-angle weave beadweaving projects.

One of the original Designers of the Year, Marcia DeCoster's Ellipse necklace was one of the first projects featured in Beadwork magazine as a Designer of the Year project. When it came out in the February/March 2009 issue of Beadwork, I was in the middle of trying to crank out inventory for my upcoming farmer's markets and craft shows. I loved the look of this piece so much that I had to take some time for myself and make it. The graceful curves were so easy to make using Marcia's instructions, and after finishing the pendant I was inspired to try making more three-dimensional pieces of right-angle weave. (I'm also thankful to Marcia for introducing me to Wildfire beading thread during the time we were roomies at Bead Fest Philadelphia. I don't know what I would do without my Wildfire these days!)

Leslie Frazier's Autumn Dreams was a great way to learn how to shape beadwork using herringbone stitch.

Leslie Frazier is one of the new Designers of the Year for 2012, and I had a chance to meet Leslie at Bead Fest the same year that I met Marcia. At the Meet the Teachers reception, I stole away from my table long enough to buy one of Leslie's Autumn Dreams kits in my favorite earth tone colors. Well, making this project was a huge learning experience for me in how to shape herringbone stitch. Since herringbone stitch is one of my favorite go-to beading stitches, I was thrilled to suddenly have learned all these new options for shaping and creating with it! (I also learned a fast and fabulous way to start a twisted herringbone rope.) Because of her innovative uses of herringbone stitch, I'm especially excited to see what Leslie has in store for us this coming year.

Diane Fitzgerald's Shaped Beadwork is a complete reference for creating three-dimensional beadwork that really jumps out at you!

Diane Fitzgerald is another beadweaving artist included in the 2012 lineup of Designers of the Year. Diane is a true pioneer of off-loom beadweaving, and she has discovered beads in every corner of the world and brought those beads and experiences home to share with millions of us who love to stitch with those tiny seed beads. Of all the beading books written by Diane Fitzgerald, Shaped Beadwork is one of my all-time favorites. Diane's techniques for creating three-dimensional shapes just go to show that it's not hard to create beadweaving projects that literally jump out at you!

If you're missing any past issues of Beadwork magazine that feature any of the amazing Designers of the Year, now is your chance to fill in the gaps and complete your collection! All back issues of Beadwork are now on sale, including print and digital editions. Take advantage of the sale and complete your collection of Beadwork magazine today! 

Do you have a favorite project from one of the Designers of the Year? Do you have any suggestions for future Designers of the Year? Leave a comment (or two!) and share your thoughts here on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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