Who's Afraid of Shaped Beadwork? Not Me!
Beaded broad collars started popping up everywhere about the time that I started learning how to do bead-weaving, but I waited a few years until I really felt comfortable with the stitches before I started experimenting with shaping my beadwork. I was just the slightest bit intimidated at the idea of making all sorts of complicated increases and decreases, something that had vexed me while I was learning how to knit and crochet from my mother when I was a kid.
But, wow! Creating shaped bead-weaving doesn't necessarily mean you have to make all those increases and decreases, although, arguably, knowing how to do that is a very important bead-weaving skill. No, you can change the shape of most bead-weaving by just adjusting your tension a little bit, or changing up the size and types of beads that you use from row to row. These types of bead-weaving techniques allow you to make graceful curves so that your beaded collars drape elegantly when worn.
Now, creating flat geometric shapes in bead-weaving is relatively easy. After all, I think most of us learned how to do that brick stitch decrease to create triangles and diamonds when we first started learning how to bead. (My collection of beaded earrings from the early days contains exactly two shapes of beaded earrings: diamonds and triangles!) Even circles can be done without too much hassle, right?
My obsession with cabochons led me to add a whole slew of beautifully shaped handmade ceramic cabochons to my collection, and of course, I had to figure out how to create a beaded bezel for shaped cabochons so that I could use them in my bead-weaving projects. After a lot of trial and a lot more error, I finally figured out how to combine bead-weaving stitches to make a snug, secure beaded bezel for these cabochons. And it really wasn't any more difficult than making a regular peyote stitch bezel for my cabochons!
Bead artists these days are branching out into more shapes using more bead-weaving techniques. Take Beadwork magazine Designer of the Year Jean Power, for example. Jean's bead-weaving has led her to start designing with beautiful geometric shapes, worked in both flat and three-dimensional styles. If you've never made anything other than one of those brick stitch triangles, you have nothing to lose by trying some of Jean's fun and funky bead-weaving techniques to make beautiful shaped beadwork!
If you liked Jean's first DVD all about beaded triangles, you'll love her latest DVD, Bead Stitching Pentagons with Jean Power. Jean takes you step-by-step with clear, up-close shots through all of her favorite techniques for creating amazing beaded pentagons using your favorite bead-weaving stitches. I loved being able to follow along as Jean worked her magic with the seed beads, and then could pause the video while I got caught up.
You don't need to know any special bead-weaving skills to learn these techniques and projects, either. Do you know peyote stitch? Good. Do you know herringbone stitch? Great! You're ready to start beading with Jean Power!
Pre-order your copy of Bead Stitching Pentagons with Jean Power today, or if you just can't wait another second to start beading, you can download it right onto your desktop or laptop computer and start bead-weaving tonight!
Do you have tips for making shaped beadwork? Share them in the comments here on the Beading Daily blog!