Bead Embroidery: Tips, Techniques, and Inspiration from Mary Tafoya

Join Mary Tafoya and learn her tips, techniques, and steps for creating colorful bead embroidery designs!
SKU: EP11499

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Take a closer look at Mary Tafoya's award-winning bead embroidery, as she dissects her favorite tricks and techniques for attaching beads to fabric. She'll share with you her most prized tips, gleaned from over 20 years of practice as a beadwork artist. Walk along with Mary through the design and creation of challenging and colorful projects, and take home with you a bevy of new ideas to enhance your own work!
Showcasing detailed close ups of her bead embroidered wall pieces, jewelry and artful objects, Mary will describe how to create various line styles, filled and textured areas, and mixed media effects. Mary will explain how everything was constructed, and will share some of her planning and design tips. You'll see several ways to create layers and dimension in bead embroidery, tricks for blending colors gradually or quickly, and how to stabilize your pieces for long wear, and more. There will even be time for questions at the end!

Mary's classes are always fun and informative. She enjoys sharing her beading successes with students, as well as her missteps. You'll get expert information, a detailed look at one artist's bead embroidery techniques, and color and design tricks you can use in all of your beading projects.


  • How to create a bead embroidered "sandwich," layered with surfaces, stabilizers, backings, hardware, and seed beads.
  • Tips for sewing beads and other stitch-able materials into colorful lines and fills on fabric.
  • Techniques for stabilizing your outlines, working from the center, and couching.
  • How to create color blends and transitions, and how to give your colors enough room to shine.
  • Tips for creating levels by using dimensional bead embroidery techniques from around the world.
  • How to handle "scary" materials — learn tricks to securely fasten unusual found objects to your bead embroidery.
  • Unique finishing techniques for converting bead embroidery into neck-pieces, mixed media wall hangings, and jewelry.
  • And so much more!


  • Beginning beaders who want an overview of bead embroidery techniques.
  • Intermediate beaders who want to explore and expand their skills.
  • Experienced beaders and those who already do bead embroidery — you'll learn new tricks, techniques, materials, and sources of inspiration.
  • Fiber artists who want to explore the possibilities of adding beads to their surface designs
  • Beaders who want to enhance their skills by learning with a master beadwork artist.
  • Bead instructors and other artsy teachers who want to add to their teaching toolkit
  • Anyone who wants to be inspired by colorful beads and handwork!

Mary Tafoya teaches classes in mixed media surface embellishment, beadwork, and especially bead embroidery. She also lectures and facilitates workshops in color theory for bead and fiber artists. Previous clients include ArtStreet at Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, Beadfest, Boulder Handweavers Guild, Harwood Art Center, New Mexico Bead Society, OFFCenter Community Arts Project, San Diego Bead Society, and other groups.

Mary's artwork and articles have been featured in many books and magazines, including Belle Armoire, Somerset Studio, Beadwork, and Stringing. Her beadwork, jewelry and art have been juried into numerous local, regional and national exhibitions, and her bead embroidery has been displayed at the Albuquerque Museum, Phippen Museum (Prescott, AZ), Yeiser Art Center (Paducah, KY), and other venues, including the Dairy Barn (Athens, OH), where she won Best of Show at Bead International in 2004.

Mary worked in commercial printing before becoming a community college graphic arts instructor. She earned her B.A. in Fine Arts and her M.A. in Educational Leadership in Community Organizations. Mary lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her family, where she works as an instructional designer.

Visit Mary's blog at and her vintage supply shop at

Additional Info
Additional Info
SKU EP11499
Product Type Video Download
Author/Designer Mary Tafoya
Technique Bead Embroidery
Customer Reviews (6)
Oh how disappointed I am. I thought this would be about different bead embroidery stitches. I felt like I was in beading kinder garden. What I saw I have been doing for years. I learned nothing new! It is my own fault. When I read the negative reviews I should have known better. It was $19.00 down the drain. Review by Carole (Posted on 12/14/2015)
I LOVED this webinar presentation- a best ever of the many many I've attended.
I have done 3 online bead embroidery workshops with others including a multi-session, multi-week classes, have the dvds and even an old vhs, and as many books on bead embroidery as I can find (lots)... and of all these, Mary Tafoya's webinar was the most inspiring and the most clear and the most enabling and CREATIVE of them all, bar none. I also have attended many many webinars on other subjects (mostly but not all textile related in some way as I am a lifelong professional designer/textile artist) and this as one of the top 3 of all these dozens of webinars. Very glad it is available for replay so I can (and will) watch it again and again. Great webinar! Review by Anita (Posted on 5/27/2015)
Very Good
Lots of good information, possibly not for beginners, but I'll refer back to this often I think. Mostly slides, and she had a bit of difficulty with her pointer software but I'm no expert at computers either. The point is her beadwork and the slides were very inspirational and she gave some tips that I hadn't heard - and her beadwork is absolutely beautiful, it was a treat to look at it and listen to her describe different aspects of how it was done. Good job, not for the Hands On Color Theory class later this month! Review by Bev (Posted on 5/7/2015)
As usual, Mary Tafoya knows her stuff!

The inspiration she shares from her designs is fabulous and the knowledge she has from years of experience beading is shared freely in this webinar.
Review by Beki (Posted on 12/31/2014)
Interesting, clear
I have attended many scientific webinars for work and this was my first art webinar. I wasn't terribly disappointed, as I did not have very high expectations to start with and I wasn't sure what to expect from an art webinar. Mary's work is quite inspiring and I will refer back to the webinar for my own projects in the future. She provided good information with regards to grounds or substrates for bead embroidery. It would have been nice to see some bead embroidery in action, but including live video with a webinar can be problematic for attendees with a relatively slow connection. Perhaps some prerecorded short videos would have been helpful. One of the great benefits of attending a live webinar is being able to ask questions of the presenter and Mary did answer all the questions very well. Attendees did not have very many questions, a good indicator that she gave a clear and interesting presentation. I would not rank this webinar 5 star, as I think it could be improved significantly with more slides, but I found the webinar useful. I would attend other webinars, but it is rare for me to be home during normal working hours. I would be much more likely to attend if some of the webinars were offered either in the evening (EST) or weekends for full-time working folks. Review by Glenna (Posted on 12/21/2014)
Not worth the money
I really hate to be negative, but I thought this was a total waste of money. I got absolutely nothing out of it, and just showing slides or photos was pretty boring. Sorry, but that's how I felt Review by Caryn (Posted on 12/7/2014)
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