Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beading on the wild side!

There's beading and then there's beading! Most of us start out learning the basics of stringing. Others start with bead weaving, loom, wire or metal work. There's nothing wrong with sticking with these options, but wouldn't it be fun to be a little more adventurous from time to time?
Traditional peyote stitch (also known as the gourd stitch), is an off-loom weaving technique, and may be worked with either an even or odd number of beads per row. The free form version of this stitch is very organic, as it bends and even breaks many of the rules of traditionsl peyote stitch. I fell in love with free form peyote many years ago, but did not even attempt it until I stumbled onto Karen Williams (Skunk Hills Studio) "Freeform Peyote Beading" group. I started my first project after purchasing Karen's book "Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading". I was pleased when my first attempt turned into a glorious bracelet! Although it was easier than I anticipated, I didn't end up working on another project until I decided to play with beaded beads. Five beads and one workshop later, I'm still addicted to the process! An interesting side note is that I won the grand prize, in Karen's book launch giveaway! A fabulous cabochon, plus enough beads to make my own free form necklace. Guess who hasn't even started the necklace yet(and how did she know that I love blues?)?
Intuitive bead embroidery is a rather untamed version of traditional bead embroidery. It's like colouring outside of the lines, and I wouldn't have it any other way! I picked up tips by participating in Robin Atkins' Bead Journal Project, but then made it my own when I started including non-traditional objects in my work. The stitches are similar, but it's how you use them that really counts! Another author that you might like to take a look at is Diane Hyde. Although I'm not personally attracted to her work, it's original and certainly contains food for thought! Especially her use of doll heads!
Years ago, I purchased a small bag of red paper beads that were made in Africa. I loved them so much, that they've never been used! That spurred me into researching the process, attempting my own version, and then developing a workshop. Paper beads can be made in all shapes and sizes, and they're great for recyling all sorts of bits and pieces! Why don't you give them a try?
Don't be afraid to take a walk on the "wild side". A little creative play is always good for the soul!

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