I love combining bits of beadweaving with small bits of stringing or wirework. Check out my Lazy-B Ranch (ladder stitch and stringing) or Love Birds Necklace (daisy chain and wirework) as examples. Lynn Davy's The Big Apple necklace on the cover of the August/September issue of Beadwork is another good example. She created the leaves out of peyote stitch and added some wireworked dangles and chain. Or take a look at the Carnelian bracelet in the new book, Create Jewelry: Stones by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett. Jamie added square stitched rings to a strung bracelet, adding texture and interest to the piece.
Why am I fascinated by this? I think it's my "opposites attract" design philosophy–I love combining things that don't seem to go together, including adding bits of stringing or wirework to my beadweaving projects. Even in my straightforward stringing projects, I combine opposites–rough stones with smooth ones, silver with gold, and expensive crystals with bargain-basement beads. If all this contrast is too much for you, just be glad I never went into the matchmaking business!
Instructor Tip: Combining "Big" Beads and Seed Beads
I asked Bead Fest instructor Phyllis Dintenfass if she had any tips about combining beadweaving and stringing. She said, "My son Nathan often sends me lampwork beads for special occasions and of course I cannot resist buying some of my own at bead shows. In addition, I have a life-long love of 'big' beads, so combining those beads with my own seed bead work is a frequent challenge for me.
I apply the same principles I used during the decades when stringing ethnic beads was my focus. In order to feature the 'special' beads, surround them with beads that complement or contrast: change size, shapes, and colors, vary the types of beads you string next to each other, and consider the length and weight of the finished piece. In order to enhance the larger beads, I now choose from the many colors of seed beads that are available and weave beaded beads with them to incorporate into the necklace. Both my Empire Beads and Carnival Beads lend themselves to this, as they can be made in different sizes and lengths, using a variety of embellishment beads and easily strung along with any other beads." Learn more about Phyllis and her upcoming Bead Fest Philadelphia classes.
Ideas from Readers
- Feature a beadwoven pendant on a simple chain or a strand of beads
- String beaded beads on a simple strung necklace
- Use wire inside a beadwoven tube for support
- Add fringe to a simple strung bracelet
- Create beadwoven charms or pendants
- Use wireworking to add a clasp or earring findings to a beadwoven piece
- View the new Reader Gallery for lots of beautiful inspiration like this freeform peyote bracelet with simple strung embellishment by Paula Huckabay.
Making Wire Jewelry: 6 Free Wire Designs from Beading Daily
Create 6 stunning wire jewelry projects (2 wire necklaces, a wire bracelet, 2 pairs of wire earrings, and a wire ring) with this free eBook that contains step by step wire jewelry instructions for each project. Jewelry designs range in difficulty from beginner to intermediate and use a variety of wire work techniques, including spirals, coiling, wirewrapping, hammering, and twisting wire. Download Making Wire Jewelry: 6 Free Wire Designs from Beading Daily
Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.