I'm sure I've told the story before, about how the first time I attempted a piece of bead embroidery I wound up chucking it in a drawer for two years before I had the courage to pick it up and try it again. Well, it's been a very long time since my first attempts at bead embroidery, and I can even say that bead embroidery provided me with an income one summer when I sold my finished bead embroidered pendants at a weekly farmer's market in upstate New York.
Bead embroidery is a beading technique that I find myself returning to over and over again. I don't know why, but I suspect it's because I love the way bead embroidery makes me feel like I'm painting with my seed beads. Ironically, I'm not very good at either painting or traditional thread embroidery. But throw in a handful of beads, and I can create a piece of beautiful beaded jewelry using bead embroidery!
I'm always experimenting with my bead embroidery, trying to test its limits and see what else I can make it do for my beading projects. Of course, I love to make jewelry with bead embroidery, but when I asked for submission from readers of their best bead embroidery work, I was completely bowled over by all the gorgeous artwork done in bead embroidery!
|Joanne Brown is an Australian beader who creates one-of-a-kind bead embroidered jewelry. Her bead embroidery neckpiece, Before the Storm, showcases a beautiful set of dichroic glass cabochons by using seed beads in contrasting colors. Joanne says she loves bead embroidery because it's like painting with beads. Joanne feels just as comfortable planning out each of her bead embroidery pieces as she does when she starts with no plan in mind. She loves the freedom of allowing the beads to tell her where to go!|
|Stacey Gibson's Sun Becomes Flower is a brilliant combination of bead embroidery and off-loom beadweaving techniques. Stacey says she loves bead embroidery because it allows her to sew, sculpt, and paint with seed beads, all within the same piece of beadwork. She's currently very excited by her newest bead embroidery adventure, learning traditional Iroquois bead embroidery techniques.|
|Using bead embroidery make jewelry like beaded necklaces allows for a certain freedom in design and expression, and Mandi Ainsworth's bib necklace is the perfect example of how you can create unusual and unique shapes with your bead embroidered jewelry. For Mandi, every piece of bead embroidery is an adventure, and she loves bead embroidery for the freedom it allows her to create with seed beads.|
|Marge Beebe's Underwater neckpiece is certainly a beautiful piece of bead embroidered jewelry, but what I love about it is how she hasn't covered the entire surface of the fabric with beads. By allowing some of the bead embroidery medium to peek through, you can make mixed-media jewelry that uses hand-dyed fabrics and materials. Marge loves bead embroidery because there really are no "rules"!|
|This piece of bead embroidered artwork by artist Eleanor Pigman immediately grabbed my attention. Eleanor has really created a beaded painting here, and her subject, the pelican, holds special memories for me of spending time with my mother while she photographed the pelicans that populate Galveston Island. Eleanor finds bead embroidery a very satisfying medium in which to work. She loves the tranquil nature of bead embroidery, as well as the challenge of finding just the right beads and objects to incorporate into her bead embroidered paintings.|
|Bead artist Jeannie Bench shared several of her bead embroidery pieces that have been accepted into juried exhibitions, but this one just caught my eye. The combination of both three-dimensional and two-dimensional bead embroidery are perfect examples of just how versatile bead embroidery techniques are when it comes to creating beaded art.|
|And speaking of mixed media jewelry…check out this fabulous vintage-style bead embroidered cuff bracelet by Amanda Dick! Instead of relying on just seed beads to create this piece of bead embroidery, Amanda used the technique to attach fabric roses, pearls, and crystals to a piece of fabric, gave it a beaded picot edge, and finished it with a ribbon clasp. Using basic bead embroidery techniques to make lush jewelry like this is a great way to master both bead embroidery stitches and mixed media jewelry!|
|Last, but not least, this wonderful piece of bead embroidery art by Shoshana Coodin Bernstein is a clever mixture of bead embroidery techniques and found objects. Shoshana loves bead embroidery for its rich history throughout the cultures of the world, as well as how it allows her to create intricate works of art like this. The colors and textures of her bead embroidery create a perfect mixed media beaded painting!|
This is the part where you decide that you're ready to get busy beading with bead embroidery! And just in time, but only for a limited time, all back issues of Beadwork magazine are on sale. Whether you're a bead embroidery master or just starting out with this amazing and versatile beading technique, you'll find instructions from expert artists as well as creative bead embroidery projects to get you stitching in no time. Fill in the gaps in your collection of Beadwork magazine and get your bead embroidery mojo going!
Do you have a bead embroidery question? Share it here by leaving a comment!