Express Your Personality with Beads

Apr 29, 2009

Fully Expressing Yourself with Beads

Queen Elizabeth I . . . the color "cornflower" . . . Yoda . . . What do they have in common? Apparently, according to the online personality quizzes I’ve been taking lately that tell me things like which famous figure, color, and Star Wars character I am, it’s me!  I know they’re not exactly scientific, but they are big fun when I need a little work break. 

A gal could get just as much information about her personality by taking a look at what’s in her jewelry box. They read like an autobiography, don’t they? Because we make our own jewelry we automatically create different looks for different moods; pieces that reflect various aspects of who we are. I’m thinking about my jewelry stash.  It includes both over-the-top crystal-encrusted pieces as well as post-apocalyptic style elements. I’ve actually found myself wearing both styles at once quite a bit lately, but the combination seems perfectly natural. I guess that happens when you’ve got a fierce royal Englishwoman and a sci-fi shaman consulting your ensembles?

Stephanie Burnham’s 100 Beaded Jewelry Designs is like looking inside someone else’s eclectic jewelry box. It’s filled with unique, mostly stitched designs. It’s a wonder that they all came from the same person—the designs are all different, offering everything from sleek strappy ensembles to ruffly floral-inspired ones. If you’re one of those who likes to bead your necklace straps, this book reads as a reference manual for just that—the cover alone shows 5 different techniques. I highly recommend it as an idea book for any off-loom beadworker.

Changing Your Jewelry’s Personality

Expressing facets of your personality is at the base of why we wear jewelry, right? And creating pieces to reflect those different qualities is what we do. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, though, so try switching up just one or two of these design areas when you make your next piece so you can fully express yourself:

How many times have you thought, “That’s not my color”? But to really display all the aspects of your personality, you need to break out of your comfort zone. Do a little soul-searching. You may consider yourself, say, a brown and blue person now, but do you remember that loud fuchsia suit you wore in 1983? Or the rainbow-dyed T from 1973? Those colors were part of you then, and they are still part of you now. Bring them back to your color palette of beads, even if you just use them as accent colors—you may be surprised at how much richer your work looks.

There are a multitude of necklace shapes to choose from (collar, princess, matinee, lariat, rope, bib) as well as bracelet styles (single, multistrand, charm, cuff). But do you always wear the same shape? For your next project, try a shape that’s missing from your jewelry box.

If you’re a seed bead person, I encourage you to purchase some chunky resin or wood beads. Crystals person? Try some semiprecious stones. Incorporate these “new” materials into your next piece and you’ll most likely come out with a completely unique look that conveys yet another part of who you are. 

Clasps are an important part of jewelry construction, but they are often overlooked as a design element. For your next piece, use a beautiful clasp as the focus of your entire necklace or bracelet. The challenge will bring a thoroughly creative element to your work, and that’s one aspect of who you are that no one can question!

Do you have some ideas about sharing your personality through your beadwork? Add them to the website

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jane6 wrote
on Apr 29, 2009 6:31 AM
Since I started Knitting and Crocheting many years ago before beading, I tend to include some form of the Yarn Arts into my Beading Designs. My latest effort is a Beaded Nack Band which can dress up a T-Shirt or any other Shirt when wearing a pair of Jeans. Check out my latest Blog at janesjewels,com. Just Jane
Claire@54 wrote
on Apr 29, 2009 7:38 AM
Please, please, please can you tell me how Queen Jean made her head dress. My daughter is having a Tudor history day at school in June and something like this would just finish off her costume.
on Apr 29, 2009 7:44 AM
Jean, you rule. Leslie, editor in chief, Step by Step Beads, Creative Jewelry and Bead Star
AmyA@26 wrote
on Apr 29, 2009 8:00 AM
Hahahaha - re: personality quizzes - Jean has been spending to much time on FaceBook - or CrackBook as I like to think of it! I love the Queen Jean pic - you are so fun, Jean :)
CathleenI wrote
on Apr 29, 2009 11:33 AM
I dressed up as Princess of Quite A Lot for Holloween. took a Dress and pined on ribbons, pins made, and necklesses draped on that I made. I looked lovely and fun.
Lisa Arrow wrote
on Apr 29, 2009 12:00 PM
I love looking for pendants or charms that express my personality. I have a love of rock ' roll, so am always on the look-out for focal pieces that use wings, flaming hearts, fleur de lis, and evil eyes. I'm also starting to make my own by sandwiching images and ephemera between glass or encasing them in glaze. I also love animals, especially horses and rabbits, so I look for cute pieces that let me showcase that interest whenever I can. The horse pieces also sell well here in California, where I live.
on Apr 29, 2009 1:27 PM
Queen Jean: you always did love playing dress up as a kid! I'm glad that hasn't changed. Your beading sister Mary (Queen of Scots?)
on Apr 29, 2009 2:20 PM
Hey! There's my sister, Mary Queen of Scots chiming in! A wonderful beader in her own right. Claire-my headdress in that photo is just a necklace draped over my extreme hairdo (I slicked my hair over huge rollers). Then I put a bit of tulle on with a bobbypin. Easy peasy! Good luck with the Tudor costume.
LauraS@6 wrote
on Apr 29, 2009 4:46 PM
Are you kidding me? I had no idea before I took up beading that I was the Queen of Bling! These days, there cannot be too many seed beads, Swarovski Crystals, and Pearls. As I said to my boyfriend last weekend when he was shocked that I suddenly showed up wearing animal print camisoles, sometimes it's good to go outside of the box!
Claire@54 wrote
on May 8, 2009 5:59 AM
Thank you Jean for telling me your secret. I'll let you know how the costume turns out.