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!