What Every Beader Needs: Ideas to Inspire Your Beadwork

Aug 4, 2010
Jean Campbell

Last week, as I took things off the walls of one place to move into the place where I live now, I realized how important it is to me to be surrounded by beautiful bits of inspiration. I like to live with things that not only give me visual joy, but also goad me to make new beaded jewelry designs and entice me to experiment with color and shape. Being visually inspired is something that all "artistes" require. But, you know what? This really makes just as much sense for us beaders, since we, too, need shape and color ideas just as much as those folk who push around clay or paint.

Here are some beader-specific ideas about how to get visually inspired in your space every single day:

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Fill your space with artwork made by artisans. Having handcrafted items surrounding you, whether they're beaded or not, is a great reminder that you are part of a world-wide community of creative people. My favorite type of artwork for beady inspiration is textiles, mola from Panama, beaded wall hanging, milagro-studded heart, and beaded Pakistani bike seat cover shown here.

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Bike seat cover

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 Beaded wall hanging

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Milagro heart

      Panamanian mola
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Printed matter

Coffee-table books and postcards of beadwork or other beautiful things are a great way to get pumped up about creating. Keep your books close by so you can page through them often, and consider placing your postcards in a pretty basket so you can have them close at hand and flip through them when you need a little visual boost. Another idea is to hang a calendar like the new Beadwork: A Year in Beads nearby so you'll have a blast of new inspiration every month.


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Some jewelry is so sensational that it really shouldn't be tucked away in the drawer all the time. Free it from its confines! One great idea is to add one or more tacks to the front of a backboard of a pretty frame. Just hang your beadwork from the tack when you're not wearing it so you can see it all the time. And if you really want to show off your stuff, place it on a pedestal and display it proudly on the shelf, as I did here in my studio with Festivus, a piece I made for the December/January 2009 issue of Beadwork.


Your favorite calendar pages can be framed so you can see spectacular beauty year round as in BeadWorks.  

Do you surround yourself with beauty? How do you do it? What do you live with that inspires you visually every time you look at it? Please get the discussion going on Beading Daily today.


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CathiT wrote
on Aug 4, 2010 2:20 PM

Jean, your words today were significant for me.  I thought I was alone in keeping my bead desk surrounded with beautful things.   When my grand-girlies come to visit they look and touch everything on my desk.  There is something for every curiosity.  The draping ivy is in a simple rectangular planter that is used as a sort of room divider.  Scattered in the soil, beads, colorful rocks and stones, small trinkets, incense, etc.  Placed in a corner, a "special" jar I found, filled with buttons of all kinds, another jar filled with charms is topped by a pillar candle to keep the dust out.  Wrapped around the jar, memory wire with all kinds of beads. the walls surrounding my desk have photos, magazine clippings of jewelry that I love, pushpins holding various works in progress.  A special brass cannister that holds threads and needles.  A small hand painted Mexican jewelry box is filled with a wadded up ball of masking tape.  When I am finished beading for the day I just dab this tape-ball around my desk to pick up discarded threads.  I take such joy from handling these objects of beauty.

I used to think I was something of a nut, placing such importance on these things, but the time I spend almost daily handling these things, re-arranging them, and adding more and more as I find little oddities and magical items really inspires me.

Your words are right on!  We artistes need these visuals to keep the creative juices flowing.  I am happy to learn that I am in good company with you Jean!

Cathi Tessier


JanineB@7 wrote
on Aug 10, 2010 2:44 PM

I surround myself with rocks...lots of rocks from the three Amethyst Cathedrals in my living room to my hutch in the dining room full of my favorite specimens. I have a water fountain in my dining room that is full of wonderful pieces of rocks. I guess that I get a lot of my inspiration from rocks...