I've been interested in things such as yoga and meditation
ever since I took a stress management class in college. (I tend to be wound
rather tightly at times!) For years, I used writing as my primary practice when
I was looking to do something meditative, but I always had some kind of craft
project sitting around, too-knitting, crochet, jewelry making, or handmade
papers and books.
When I started learning how to do beadweaving during my last
two years of college, I felt like I had suddenly found the ideal craft for my
stress-management needs. And when I got my copy of Carol Huber Cypher's Mastering Beadwork, I was absolutely
tickled to see her referring to beadweaving as "mindful meditation" -that's
exactly what it is for me!
And why not use beadweaving as meditation? Beads have been
used for thousands of years to focus our intentions and our attention when
praying. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and followers of many other religions
have used beads as symbols of faith in their daily devotions. (There are even a
number of us in the beading community who attend beadweaving workshops on
Sundays and refer to it as "Bead Church"!) If there is one thing that most
religions can find in common, it's their use of beads as a way to make their
Each off-loom beadweaving stitch has its own rhythm that
feels like a meditation or a chant. Breathe in, stitch a bead, breathe out.
That's probably why I turned to my beadweaving when I got home from the office
after a hard day. Not only was it soothing to handle those shiny, beautiful
little beads, but being able to sit down and focus on something else for an
hour was the best way for me to set aside my problems and relax.
Learning how to do peyote stitch was really the first time I
recognized the connection between beadweaving and meditation. As I started each
new piece of peyote stitch, I repeated a little mantra in my head: "String one,
skip one, pass through this one." And it worked! I still find myself repeating
that little phrase when I start a piece of peyote stitch, and I have other
little sayings that I use for right-angle weave, herringbone stitch, and square
stitch. They remind me of the little mantras we chant at the end of yoga class
when we're all feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Beadweaving also has a transformative quality to it that
just seems like magic to me. It's like spinning straw into gold when you take a
pile of seed beads and some beading thread and turn them into a stunning piece
of beaded jewelry. So now I'm relaxed and happy, AND I have a knockout piece of
jewelry to show off!
Are you ready to become a beadweaving master? Carol Huber
Cypher's Mastering Beadwork covers
fourteen essential off-loom beadweaving techniques, plus bead crochet basics.
Whether you are a seasoned beadweaving artist or someone who is just starting
to explore all that beadweaving has to offer, you'll want to have a copy of Mastering Beadwork handy for both
reference and inspiration!
Make sure you take a few minutes to read our new Beadweaving
Topic Page here on Beading Daily,
too. You'll find great information about basic beadweaving materials and tools,
handy tips and techniques, ideas for beadweaving projects, and a little
background about each of your favorite off-loom beadweaving stitches.
How did you get started with beadweaving? What about
bead-weaving keeps you coming back for more? Share your stories and your
thoughts by leaving a comment!
Filed under: Peyote stitch, Bead Crochet, Beaded Beads, Bead Making, Herringbone Stitch, How To Bead, Seed Bead Patterns, Bead-weaving, Beading Tools, Bead Crafts, Beaded Jewelry Design, Beads, Jewelry Making, Beading Daily