Readers Share: Amazing Bead Embroidery!

May 22, 2012

bead-embroidery

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!

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!
bead-embroidery 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.
bead-embroidery 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.
bead-embroidery 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"!
bead-embroidery 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-embroidery 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.
bead-embroidery 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!
bead-embroidery 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!

bead-embroidery

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!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

SherryM@31 wrote
on May 23, 2012 6:35 AM

I loved all the pieces but who did the piece at the bottom in aqua, tea and orange?  It's beautiful.

on May 23, 2012 7:52 AM

The bead embroidered cuff bracelet, called Happy-Go-Lucky Cuff, was designed by Kelly Angeley. You can download the individual project here:

www.interweavestore.com/.../Happy-Go-Lucky-Cuff.html

Eliz K wrote
on May 23, 2012 7:54 AM

would also like to know more about the 'artist' and info of last bracelet shown..thanks!

Eliz K wrote
on May 23, 2012 8:12 AM

thanks Vanabeads my request crossed in email before yours was posted..such a wonderful resource this site is..much appreciation..

proberts33 wrote
on May 23, 2012 8:31 AM

Jen, nice article, but you neglected to give credit to Kelly Angeley for the last piece, the Happy Go Lucky Cuff,  for which by the way, she sells a kit Also, the instructions for that bracelet are in one of your back issues!!

I don't know how you think of something so interesting to write about each day, but you do, and I enjoy your daily blog! Keep up the good work!

Pam Roberts (BEF/FB)

proberts33 wrote
on May 23, 2012 8:34 AM

ALso, who did the beautiful necklace at the top of the page? You??? Lets hear moreabout it!

Pam

dayadevi wrote
on May 23, 2012 9:29 AM

the chakra necklace at the top of the article, WHO DID THAT? Magnificent work!!!

Please tell us more about the necklace and the cuff bracelet at the bottom of the article.  thank you

Luzetta wrote
on May 23, 2012 2:21 PM

I love the work of the seed beads, but is afraid to jump into a project. How did you get yourself started and what type of project did you start off with.  I know how to do thread embroidery, would following one of those patterns help me to venture out to free hand work.

on May 23, 2012 5:53 PM

the pelican is my favorite  I would like to know more about bead embordiary

all the pieces were beautiful

arye wrote
on May 24, 2012 12:12 AM

It is the most exciting piece of work.

jdcreative wrote
on Jul 14, 2012 11:07 PM

Hello, LOVE the pieces here and this whole site:)

Would anyone be able to recommend a "Bead Embroidery for Dummies" type book? I mean... I don't even know what to buy!  

How do you get a strong enough needle to go thru stiff fabric but small enough for little bead holes?  Should you ever use glue or double sided tape?

I do many other art forms - clay, silk painting, mixed media, mosaic, etc. but this is one I can't get my head around or find a good book so I can teach myself!! :)

Thank you,

Dawn in SC

Waiting to be enlightened

JanA@8 wrote
on Dec 12, 2012 1:27 PM

Dawn,

I can recommend Sherry Serafini's book Sensational Bead Embroidery to you, it has a great technique section, projects, and templates that can be adapted for your own designs. Start with something small like a pendant, I'm sure you will be hooked in no time!