Your Favorite Bead For Bead-weaving, And Why It's Important

Sep 23, 2013

Beadwork by Kelly Angeley
The best thing about bead weaving is, of course, the beads! And if you're serious about having fun with your bead-weaving and designing your own beaded jewelry designs, it's a good idea to think about creating a consistent body of work, just like any other artist. Being able to show a unified set of bead-weaving designs tells galleries and publishers that you have mastered a specific set of jewelry-making skills, and that you have a firm understanding of your own personal style. It sounds strange, but being able to successfully communicate your own artistic ideas through beads is a pretty big deal!

So, how do you discover your own personal style, and your favorite beads for expressing yourself? Get your beads out and play, of course! Don't forget that bead-weaving should be as much play as it is "work", and if you approach your bead-weaving projects with a light heart and a positive attitude, you better believe that those qualities will show through in your finished pieces.

Need some ideas for how to use your beads to help you develop as an artist? Take a new look at these three types of beads:

What do your choices in seed beads say about you?
Seed beads. Well, yeah! Seed beads are the "bread and butter" of any bead-weaving design. And these days, there is certainly no shortage of seed beads for your bead-weaving pleasures and projects. You can find cut seed beads, cylinder-shaped seed beads, triangle beads, cube beads, and seed beads in sizes that range from seemingly microscopic to seed beads the size of a [whatever]. There are sparkly seed beads, matte seed beads, seed beads with a gold-washed finish, and seed beads that glow in the dark.

Do you prefer matte seed beads over opaque? Use this to your advantage when you're creating a new bead-weaving design. Stick with your favorite finishes, colors, and sizes of seed beads to make your designs stand out.

Czech glass beads can be used to add a lot of drama to a piece of bead-weaving.
Czech glass beads. Next to seed beads, I love a good Czech glass bead. The versatility and affordability of these little glass gems makes them an excellent choice for designing. You can create a particularly striking body of work using Czech glass daggers, spikes, or even gumdrop beads in your bead-weaving projects. The challenge in using a popular bead shape like some of these is how to make them sing in your own distinct artistic voice.

Crystal beads. Using crystal beads in your bead-weaving projects is a great way to create eye-popping bead-weaving that really gets noticed. Depending on your particular style and sensibilities, you can create lush beadwork that uses hundreds and hundreds of crystal beads, or just use one or two really spectacular crystal stones as the focal points of your designs.

Keep in mind that you should experiment with new types of beads when they become available, but make sure that you stay true to your own wonderful style of bead-weaving when you incorporate them into your work! Don't pass up on an opportunity to experiment with any of the new shaped or two-holed beads that are popping up in bead shops everywhere, and see how they can add something new and fresh to your existing body of work.

If you'd like to see the perfect example of an artist with a consistent, unique body of work, take a look at the bead-weaving and bead embroidery of Kelly Angeley. Her book, Explorations in Beadweaving, is a superb collection of tutorials and instructions that will give you a in-depth look at how she uses bead-weaving and bead embroidery to tell her story. If you love Czech glass beads and unusual jewelry-making components that tell a personal tale, you will love the projects in Explorations in Beadweaving. Grab your copy of Explorations in Beadweaving now and learn how to master bead-weaving from a bead-weaving master!

Do you have a particular bead or color palette that you use to set your work apart? How did you discover it? How do you use it? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and let's talk about our signature styles of bead-weaving and what makes us special!

Bead Happy,


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on Sep 23, 2013 6:41 AM

Hello, this blog is right on time. I've been attracted to seed bead since the early ninties. I've explored just about every type of stitching, and am working on trying every technique of the artist I admirer. My issue is what is my style. I sell my work at fairs, but  I keep trying to find that consistancy in designs I've done. I've even recorded myself talking to myself about it. Should it be color or should I pick a stitch? For now I've settled on a color, because I can use any stitch and choose a color. The problem for me is that I like all kinds of colors, because I wear lots of colors. I don't like just black ,white or gray. Then what will be my style? I like the spiral, so I've planned to try incorporating the spiral in most of what I create from now on. Help

SusanJ@63 wrote
on Sep 23, 2013 8:40 AM

I am addicted to Delica's size 11 mostly but love 15 and 8's. My signature seems to be flowers, My garden in the spring is my inspiration, with clematis, azaleas, lilys, and annuals.. Most of my designs are flowers with a mixture of deco, wolf, Native American.. Just figured out how to warp a loom and am now doing loom patterns.

Most of my patterns can be found up on ETSY, Bead Coop and Bead Patterns Boutiques.

Just look for SuJens Jewelry

I LOVE beading and have been doing it since 2009

Linda@952 wrote
on Sep 23, 2013 12:25 PM

I started bead weaving while in my teens, making simple daisy chain and peyote rings and selling them to my classmates.  I did not pick them up again till my early 30's, adding them to many cross stitch projects.  Along the way, my mother started working with beads, and taught me how to make a peyote lily.  Shortly afterwards, she passed away, leaving me her 100+ lbs of seed beads.  Not being one to waste her little treasures, the torch was passed.  These same treasures helped me work through my grief, and along the way, I learned first RAW, then spiral rope, really-familiarized myself with peyote and brick stitches, then kumihimo and Crystal Clay.  I have been able to add to her treasures, my favorite being Swarovski - who can say no to the lure of crystals, or to Unicornes uniqueness, I have fused Dichroic glass pendants, but now I must go, I have fallen victim once again - I have the ability to create Faux Druzy's, using Crystal Clay and Crystal Splash.  Who knows where the path will lead me next?  ...... But I look forward to expanding my mind once again.  Thanks Mom!

Mary R. Beat wrote
on Sep 23, 2013 4:11 PM

I find my zen when I am bead embroidering!  I put my creations on wearables (store purchased or created at home).  I make tops (lids) to all types of containers as gifts.  On and on.  Such beauty (those little shiny beads) create such contentment.  

MRB Fiber Concoctions

Triche wrote
on Sep 28, 2013 6:06 PM

Why no mention of gemstones? I love to incorporate them into bead-woven pieces!