Best Beadwork Advice: Pithy Tips from the Pros

Jul 11, 2013

In the August/September issue of Beadwork, freshly arrived on newsstands last week, we asked our project contributors to tell us the best beadwork advice they've been given and why. These designers replied with some truly inspiring tips that can help you

  • get out of a creative slump
  • overcome fear and insecurity about your designs
  • avoid making foundational mistakes that will be hard to fix later
  • loosen up and be open to the outcome of your creative flow
  • and more

Check out their tips here, along with a photo showing each designer's August/September project.

Captured Stone Necklace Sandie Bachand ~An early mentor taught me the joys of fearless beading. Every creation is an adventure. Ditch any expectations and be open to all possibilities. “Mistakes” bring about creative results. It’s art, so you can never make a mistake! Be generous when commenting on other designers’ beadwork. Great advice that has positively shaped my bead life!
Yafa Petal Earrings Penny Dixon ~Everyone possesses creativity. Creativity isn’t a talent but a way of operating. Remembering this helps me to value and nurture my creativity. Two equally important processes in unleashing creativity are working hard and doing nothing at all. It’s a paradox that, for me, is often hard to reconcile. Stepping away from a beading project is like trying to resist Godiva chocolate! But it’s only when my mind is completely at rest that the ideas start to flow.
Siren's Medallion Barbara Falkowitz ~The advice I keep in my mind when thinking about a project is to look at other-than-prescribed ways to use components and beads. This simple little twist of perception opens a new avenue to creativity. It feels very freeing to be able to use beads, findings, and found objects to create new looks in my designs.
Sunset Spiral Necklace Wendy Lueder ~Use the best-quality materials you can afford, and when you find beads, pearls, whatever, that you are drawn to, buy them even if you don’t have a project in mind in which to incorporate them. Later you’ll be so very glad you have them to work with.
Four Corners Earrings Michelle McEnroe ~Don’t assume you need to start a beadwork project with a knot. When the thread path repeats through the beginning beads, the thread locks into place (circular peyote and components), while a knot may cause the beadwork to warp. Without the knot, the tension becomes more evenly spread out.
The Upper Crust Bracelet Megan Milliken ~Don’t be afraid of making mistakes! I’ve found this to be so true. In any creative process, experimenting without pressuring yourself to get it perfect the first time leaves you open to discovering wonderful new ideas. Even your mistakes can spark your creativity.
Heart-to-Heart Bracelet Janet Palumbo ~Beadwork advice can come from the strangest places. I frequently apply lessons I learned from my training as a musician to beading. And This Old House taught me that having the right tool is half the job! Whether it’s an actual tool or finding the right size or shape of bead to accomplish a design goal, the right tools support my creativity.
Chic Chevron Collar Maria Rypan ~While I was learning bead embroidery and agonizing about what to stitch next and how, Sherry Serafini encouraged me to just go ahead, stitch down a bead, any bead, and the rest will flow. This worked for my focal creation—the foreground—but I’m stuck for the background. Should replay Sherri’s words again. . . .
Succulent Garden Bracelet Yasmin Sarfati ~The best creative advice I’ve gotten is from my customers, and it is basically to be daring with my color choices and not be safe with my gold colors (which I love). When I do try mixing colors that I would not regularly use, the result is fabulous.

How about you? Share your own best advice in the comments section below. Your fellow beaders will appreciate your insights.

~Linda Harty, associate editor, Beadwork


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