When do you stop calling yourself "Beginner?"

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on Apr 8, 2009 11:15 AM

 I was recently at a a meeting of the Southeastern PA Bead Society, a congenial and talented bunch of beaders, wire workers and polymer artists! To my surprise, many still considered themselves beginners though they had been maikng jewelry for three or more years.

When do stop thinking of yourself as a beginner? Is it a technique thing, and if so, which techniques bridge into intermediate? I am SO curious!


Leslie, editor in chief, Step by Step Beads, Creative Jewelry and Bead Star



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Cat_P wrote
on Apr 8, 2009 11:59 AM

 This is an interesting question Leslie!

 I still consider myself a beginner after a little over 2 years. In those 2 years though I have had very little time for beading and have yet to perfect anything I do therefor I still consider myself a beginner.

I have done mostly stringing but have worked with chain and a little wirework. Mostly basic wirework, wrapped links, beaded links but I have done a little of the more intermediate. I did a complete necklace all with wire worked pieces.

I don't feel I have reached perfection in anything I have done. I continue to learn things everyday and until I feel I have perfected any particular technique whatever it may be, I will feel like a beginner.

I guess that doesn't exactly answer your question but that's my take on it.

Cat     Blog  Artfire  Etsy

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on Apr 8, 2009 12:21 PM

 Hi Cat!

You did give me an answer--when you say "perfected."

You're talking about two things, actually: craft and knowledge. Making something that is perfectly executed is about craft. But you don't need to be advanced, necessarily. A conscientious beginner can follow directions and be neat, tidy, and create something that is refined and well made.

Answer two is about technique, knowing what to do as well as how to do it. Comparing it to cooking (which we do ALOT around here) it means not needing to follow a recipe, perhaps. 

But there's the knowledge part. It's about experience in DOING something. YOu can't know something well unless you experience it. And the more you experience something, the better you know it. You know what I'm talking about?


Now, where does complexity come in, or the amount of time it takes to make something?


editor Step by Step Beads



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on Apr 8, 2009 1:40 PM

Starting at the other end, an 'expert' not only makes the difficult seem simple, but also makes the impossible only look difficult.

I  am still a beginner at loomwork, quite advanced with squarestitch, almost that far with brickstitch.  I haven't matched Apache Girl at peyote/gourd tubes but I'm not a beginner, still a rank beginner at herringbone,  adequate at flat gourd/peyote, . . .

I believe you move out of the beginner stage when you feel comfortable in that area.  It doesn't happen all at once in all areas.  How's that for stirring up muddy waters?

If I decide to go on with saraguro, I could easily leave beginner status behind fairly rapidly, but I'm a butterfly of beading.

Stan B.

Stan B.

Lakeland, MN


Ignorance is curable; Stupidity has neither cure nor excuse.

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on Apr 8, 2009 1:51 PM

 Thanks, Stan. "Comfort" is an interesting way to approach it.

BTW, my next Doodlebeads may be on herringbone, so stay tuned.

Being a bead butterfly...what a fun concept! I may just have to write about it...



ed. Step by Step Beads



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Kokopelli wrote
on Apr 9, 2009 12:57 AM

That's a really interesting question, Leslie, and I thought about that, because so many new people joined BD and say hello on the forums, who consider themselves beginners. I'd consider myself an intermediate to advanced beader, as I'm beading for many years now. But to some techniques I am a beginner, because I never tried them before, e.g. spiral rope in which I finished my first necklace yesterday. But I think there is no special technique that bridges into intermediate.

But no matter if beginner or advanced beader, there is always something new to learn on the forums and that's what's really exciting. You never stop learning!

I like Stan's comparison with a butterfly in beading. Seen like that I am a butterfly in crafting!


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Nemeton wrote
on Apr 9, 2009 1:42 AM

That's a really interesting question and I don't think I have an answer either! I think it has to come from you - it's a question of when your personal beading confidence has reached a level at which you feel you know what you're doing (at least some of the time!) and can move away from needing step-by-step instructions for every bead and start creating your own designs and making your own experiments. I've been beading for well over 30 years now and still feel like a beginner sometimes - there's still so much to learn!



My website: http://lynndavybeadwork.co.uk/



on Apr 9, 2009 2:07 AM

I think I have to agree with Dagmar-she's got it just about right and that basically applies to me too.  I'd consider myself advanced for off-loom and stringing, intermediate at loomwork, but still a relative beginner at things like wirework and chain maille.  I haven't even touched on polymer, PMC, lampworking and metalsmithing yet, but the interest is there.

I'm continually amazed at all the things people create, and find myself saying "wish I though of that" quite often!


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Sheila H wrote
on Apr 9, 2009 6:58 AM

I do simple stringing and I have been doing that for almost 2 years now. I am fairly confident in the aspects of that, but I am continually learning new things. So I would still think of myself as a beginner. I don't think that I have advanced to an intermediate level yet. 

I agree that it has to do with confidence in yourself and your work. It may be easier for someone else to clarify our level, kind of like the whole " What is your style" question. It may also do with being self taught vs class instructions, if that makes any sense what so ever!


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Billy Z wrote
on Apr 9, 2009 6:24 PM

 That question is hard to answer. I stopped using beginner when I sold my first piece. I use the term novice now. I have some skills that are novice like beadweaving, but I am advanced in others like knotting. I'd say novice to intermediate in wirework depending on what I am doing. I'm good at some wirework and not so good at others, ya know.

 Billy ;o) 

 I yam wut I yam and dats all wut I yam. ~Popeye~

Dragonfly Jewelry Designs - ArtFire Artisan Studio


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MaxsMum wrote
on Apr 10, 2009 8:44 PM

What a facinating question!

I think I will stop calling myself a beginner when I stop tearing out, taking apart or hiding more than I complete. But I noticed that, when in a group of bead artists, all of whom are so gifted, and some even published, they all pashawed when I told them that their work intimidates many of us. We'll never be as spectacular at our love as them. We just have to learn to live with that and keep trying anyway. And I hope that the artists I mentioned, secretly tear out some, too!

Thanks for being so thought provoking, Vicki


Pax (Peace)

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SCB1 wrote
on Apr 11, 2009 6:21 AM

That truely is a question that one needs to really think about.

I have been making jewelry for about 5 years now. I started as many by stringing and then jumped to peyote, St.Petersburg, herringbone, spiral and a few others not to mention some wire art work. Even though I am comfortable with what I do I still only consider myself as a "new beader".  I really don't break it down to beginner of expert because I feel you always can be taught something new. If you keep an open mind as to your ablity you are open and willing to learn more.  Once you consider yourself an expert your mind closes up to what more there is to learn from others.  I believe that if someone says they are an expert I believe they have all the answers to all questions and that in itself is a big responsability.

Happy Beading!!


Small-town USA. 




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apachegirl wrote
on Apr 24, 2009 10:03 PM

 Well, I dunno...

My grandmother could do her loomwork with two needles, which meant that she was counting from both sides of the loom for her designs. She never used graph paper, never even put pen or pencil or crayon to paper. Everything was in her head. With one needle, she could string about three feet of beads, then with the other needle and thread, weave it all to create very intricate designs with color combinations that were dazzling and no mistakes. Now that's a professional!! I'm not as good as Grandma but my loomwork got pretty darn close, and I'm finally starting to develop my own style with my tubular peyote work -- for things like beaded bridles (for horses), and the sash ends that men use in the gourd dance at pow-wows, and my most recent creation -- the beaded bottle that is now in my avatar image. I guess until I can approach my peyote stitch with the same confidence as my Grandma, I'll just consider myself an "ammie" (in the rodeo world, the ammies are the amateurs).


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on Apr 27, 2009 11:36 AM

 I still take things apart and often undo more than I do, or so it seems. Yet, I consider myself very adept at almost every stitch. Plus, if I make things to sell, they must be perfect.



on Apr 28, 2009 4:13 AM

Wow, what a good idea for loom weaving-I understand exactly what your grandmother was doing, but it would take some practice to get it right for sure.  Huge props to ANYONE who can do intricate designs like that with no printed pattern.  I've done a few, but they were pretty simple, repeating designs.  Anything remotely complicated and I sketch it first or my pea brain won't remember it!


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