Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Little History

One big motive for starting this blog is that I have reached a point where I feel I have something worth saying and showing about beadwork. I began beading before the digital age, and subscribed to Bead and Button within the first few months of its appearing on the shelves in the mid-90s (back then it was found in places like Walden Books and B. Dalton). I taught myself out of its pages and by scouring bookstores and craft sales for other resources.

When the web came along I did bead swaps on Seed Bead Frenzy, my first experience with the wonderful online beading community, and found a local beading group through a listserv (South Central PA Beaders and didn't we have ourselves some great bead-ins).  Now I'm sticking my big toe into what is, for me anyway, the next new thing - writing a blog and sharing my work and my ideas on the web. I have gotten so much from my fellow beadwrights - from the magazines to bootleg Russian patterns (yes, I do confess to downloading some) to preordering the latest book by a favorite bead artist.

Some topics I hope to talk about in a semi-regular way:

Beading mashups. I learned a great deal from making other designers' projects and am always looking at how I can adapt and apply the techniques I learn.

Design challenges.  These might be challenges in figuring out a color palette, dealing with odd-sized beads or other bumps in the creative road that turned out well (or ill).

Memory Lane.  I’ve been beading long enough for that path to stretch quite a distance. 

Inspired By… Featuring images that got me creating and the result.

Today - a design challenge. I love peacock motifs and fell for an art bead that featured them several years ago at a bead show. Sad to say, I do not remember who made it (if anyone who sees this has an idea, I'd love to hear from you). 

Most of us with a bead stash are familiar with the ritual of taking out our collection of art beads, gazing fondly at them…and putting them away again.  I have a drawer (OK, drawers) full of these and it is always an achievement when I figure out a way to create a piece of jewelry around them.  I really wanted to wear this bead and on my ramblings through my files I found a pattern that gave me the answer.

Here's the original design, and you can find the pattern here.

I call it the Satellite Pendant because it looks a bit like a UFO. It is basically two fancy bead caps stitched together, but it struck me that my bead would fit very well between the two caps.

But I also needed to anchor the big bead to each cap somehow, so I used size 15 seed beads to join the two halves to each other with the big bead sandwiched between. This also would stabilize the peacock bead - it's a big bead - so it wouldn't wobble around.

Here's the result:

I wore this later to a bead show and one of the exhibitors identified the artist and said "she's here and you need to show her that."  So I did and the artist gave me the ultimate compliment of snapping a photo, saying she really liked what I had done with her bead.  This is the "ahhh" in beading, when you get it right.


  1. Welcome the bead blog world! Have fun sharing your work. I love how you showcased your art bead.

  2. beautiful beaded pieces.That is a talent that i just do as my eyes are not so good with those tiny beads these days.

  3. Alice, thank you for looking and commenting. My eyes are still hanging in there, so far.

    Heather, I have been a fan of the Art Bead Scene for many years, thanks for looking and the encouragement. It really made my day.

  4. Wow! Such lovely little works of art!

    1. Thank you so much for your good words! Sorry I didn't reply sooner, still getting the hang of this, but I will be more attentive in future.

  5. I've always loved that necklace and bead, Kay. It is interesting to read about how you got started beading. You were a talented beader from the beginning, my friend!

    1. Thank you, thank you, I really appreciate this especially coming from you.