Thursday, July 6, 2017


Beta Beaders

One of the things I have been working on is developing instructions and kits for my designs to sell. I taught in a local bead shop for several years and am a teacher in my other life, so I know the first step is to craft good instructions. Looking at the creative process from this angle - how to teach your design to someone else - is an interesting exercise. What can I assume people will know when they come to my design? How detailed should my instructions be? One wants to hit a happy medium between a half-page list and a 1gig file.

So I decided to recruit some Beta Beaders – my friend Connie was my guinea pig and she roped in two other willing innocents, Alicia and Jesse. Actually they were not novices – one of the things that led me to talk to Connie is that we are both stitchers and both Alicia and Jesse were too. So that would be the first assumption – don’t tackle a bead embroidery design if you have no stitching background – otherwise those tiny needles and misbehaving beads will be even more of an aggravation.

We got together one afternoon out on Connie’s lovely enclosed porch and had a grand time. The idea was for them to work their way through my instructions – I supplied them with a kit – and give me a critique. I tried not to guide them as the idea was for them to pretend they were doing this at home on their own.  Their advice and comments were right on target and I’m grateful. Doing the project as a group was also more fun – lots of opportunities for comparing and commenting and just plain beady horsing around.

And, no surprise, some things I never gave a thought to stumped them, other things I thought would stump them didn’t. For example, they had no difficulty stitching the crescent beads, I’m hoping because the advice I gave in my instructions was helpful. On the other hand, I neglected to make clear that when you pick up an O bead plus a seed bead, you are supposed to stitch back through the center of the O bead, not to one side of it – leaving the thread showing. I confess, that is so standard with me I never thought about it – but that’s the view from inside the beading universe, not elsewhere.

                             Beading on the Porch in the Summertime

The project was a piece of bead embroidery using a brass filigree that I painted with Vintaj Patinas. I call it my Filigree Art Nouveau Pin (it can also be made into a pendant) due to its shape. I came up with three colorways and here they are:


                                                    “Dry Martini” 

                                                      “Hollyhock”

                                                       “Harvest”

My thanks to you all, it was a fun afternoon and I love my Beta Beaders!

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