BEADWORK

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A LITTLE DISCOURSE ON BEADWORK


When most people think about beadwork, they picture the amazing work done by Native Americans in various parts of the Western Hemisphere, and it's true, much of the beadwork done today is by such artists. However, the tradition of working with beads goes way back, farther than even the Egyptian works, back to the time when the first humans started adorning their bodies with things hanging from strings. Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas all have thriving beadwork traditions and continue to innovate and create with these interesting little bits of glass,bone, plastic and metal.

For many of us who are beadworkers, our first impulse to get into the work was basically 'ooooh, shiny!!!'. In that spirit, I'll be offering up some of my work. Let the magpie in all of us break free!

There are many styles and types of beadwork, and I have dabbled in most of them. I do bead embroidery (beads sewn to cloth or some other material), bead loom work (beads used mainly as weft in looming, although I've been experimenting with beaded warps, too), in-hand beading stitches such as peyote, gourd, brick, square and right angle weaves where the beadwork is built up into a sort of fabric and can also be used to cover things like bottles, stethoscope tubing, pens, lighters, etc.

I create many of the patterns you'll see here on beadwork software which helps the artist/crafter interpret images into graphs for the mostly geometric nature of beadwork.