Saturday, February 28, 2009

Inspiration Tip: Reuse and Recycle

There are so many types of beadwork, and so many different kinds of beaders, that no two workbenches, desks or beading tables look the same. Of all the tools that one can find in our special beading zones, nothing is more unique to the artist as their inspiration book.

Some of us like to keep a notebook to jot down ideas and sketches. These are great to keep next to the bed for those middle-of-the night inspirations. You never know when you’ll come up with the perfect way to use that special art bead you’ve been saving.

Another great way to save and store ideas is with a scrapbook. It’s easy to clip and paste photos, printed paper and other tid-bits that may one day become the basis for an amazing piece of beadwork.

The best thing about an inspiration scrapbook is that it can rescue paper from being thrown out. Before any magazines or flyers end up in the recycling bin, I always clip out any pictures or color schemes that I like and paste them into my scrapbook.


Making your own inspiration book is easy. All you need is a photo album or notebook and some glue. To keep my inspiration book organized, I used markers to color-code the pages. This way, I can easily flip to a section full of color ideas when I need help deciding how to use new beads.



Fashion magazines are a wonderful source for clippings. There’s usually at least a handful of interesting jewelry designs within the pages, as well as great photos of clothes and fabrics for color and texture ideas. Because fashion mags are on top of the trends, they can help inspire designs that fit current styles.

The possibilities don’t end with fashion magazines either. Anything with good quality photos is worth perusing for design ideas. Landscapes, flowers, wildlife and culture articles are often full of colorful and interesting photos that can help get the creative juices flowing.

So, the next time you see a magazine about to be sent off to the paper-mill, rescue it! You never know when you’ll find your next great inspiration.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Pillow Talk

The Inspiration:

When I moved into my first apartment, I was working in a department store, and usually spent most of my paychecks on home d├ęcor items. One day a shipment of rose-embroidered pillows came into the store, and I grabbed one of every color. Of all the frivolous purchases I made during that time, the pillows are the only things that have survived every move since.

Although I’ve lived in many apartments over the years, and have had a lot of different furniture, it wasn’t until last year that the pillows truly matched the other items in my living room. The new pale blue couch is a great background for my cushion collection.


I really love the coppery orange-brown against the different shades of blue. Since I just happened to have some beads to match, I decided to capture the color combination with some beadwork.

The Beads:

The coppery bugle beads are such a rich color, but it’s a difficult shade to match. Aside from black, there are few other beads that would pair well against that vibrant metal. Of all the seed beads in my stash, this foil-lined blue mixture is the only thing close to a perfect contrast.



The Beadwork:

I decided to showcase the bugle beads in a laddered herringbone bracelet, one of my favorite techniques. The blue beads are essentially random, though while stitching I tried to make sure that there was little or no repetition in the rows. Rather than scoop up beads at random, I usually found myself selecting the 'right' shade of blue in each stitch.



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Inspired Beader: The Lone Beader

The Lone Beader is a self-taught bead embroidery artist from Massachusetts. She loves to create extremely dimensional relief art by stitching glass seed beads to felt.

Many of her beaded paintings are inspired by pop culture, dogs, classic cars, and rock 'n' roll music.

Her stunning use of color and texture bring already-gorgeous ideas to life with seed beads.

The interesting marriage of embroidery and sculpture makes
The Lone Beader’s multi-dimensional beadwork truly inspiring.

Inspirational Beading had a chance to discuss this motivated artwork with The Lone Beader herself. Here’s what she had to say:



Inspirational Beading: How did you first discover beading?

The Lone Beader: My sister and I used to make beaded necklaces and bracelets quite often when we were kids. But, I didn't re-discover beading until many years later when I happened to browse through a bead shop in Boston. Next thing I knew, I was buying beads & beading magazines every chance I got. I began to teach myself bead weaving techniques until one day when I fell in love with bead embroidery.

IB: What is your favorite style or color of seed bead?

TLB: I like to use seed beads for most of my work, and the smaller size the better! I use mostly size 15 and size 11 seed beads, but I also love size 13 charlottes.



IB: What gives you the most inspiration?

TLB: Lately, I am inspired by classic cars and all different types of vehicles, as well as popular culture, dogs, and nature.

IB: What is your favorite resource for ideas or techniques?

TLB: I tend to look to other artists' work (outside of my medium) for ideas, but for beading techniques, I sometimes refer to my personal library of beading books. My new favorite inspirational beading book is Masters: Beadweaving published by Lark Books.

IB: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

The Lone Beader: I hope to inspire fellow beaders to try something they never thought they could accomplish. I also hope to encourage anyone who is unfamiliar with the possibilities of beads to stop and look at this medium from a different perspective.

Then, I ask "What should I bead next?"



You can learn more about The Lone Beader and her work by checking in with her on Facebook. To purchase beaded artwork and accessories, visit her unique shop on Etsy. You can also request custom designs such as pet portraits.

Many of her designs and inspirations are featured on The Lone Beader blog Adventures in Bead Embroidery.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Unicorns are Forever

The Inspiration:

February is a romantic time of year, especially if you’re the type of person that enjoys making things a little more special when a holiday occasion calls for it. With Cupid hovering around, one can’t help but turn to magical, mystical thoughts.

Personally, I’m not much for roses or chocolate - especially if it’s not fair trade chocolate. I don’t expect a fancy dinner or expensive jewelry. Who would give a beader jewelry anyway? Hearts are alright once in awhile, but I like my romance to be a little more abstract.

One of my favorite romantic films happens to be “The Last Unicorn” with Jeff Bridges and Mia Farrow. A bit cheesy? Perhaps. But it was a much loved cartoon many years ago, and was recently celebrated with a 25th Anniversary Edition DVD. And what better way is there to celebrate love than curling up under a blanket with your kids and watching one of your favorite cartoon movies?

Green Eyes

"Green Eyes" by Dale Ziemianski

The Beads:

When I think of unicorns, I think of a pure white horse with a golden horn. Some may argue that a unicorn’s horn is ivory, but the wonderful thing about fantasy and mythology is that it’s a matter of interpretation. My romantic side also associates the colors purple and violet with mythical horses.

To create a piece in tribute to unicorns, I chose gold foil-lined beads for their shimmer, white Ceylon for purity, and a lavender iris mix for a touch of magic.


The Beadwork:

The most natural choice to create a unicorn horn is, of course, spiral rope. With a single white bead at the base of each stitch, the gold beads spiral into infinity in this continuous rope necklace. I used the lavender mix in the core for a splash of color in the background.

Unicorn Spiral Necklace



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