Friday, June 24, 2011

Favorite Bead and Button Projects

Favorite Issues of Bead and Button Magazine

I recently participated in a forum discussion about the ethics of beading, and whether or not it’s okay to sell copies of designs made from magazine tutorials, and it really got me thinking. Not about ethics, though. The short answer to that question is no - selling copied designs is inappropriate. I would like to go into more detail on ethics for beaders here on Inspirational Beading, but I’ve been inspired. I found myself recalling all of the projects I tried and tested when I was starting out, and how much I’ve gained from the generous designers who share their ideas and methods with us.

So today, I thought it would be fun to look back at my favorite jewelry tutorials from the pages of Bead & Button. In my mind’s eye, I saw a list of about five or six projects. It wasn’t until I started going through my bookshelf that I realized just how many of these tutorials have helped me to become the beader I am today. The instruction and inspiration is priceless.

It’s interesting to look back at the designs that I learned from, and compare them to what I’m making now. Some of them are so different you’d never know there was any connection.

I’m going to list these projects chronologically, with as many references as I can. If your local library or literacy center carries back issues of Bead & Button, you might be able to track some of them down in their original form.

Bead & Button, August 2006

Bargello Necklace by Rebecca Peapples

Issue #74, page 69
Creative Beading Vol. 2page 134

Bargello Necklace by Rebecca Peapples
Mimic Fine Needlework with Peyote Stitch

I absolutely loved the look of this necklace with it’s zig zag pattern. I had already gained plenty of practice with peyote stitch, and I thought this would be a fun way to experiment with different approaches to the technique. I created several versions of the necklace, with my own pattern variations and accents, and learned a lot about peyote stitch. I still have most of my creations, and wear them often in the spring and fall.

Fragrant Beaded Beads by Deni Whaley

Issue #74, page 73
Creative Beading Vol. 2, page 165

Fragrant Beaded Beads by Deni Whaley
Add a Hint of Fragrance to Beaded Beads

Like a lot of beaders, beaded beads and sculptural beadwork were high on my learning checklist. This project was exactly what I needed to get started. The rolled felt base is easy and fun to embellish. I skipped the fragrance, and made a few variations to size and pattern. It was one of my first experiments with changing a tutorial to suit my own taste and skill.

Shell Donut Necklace by Julia Gerlach

Issue #74, page 116

Multistrand Paua Necklace by Julia Gerlach
Shell Donuts Accent a Multistrand Necklace

Bead & Button inspired a lot of my bead and material preferences early on, including a love of donuts. I don’t get to use them often, because I so rarely find them in materials that I’m willing to use. When I first saw this project, I was desperate to try the technique but didn’t have any donuts. So, I used circular peyote to make my own, and stitched a single strand, no clasp version. The idea evolved and grew, and now I’m sharing the technique with my circle peyote pendant tutorial.

Bead & Button, April 2007

Captured Cuff by Barbara Klann

Issue #78, page 72
Creative Beading Vol. 3page 200

Captured Cuff by Barbara Klann
Capture a Refined Cuff in Pearl or Crystal Netting

Even though I now read beading magazines mostly for inspiration - and blogging ideas - I am still most drawn to very simple beading projects. This cuff bracelet was incredibly alluring to me as a new beader. It’s bold and dramatic, but completely doable. I made two of my own, and learned that it’s okay to use lots and lots of beads for one project. I still have to remind myself once in awhile, though.

St. Petersburg Chain Lariat by Hatsumi Oshitani

Issue #78, page 75

St. Petersburg Lariat and Pendant by Hatsumi Oshitani
Stitch a St. Petersburg Chain to Make a Feathery Lariat or Necklace

It took a long time to work up the courage to try this project, and I’m so glad that I finally did. St. Petersburg chain is one of my all time favorite techniques, and I use it often. This was also my first ever lariat project, and I’m quite fond of those, too. I think this tutorial has been one of the most valuable and inspiring that I’ve ever attempted and mastered.

Bead & Button, June 2007

Defined Drape Scarf by Perie Brown

Issue #79, page 84
Creative Beading Vol. 3, page 162

Defined Drape by Perie Brown
Drape Defines a Herringbone Scarf

Although I only attempted this project twice, and it helped to cement my fear of bugles, I still love everything about it. It also inspired my first big necklace - a netted scarf with starfish.

Bead & Button, August 2007

Meandering River Bracelet by Karla Schafer

Issue #80, page 46

Meandering River of Beads by Karla Schafer
Lively Rows of Bubbling Beads

I loved the look of this bracelet, and it really bugged me that I couldn’t make my own, because I didn’t have access to the two-hole spacers used to create the curving shape. So I made my own, and the wavy wedges bracelet was born.

Stripes Forever Bracelet by Phyllis Dintenfass

Issue #80, page 110
Creative Beading Vol. 3, page 104

Stripes Forever by Phyllis Dintenfass
Teardrop-shaped Fringe Beads Accent a Striped Bracelet

When I came across this project, I had only attempted flat right angle weave once, and I hated it. With careful, tight stitches, it still looked sloppy. Even the swatches in the instructions I used looked sloppy. So I had given up on ever using it. This project changed my mind. And because of the interlocking stitch variation, I was able to master RAW, and eventually incorporate it into my own designs.

Bead & Button, October 2007

Freeform Beadwork Cuffs by Sue Sloan

Issue #81, page 72
Creative Beading Vol. 4page 190

Freeform Cuffs by Sue Sloan
Beading Without Boundaries

I never fully attempted this project. Freeform beadwork that isn’t open - like netting - still terrifies me to this day. But the project was so inspiring, and I think it helped to encourage my love of seed bead weaving around other beads, and adding accents whether they’re needed or not.

Bead & Button, April 2008

Flight of Fancy Butterfly Bracelet by Pam Nichols

Issue #84, page 42
Creative Beading Vol. 4, page 112

Flight of Fancy by Pam Nichols
Easy-to-stitch Butterfly Bracelet

I never actually attempted this project. I was dying to, but I didn’t have access to all of the required materials until I had already started making my own designs, and I just never got around to trying it. These stitched butterflies made me ponder for the first time, that question every beader eventually asks. “When will I be able to come up with my own techniques and stitch combinations?”. The answer is pretty simple - when you no longer need magazines to tell you what to do.

Bead & Button, August 2008

Change of Focus Necklace by Julie Riggs

Issue #86, page 34
Creative Beading Vol. 4, page 78

Change of Focus by Julie Riggs
Give a Russian Spiral Center Stage by Stringing it Between Chunky Accent Beads

This is another project that I never fully attempted, mostly because I’ve never had much interest in using beading wire and crimps. I did love the look of the Russian spiral at first sight though, and was happy to learn the technique. It’s so easy to do, and highly adaptable. This project also helped to inspire my secret adoration for Picasso finish seed beads.

Bead & Button, October 2008

Web of Silver Bracelet by Marla Gulotta

Issue #87, page 38
Creative Beading Vol. 5page 82

Web of Silver by Marla Gulotta
A Bracelet Rich with Detail But Simple to Stitch

This is another project that I at first thought might be over my head. I’m glad I ignored that instinct and tried out the embellished tubular netting technique. It is one of the most beautiful beading stitches I’ve ever used, and helped to inspire my beaded strawberry pendant.

Bead & Button, February 2009

Byzantine Translation Necklace by Sheryl Yanagi

Issue #89, page 68
Creative Beading Vol. 5, page 162

Byzantine Translation by Sheryl Yanagi
Stitch a Beaded Version of Byzantine Chain Maille

I was so excited to try out this project. I love the look of chainmaille, but I could never try it without using metals. I soon discovered that chainmaille isn’t my thing, especially with seed beads. It’s much too fiddly. When I sit down to bead, I like to work continuously. The fewer times I have to pick up my scissors, the better. I still love the concept, and think every beader should give it a try at least once.

Favorite Bead and Button Issues

And that’s about where my own inspirations took off. I still pick up issues of Bead & Button at the library. Sometimes I’m even lucky enough to be there right when the previous issue becomes available to borrow. I enjoy seeing what other beaders are doing, and getting a heads up on new materials and books on the market. Believe it or not, the ads are now my favorite part. They are an excellent blogging resource.

Do you have a favorite or most memorable magazine project?

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading, Bead & Button Magazine, and Kalmbach Publishing
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  1. Awesome post Mortira!!! This is so inspiring to me, knowing that you started out right where I am now. I love these projects and I'm going to try to find a few of them as soon as I can! Thanks so much this is awesome! And I for one would love to hear/read a good discussion on ethics in beading. It's very confusing especially to the beginner. :-)

  2. Hi,Mortira:-)
    Very interesting and always on top problem with the ethics,but
    I do not have and rather would like not to have any ethics problems about the patterns I can see either in the 'Bead and Button' magazine,or in my favourite books,also in the internet,because I always make MY OWN DESIGNS,no matter if someone likes them or not.I still learn so much and I watch lots of material about beading,but I didn't even think of making the project,which is commonly available to everyone,there's no say of copying anyone's own project without having asked the author first.This is the normal rule,which everyone should respect concerning all the kinds of artistic deeds,or performances.I see very often in blogs the patterns made accordingly to the designs by someone,identical ones,sometimes in changed colours,many of them,even sold later on 'Etsy',or somewhere else and I ask myself if that kind of creation makes any sense.All the patterns You can see in my blog ,or my site are MY OWN ONES and there's no questions of that,I could steal someone's project and showed it as mine,it would be ridiculous in my opinion.
    Of course the other story is with all the ways of stitching,which are rather stable and commonly used in all designs.
    I inspire myself watcing.I adore it.All kinds of beading I see makes me feel,that there is always something left for me: a little piece of uncovered embellishment,or a newly discovered stitch.I am still experimenting and I do hope to be able always to call my beading 'mine'.
    The patterns-nice-inspiring -I saw them all more thing:
    Mortira-THANK YOU very much for the fantastic tuto on 'How to Bezel the Rivoli'-I wouldn't have done it without it!Thanks to You-I can show my first Rivoli today:-)

  3. Thank you so much for these great reviews! i actually was able to order Vol. 3 (Creative Beading) from our local library! Thanks again!

  4. Thanks, ladies! I'm glad the list was a hit.

    I do want to go into the specifics of beading ethics at a later date. I think it's so important not only to appreciate, but to help protect the work of the designers who so generously share their knowledge so that others can learn.

    After all, how many of us wouldn't have picked up a needle without these tutorials?

  5. this was neat to look through I am actually look for a pattern from a long time ago a three d humming bird pattern .

  6. I was able to find the 3D Hummingbird project in the B&B database. It's from the April 2002 issue, but you can also get the solo PDF here:

    There are many amazing variations by the artist on her website, here:

  7. Hi, Years ago I was an avid crocheter. Because of the pattern books, I was getting good at the patterns and wanted to make them and sell some of them, I had no idea about that being wrong. When I found out through an article I stop buying the pattern books, because I said to myself why am I buying all of these patterns, so others can make money. I'm not going to make everything I see in the books, so now I go to the library to borrow them. Now I'm a beader with a hobby/business and I've decided to stop buying all of those magazines, because as you say, they are copy right, so now I just practice the technical and go to the library for inspiration books. I make pieces to sell using a stitch I like for instance a celini stitch ring, is not a copy right, it's a stitch. It was hard to switch gears at first, but I've decided to learn how to work with that, because I've already bought all of these books.


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