Do you remember berry beads? Not to be confused with Miyuki’s answer to the peanut seed bead, these little plastic beads with bubbly surfaces were all the rage for crafting in the 70’s and 80’s. Most craft stores carried them in abundance, along with fun little booklets for making all kinds of 3-D animals and objects with them. I used to think berry beads were ultimate.
Then I discovered seed beads, and everything else got swept aside. But it was those first pipe cleaner and plastic projects that inspired my love of 3-D beading, though I’ve mostly admired the work of other artists in that area. So when I picked up a copy of Lovable Beaded Creatures, I was instantly transported to the 80’s. Although these creatures are made with totally different materials, they still have a very charming, very vintage look.
Loveable Beaded Creaturescontains nearly thirty different 3-D animal designs by artist Anja Freese. Each creature is constructed with 8/o seed beads and wire, using a simple cross weave approach. The structures look so lively and elaborate, it’s almost hard to image how they can come together with such straightforward techniques.
Anja begins with a detailed overview of the materials and tools needed to create your own beaded creatures, and provides instructions and tips for weaving the beads together, assembling the designs, and adding embellishments. The steps are very clear, and include easy to follow diagrams to help guide you through the process of building animals from beads.
Animal lovers will be absolutely delighted with the projects. There are a wide variety of creatures to choose from, including insects, fish, barnyard animals, and exotic beasts like anteaters and poison arrow frogs. Each one is so charming that it’s hard to choose a favorite, or decide which one to try first!
Each project includes a color and weaving chart to follow that will guide you through the construction of the animal, plus written instructions and tips for putting each creature together. There are plenty of close-up photographs of finished designs to help guide and inspire you as well.
At the end of the book, Anja Freese gives a brief overview of loom weaving, then shares some fantastic beaded animal patterns like birds and snakes, which can be used to make traditional-looking bracelets. She also includes instructions for creating brooches and hair barrettes with 3-D beaded animals.
If you ever get bored of the same old thing, and want to try using your beads in a whole new way, this book will provide you with hours of fun!