Quiet Mischief - a fantastic two-artist team creating stunningly intricate and clever jewelry designs.
Inspirational Beading: What is your all time favorite beading or jewelry technique?
Michele: I make friendship bracelets, which may seem pretty simple. I mean, everyone's made friendship bracelets, right? You get a few threads, make overhand knots for a while, and you're done. But the truth is that there's a whole world of knotting that most people who make the bracelets never get to. My current favorite technique is the second one I learned: alpha knotting. It is most known for making it easy to write words in a friendship bracelet, but I like it more for the ease of making pictures.
Inspirational Beading: How do you first learn to use this technique?
Michele: I first learned about the alpha style from my mother, who is the source of most of my craftiness. She had taught me how to make friendship bracelets when I was little, and when I showed a renewed interest in my late teenage years she showed me the tutorial she had found on the internet on how to knot letters into a bracelet. Later, after trying to use the traditional knotting style to make a bracelet with a flower pattern, I returned to the alpha technique and found it to be much better at accomplishing what I wanted.
Michele: This is a tough choice, but I have to go with my (currently) most technically advanced bracelet: my American flag bracelet. I designed the whole thing myself, including a couple of new techniques to make it possible. It's as accurate as I can make it, down to the 13 stripes and 50 stars.
Inspirational Beading: Can you share any tips for getting started with this method?
Michele: First of all, I recommend already having some practice with the traditional friendship bracelet knotting technique. Inconsistent tension (some knots too tight, some knots too loose, few just right) will be much more obvious in an alpha bracelet, so it's best to get those problems out of the way beforehand. Once you're ready, start with simple letters or pictures and use only two colors until you're more comfortable with the technique.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material or color to use it with?
Inspirational Beading: If someone had to choose to learn only one technique, would you recommend this one?
Michele: Probably not. As much fun and versatile as alpha knotting is, it's rather difficult to master and much more so if one doesn't have a foundation in the traditional knotting style.
Inspirational Beading: In your opinion, what is the best way for beginners to learn this technique?
Michele: One of my long-term goals for my craft and my business is to write my own friendship bracelet book. Until that comes out, this friendship bracelet tutorial is the most comprehensive I have yet seen, with pictures and videos to illustrate the step-by-step instructions.
Etsy and DeviantArt, plus stay in touch with artists Michele and Lissi on Facebook and Twitter. Michele also offers plenty of tips and insights into crafting and jewelry business on her blog, Quiet Mischief and Company.
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