How to Design

After over 25 years of beadwork, I’ve often wondered why pattern books for beadweaving (not to mention beaded micro-macramé) are so readily available, but books which teach one how to create their own designs and patterns, seem almost nonexistent. I’ve set out to at least collect some of my own thoughts on the topic…clarifying the problem.

I can teach a person how to design…but should I? Would that really do justice to their own vision?

Over the years, I have been subject to many teachers who essentially tried to teach me how to do what they do, best. However…I am not them. What works for them may not work for me. Their approach is not my approach; we’re wholly different people with different skill sets, different experiences, different aesthetics, different inclinations, and different goals.

While at this point in my development, I realize that it would not be in the reader’s best interest for me to lead them from Point A to Point B: I can at least draw a map of things I have noticed on my travels. A map will not determine your route or your destination: that is for you to decide. This map will, of course, follow my own path: I can’t give in-depth information on routes I’ve not taken.

Just as a heads-up: my current work heavily features glass seed beads (Preciosa, Toho, and Miyuki), other Czech glass beads, and lampwork beads; within beadweaving and beaded micro-macramé techniques. I use wire (I prefer Sterling and gold-fill) when I have to. I do venture out of this at times into work with pearls and stones, or with natural materials (such as horn and bone) if need be; but by far the majority of my work is fine, textured, delicate, and colorful…and glass-based. I find there is a variety of shapes in this line of work that I can’t access in stones. Though I have explored silversmithing, I prefer working with my seed beads.

This section of the website, under, “Advanced: Jumping-off Points,” aims toward helping a new designer find entry points into design. The section listed below it, “Basics: Building Blocks,” aims toward helping newer beadworkers (or potential beadworkers) know what I’m talking about, just generally. They also might be interesting or of use to advanced readers.

Underlined titles are links or planned links. Pink titles are live. (Note that I only plan to use this coloring convention with headings that are also links.)

This page will be updated with links as I have the time and ability to assemble them.

Advanced: Jumping-off Points

Jumping-off Points: Color and Concept

Jumping-off Points: Art History

Jumping-off Points: An Established Process

Basics: Building Blocks

Building Blocks: Thread, Cord and Needles

Building Blocks: Metals

Building Blocks: Established Stitches for Off-Loom Beadweaving

Building Blocks: Hybrid Skillsets

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