Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Beading Library

A friend asked me if I could recommend some beading resources for beginners and that inspired me to document my library, because I'm supposed to be cleaning my apartment and this blog is pretty much dedicated to my procrastination.

In the future I'll do a post on my sewing and historical fashion library, but that collection is still under construction.

The Art of Beadwork by Valerie Hector (2005)

Techniques: right-angle-weave, brick stitch, knotted netting, herringbone stitch, peyote stitch, beaded beads, cubical right-angle-weave, scallop stitch, African polygon stitch, loom weaving

Description: Part project book, part history book, The Art of Beadwork is one of my favorites.  Valerie Hector looks at the ways different cultures have used beads and features original projects inspired by techniques from around the world.  While a lot of the specific projects aren't my cup of tea, the techniques are very useful.  Of particular note are the instructions for scallop stitch, a type of netting used by Xhosa-speaking people in South Africa, and tubular polygon stitch, also from South Africa.  The Art of Beadwork is the only place I've seen instructions for these stitches in a book.  The book also features more of a focus on beadwork as art rather than beadwork as adornment than most beading books.

The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells (2003)

Techniques: beaded beads, spiral rope, bead crochet, right-angle-weave, chevron netting, herringbone stitch, peyote stitch

Description: A solid reference work with great pictures.  This is the book that taught me spiral rope, which is one of my go-to techniques.  It also has instructions for spiral herringbone and creating spiral peyote bangles by using varying sizes of seed beads.

Beading with Brick Stitch by Diane Fitzgerald (2001)

Techniques: Brick stitch

Description: This book focuses on different ways to use brick stitch.  It also contains a brief historical background on the stitch, including some original observations on Ancient Egyptian beadwork.  At some point I need to pick this book up again and make a variation on the Petroglyph Necklace.  The book includes graph paper templates for one- and two-drop brick stitch for planning your own designs.

The Beaded Garden by Diane Fitzgerald (2005)

Techniques: Peyote stitch, brick stitch, herringbone stitch, netting

Description: This is a book that I pull out every spring.  The instructions are easy to follow and the end results are tons of fun.  The book contains instructions for making three-dimensional flowers out of beads using various weaving techniques.  Note: These flowers are made with a needle and thread, not wire.  If you're looking for instructions on how to make flowers using beads strung on wire, you'll want to look for something on French beaded flowers.  The list of flowers is pretty big, and there are instructions for general petal and leaf shapes to create your own variations.  The gallery section is inspiring.

Shaped Beadwork by Diane Fitzgerald (2009)

Techniques: primarily peyote stitch

Description: This book focuses on making two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric figures (triangles, squares, Platonic solids, etc) out of beads.  Pretty much every project uses cylinder beads because they create sharper edges.  As a part of Lark Books' Master Class series, the instructions are written with the assumption that the reader already has experience with peyote stitch.  The three-dimensional shapes make excellent beaded beads.

Big Book of Beadwork by Julia S. Pretl (2010)

Techniques: bead knitting, ladder stitch, netting, peyote stitch

Description: This book is actually three books in one.  Julia S. Pretl's books on bead knitting, beaded collars, and beaded boxes were republished as one large book.  I've primarily used the beaded collar section.  The green and black broad collar that I get a lot of compliments on was made using techniques from this book.

The Complete Guide to Traditional Native American Beadwork by Joel Monture (1993)

Techniques: Bead embroidery, loom weaving, peyote stitch, leather working

Description: This book looks at the traditional uses for beadwork among Native Americans.  The book provides some instructions on technique and making traditional tools.  A chapter is devoted to preparing leather for beadworking from scratch.

The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini (2007)

Techniques: bead embroidery

Description: The first bead embroidery book by the rockstars of the bead embroidery community, The Art of Bead Embroidery is a solid introduction to making bead embroidered jewelry.  The book focuses on the techniques used by the two artists.  This is not a book on the history of bead embroidery in general.  The inspirational photos are gorgeous.

So that's a general overview of what books I reach for on a regular basis.  If you're just getting started, I'd recommend Carol Wilcox Wells' book as an introduction to beadweaving in general.  Happy beading!

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