You know that saying: 'If I had a dollar...'? Well, if I had a dollar for every time someone said to me 'I don't like bead embroidery BUT...' I wouldn't need an Etsy store! Usually it precedes a compliment but it leaves me with the lingering impression that they think bead embroidery is somehow too easy and therefore less worthy than other kinds of jewellery.
Granted, technically its not that difficult which is what I love about it - with a few basic techniques anybody can become a beady Monet or Pollock (whichever floats your boat). Bead embroidery allows me to express myself creatively, unbridled by too many technicalities. I can play with shape, colour, texture, proportion, line...the really fun stuff!
Having said that, construction is important. Bead embroidery is not just about painting a pretty picture. For any piece of jewellery to work you need to have an understanding of gravity and how things will sit on the body. The bigger an idea the more technical it gets. My latest work, a finalist in Bead Dreams 2015, would never have been realised without some significant engineering - most of it of the trail and error variety.
Creating bead embroidered jewellery doesn't mean you're limited to only embroidery, you can incorporate bead weaving techniques too. For instance, edge stitch is a perfect vehicle to incorporate herringbone, netting or fringing. In this piece I used my newly acquired knowledge of St Petersburg stitch to create the beaded feathers as well as peyote and cubic right angle weave.
And best of all? You don't need to count! At least not all the time. With no counting of beads or rows, no keeping track of step ups, bead embroidery becomes a meditative process and a form of pure self expression.
That is why for me it will always be: