Monday, 25 May 2015

Bead Embroidery Forever!



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:


  1. Congrats on the blog Regina, looking good.

  2. You interpretation of this is simply sublime. Well done.

  3. As you know I'm one of those 'BUT' people......BUT you have said it for me....I'm a very technical designer, I love the counting and playing with numbers. That is probably why I love your work because you do get technical with it. I think it makes an enormous difference to add in some prove it. I would have to say you can keep seamlessly blending bead embroidery with bead weaving forever <3

  4. Regina, I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog, which is off to a wonderful start! I am totally in your camp. I love combining weaving and BE, and agree that the technique and engineering can be equally challenging and satisfying as that of weaving. I like the math of weaving, like Mikki, but I also like the freedom of BE, and the combination images my heart sing. I a love this piece of yours and especially I love it worn! some things simply cannot be described in a single photo, so it's great to see many! I will be a regular reader!

  5. Whenever I thought about writing a blog I'd wonder if anybody would read it! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the comments and for taking the time to have a look x

  6. Very well written, and as a bead embroiderer myself, I have had my share of comments about bead embroidery being child's play. And to some extend I guess I understand where they are coming from. Some of the works I have encountered myself are all about sewing beads unto fabric with no calculation and thought put into it whatsoever, and sadly, there are many of those pieces out there making it seem like bead embroidery is indeed child's play. That's why it excites me to see pieces like yours (Marsha Weist-Hines is another artist that puts a lot of thought into her work), it makes me feel like you guys redeem us all from the critics that are so willing to call bead embroidery child's play. Thank you for writing this and especially for sharing the photos. Keep writing and I'll keep reading.