pinterest pin it

Monday, January 28, 2013

ABC's of Creativity - B is Beads

A bead is defined as a small, usually round object of glass, wood, stone, or the like with a hole through it, often strung with others of its kind in necklaces, rosaries, etc. (from

Beads have been inspiring humanity for millennium as personal decoration and status symbols. These ancient shell beads with manmade holes are among the oldest ones ever found. They could be about 90,000 years old.

Photograph Marian Vanhaeren and Francesco d'Errico (from

Of course for many of us, our first beads were either cereal or pasta strung on yarn. As we grew older and more beads became available to us we progressed to plastic and wooden beads. Now we work with glass, metal and semi precious stone. But no matter what you thread on to the thread or wire the beauty, colour and shape of the bead will inspire what you create.

These bright floral lampwork beads are accented with a zing of lime green, red rondelles and bali silver.

Beadwork by Maria Rypan, lampwork by Nancy Meisner

These beads evoked the styling of the pottery of the Trypillian Culture. Combining clay bead from Ukrainine, African spindle bead, dyed tagua nuts, terracotta beads and copper beads created three version of the Trypillian Spirit necklace. You can see that using the same beads in varying amounts creates dramatically different looks.

Beadwork by Maria Rypan

The soft pastel colours of these Swarovski crystal pearls are worked into a bracelet and earrings using a simple ladder stitch. The use of a fine beading wire ensures that the pieces hold their shape.

Beadwork by Maria Rypan

Beadwork on a bride's wedding gown inspired the selection of cyrstals and pearls for this stunning necklace. Watch for a more detailed blog posting about the creation of all of the beadwork for the bride.

Beadwork by Maria Rypan

This loomworked piece has small blue pressed glass flowers embellishing the mixed green base. The fringe effectively combines additional flowers and glass leaves.

Beadwork by Jo-Ann Woolverton

For this 3-D Snowflake Fanwheel's long twisted bugle beads form points. 6mm Swarovski AB crystals gives it extra sparkle.

Beadwork by Maria Rypan

New styles of beads are being made available to beaders around the world. Tilas (flat square two-holed beads) are among the hot new shapes. Here Kerrie Slade has used them to create stars that are joined to make a bracelet or singly as an earring.

beadwork by Kerrie Slade

Lampwork beads are miniature works of art on their own. They can be the inspiration for more that just a bracelet or necklace.

Owl, Book & Heart beads by Lucie Kovarova-Weir
Owl bead by Lezlie Winemaker

This set of bright blue, yellow, red and orange beads by Amy Waldman-Smith inspired a complete set of beaded boxes.

Lampwork beads by Amy Waldman Smith
Beadwork by Jo-Ann Woolverton

Elly Peters' lampworked blue beads with brown and red accents inspired this box.

Beads by Ellie Peters, Beadwork by Jo-Ann Woolverton
Beadwork by Jo-Ann Woolverton

There maybe times when you can't find that bead to inspire you, so you may have to make your own beaded beads. Using seed beads, crystals and other shaped beads you can make a bead to become the centre of a great design or a unique piece on their own.

Assorted Moorish Tile Beads, designed by Diane Fitzgerald
Crown Jewel, designed by Laura McCabe
Belissimo Beaded Beads, designed by Marcia DeCoster
I hope that you will let amazing beads take your creativity down a new and different path.

Happy Beading!


  1. Great job of presenting fabulous examples of different styles and types of beading. There is so much to choose from, yet a challenge of how to present it. You did an amazing job, Jo-Ann.

  2. I am enjoying learning the alphabet with you two!!!

  3. It's enlightening and fun! 24 more letters to go...

  4. Muy hermoso sus trabajos, gracias por permitir verlos.

  5. Exelente trabajo, buena forma de aprender

  6. Exelente trabajo, buena forma de aprender