If you get a bunch of creators in a room, the conversation is going to ultimately go to the latest new project and the book it’s in. Even if you’re not looking for patterns, books are one of the best resources for the “how-to” of most techniques. I refer to my book collection often and each volume has a bunch of colorful bookmarks to prove it.
The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving – Carol Wilcox Wells
I can’t say for sure this book was my first, but it’s got to be one of the first books I got when I started stitching. Each chapter highlights a technique. Besides the amazing beaded beads and crochet ropes, there are chapters for the popular herringbone and peyote stitches.
The book also includes projects to cover most skill levels with detailed instructions and diagrams. You can take the skills you learn and apply them to just about any project you can think up. With all the new bead styles available today, it would be fun to see how they can be worked into some these patterns.
Even though it’s no longer in print (Pub. 2002), there are new and used copies available through a variety of internet vendors.
Steel Wire– Brenda Schweder
If you want to get started with wire working, try the steel stuff; it’s inexpensive and very versatile. I have a love affair with bead embroidery but that doesn’t mean I don’t cheat on my beads and go over to the dark side of steel wire from time to time.
I got this nifty book when I took Brenda’s class at our local art museum. We enjoyed a weekend of learning how to handle steel wire using everyday objects to create components for unique pieces of jewelry. The book gives you the basics of steel wire and some fun projects. Go ahead and experiment, steel wire is forgiving and just plain cheap.
Brenda has since invented the Now That’s a Jig (NTaJ) so you can create consistent shapes and designs; it’s so easy to convert these original projects to the jig.
Another book no longer in print (2011) but easy enough to source through the magic of the internet. Once you’ve got the book you can hop on over to Brenda’s Etsy shop and get all the supplies you need…and then some!
The Art of Bead Embroidery– Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini
It’s pretty obvious I have a thing for bead embroidery. I was introduced to it by a local bead friend. Not sure why it’s stuck with me all this time except I don’t really have to follow a pattern and I can use whatever I have on hand to put together a project. I could create for many years to come with all the stuff I have on hand. Beads don’t go bad ya know!
All the basics of bead embroidery are shared by two very popular artists. Heidi and Sherry each outline their favorite materials and techniques. I have used a little from each of them to create the perfect cocktail for my designs. The projects in this book range from basic to more complex. There are easy to follow instructions for earrings, pendants, large necklaces and a trinket box. The gallery of projects at the end of the book is beautiful and great for inspiration.
This book is still available on Amazon. According to Amazon, I purchased this book in 2009…gee, thanks for remembering. Heidi and Sherry also have other books worth looking into. Kind of like potato chips, you can’t have just one.
My book collection doesn’t stop here. These is nothing better than having great reference material at your fingertips. Now go make something fabulous!