Jamie Cloud Eakin is the popular author of three books — Dimensional Bead Embroidery, Beading with Cabochons, and Bugle Bead Bonanza — with more than 50,000 books in print. She was generous enough to do a little interview with us, and even more, to create and let us share a wonderful stitch index for Dimensional Bead Embroidery and Beading with Cabochons, as she explains below.
Jamie lives in Modesto, California, and she teaches classes all over. See more of her work at http://www.studiojamie.com/.
Jamie, what are your favorite bead shops?
I love ALL bead shops! I can’t walk into one without some treasure that calls my name and has to come home with me.
But it really is more than just the beads. I love spending time with other beaders and people who love beads.
There is a joy and energy in bead shops that is difficult to describe. I think many people go to bead stores and bead shows thinking “I’m here for the beads,” but it really is so much more than that.
My theory is that the creation process accesses certain parts of our brain. Whether you are designing something yourself or following a pattern by someone else, the transformation process, the creation process, has an elevating influence on the person.
Classic Chic Earrings project from Dimensional Bead Embroidery
I think this happens more in beadwork than in some other crafts because of the process itself. You’ve heard many times, “When you are angry, count to 10 before you act to calm yourself.” Well, think about how many times you are doing this “counting” when you are beading … lots!
For this and other reasons, I think beading lets us get in touch with the best of ourselves. The end product is a huge bonus, but it’s the process itself that keeps us beading.
There are many types of beading — from stringing to elaborate stitches — so there is a process available for everyone. It doesn’t matter what your choice of process is, it is all wonderful.
How much do you teach in a given year? What do you enjoy about teaching, and what do you find most challenging about it?
How much? That’s hard to say in terms of a number or count — let’s just say LOTS.
I teach at my local bead store and some shows and even at my local bead society.
I love spending time with other beaders. I get a special pleasure seeing new beaders discover the joys of beading and experienced beaders take it to a whole new level.
It is really fascinating to see how different people can see the same instructions and interpret them differently. The challenge is to create instructions and illustrations that work for everyone. Teaching a class where you can see the reactions to the instructions is a big help in doing that.
Midnight Waterfall Necklace project from Dimensional Bead Embroidery
Dimensional Bead Embroidery, your recently released book, is already a popular bestseller, and of course your Beading with Cabochons is widely regarded as a bead-book classic. But these are both technique-driven books focused on bead embroidery. Why would a beader want to have both of them?
Good question! This really comes down to my philosophy of beading, which says that techniques are tools in your beading toolbox. Both books are filled with techniques, and there is very little overlap. So you actually need both to fill your toolbox.
I find that many people who do bead embroidery tend to use the same techniques over and over again. These books give you more options for design — and for beading fun!
Personally, I’ve used a list of stitches and techniques at my beading station that I refer to when designing. I thought a much more useful thing would be pictures and a page reference guide for other people.
So, I created a kind of cross-index of stitches in both books that shows a picture of the technique results, which book each one is in. and the corresponding page number. [Download a PDF of the index here.]
Both of these books are used by many beaders as reference books while they’re designing and beading. I think this index will help those people.
Jamie Cloud Eakin
Jamie, what are you working on right now, bead-wise?
I’ve been working on new books concentrating on design. One of the questions I hear most often is, “How do you come up with that?” These books attempt to answer that question and give advice for doing it yourself.