I asked our panel of Beadweaving Master Class authors, “What’s your best advice for a beginning beader?” Their responses, the final entries in this blog series, are below.

See the links at the bottom of this post for all the previous questions asked and, more importantly, the answers provided by Diane Fitzgerald, Marcia DeCoster, Laura McCabe, Sherry Serafini, Maggie Meister, and Rachel Nelson-Smith. I thank all our panelists for sharing their experience and perspectives by participating in this forum.

Diane Fitzgerald, author of Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork, of Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Work with all the colors of beads until you know how they look within beadwork. Beads look different in tubes or bags. I beaded nearly 200 samples to learn about how colors looked.

Practice visualizing, and take classes in design and color theory.

Marcia DeCoster, author of Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence, of Lemon Grove, California:

Carve out a space for yourself where your beads and at least a project or two can be left out.

Work on building your fundamental skills so you have a good grasp of the basic stitches, including how to increase and decrease with each of them, as well as working tubular and flat, odd and even. Building these skills will enable you to create your own designs.

Laura McCabe, author of Laura McCabe’s Embellished Beadweaving, of Old Mystic, Connecticut:

Bead on! Commitment to the craft and making lots of mistakes is the only way to learn.

Sherry Serafini, author of the Spring 2011 release Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery, of Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania:

Brush up on all the basic stitches, so you can tackle any project that is presented to you.

Maggie Meister, author of the Fall 2011 book Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance, of Norfolk, Virginia:

I would advise beginning beaders to learn and practice the basic seed-bead stitches in all forms. Peyote (tubular, circular, flat), brick stitch (flat, circular, diagonal, etc.), right angle weave, square stitch, and herringbone are my favorites. So-called “basic” projects are beautiful, and beginners should make them and WEAR THEM.

There are then other stitches to learn that complement or embellish the basics, such as Nepal chain, St. Petersburg chain, etc.

I also think it’s great to learn with larger beads. Once you feel comfortable, use the beads and colors you love!

Also, work with the best materials you can afford. If you’re going to put 30 to 40 hours into a piece, the materials should be of good quality.

Rachel Nelson-Smith, author of the Fall 2011 release Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs, of Santa Cruz, California:

Be patient. Learn peyote stitch.

Be willing to allow someone to teach you and to change your mind.

*Now, go back and read earlier questions to our panel — and we invite you to answer them yourself in each post’s Comments section:

1. How did you get started beading?

2. What characteristics set beaders apart?

3. What inspires your designs?

4. What’s your favorite personal piece of jewelry for wearing?

5. What’s your favorite part of your job as a jeweler or beader? Least favorite?

6. What’s your favorite beading book?

7. What are your favorite bead colors?

8. What trends are you seeing in beading today?

9. What are you really trying to teach?

10. Who is an up-and-coming beader-designer you’d like to bring to people’s attention?

11. What makes the Bead & Button Show special to you?

Also read great recent Lark Jewelry & Beading interviews with leading creative beaders, jewelers, and metalsmiths—please leave comments and let us know what you think about the artists and their work:

Sherry Serafini

Margie Deeb

Laura McCabe (with free project PDF)

Jamie Cloud Eakin (with bonus project PDF)

Sabine Lippert

Carol Wilcox Wells

Cindy Thomas Pankopf

Joanna Gollberg

Mary Hettmansperger

Lisa Slovis Mandel

Nathalie Mornu (with two free project PDFs)

Our Blogger Profiles have featured Carol Dean Sharpe, Lorelei Eurto, and Andrew Thornton.


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