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.
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.
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.
Bead on! Commitment to the craft and making lots of mistakes is the only way to learn.
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:
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:
Laura McCabe (with free project PDF)
Jamie Cloud Eakin (with bonus project PDF)
Nathalie Mornu (with two free project PDFs)