The sheer creative genius within the pages of Diane Hyde‘s book Break the Rules Bead Embroidery is gonna knock your socks off. Diane gives herself permission to include the most innovative materials in her bead-embroidered jewelry: pen nibs, toys, spoons, old keys, mini bulbs, and that’s just a start! This book will inspire you and kick-start your imagination. So how does Diane do it? Read on!
Q: Diane, what caused you to look for materials someplace other than a bead store?
A: After learning basic bead stitches, I wanted to set my work apart from what everyone else was doing. I began by incorporating metal stampings and simple filigree pieces. Once I saw they worked, I wanted to go deeper and darker, so to speak. I chose to use nuts and bolts on a major crystal-and-pearl piece for a competition. It placed first in the category I entered. After that I viewed everything as fair game.
Q: You incorporate some completely unexpected items in your beadwork. For example, readers of your book will see doll heads, guitar picks, hardware-store hinges, wine corks, eyeglass lenses, spoons, pool balls, and vintage thimbles used in the projects. How do you know when something unconventional is perfect for your designs? How you come up with the actual ideas?
A: They come to me like lightening flashes. I might be walking through the toy department in a store and see a little plastic figure that pleases me. I stroll through hardware stores and craft stores and things just jump out at me as viable for my work and how they might fit into a piece. Most often I first become mentally locked on a specific color, or combination of colors, and then look for the components and beads that will bring that piece to life. Other times I could be thumbing through a book of Art Nouveau jewelry and some element jumps out as inspiration for a design.
Even the lowliest rusty bottle cap has some beauty to it, so you just have to look and think of everything in this new way. Try to tell a story with your work. If you can envision an unusual item within the work, there’s usually a solution for how to make it work within beadwork, whether it’s a wearable piece of jewelry, something to sit on a desktop, or hang on a wall. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to find what it will take to make something work as you have envisioned it. Just jump in and try. Often times you’ll figure it out as you go.
Q: What are some unexpected items you plan to experiment with in the future?
A: I have tubs and boxes filled with things that are begging me to give them a whirl—from holiday decorations to sticks and twigs, vintage toys to flatware. Plastic and glass containers are especially intriguing to me right now. Dolls and doll parts are always my favorites. I’m also fascinated with the idea of creating a series of eclectic found-object pin cushions.
Q: The book contains 22 jewelry projects, plus there’s an additional set of instructions we’ve posted online. Do you have a favorite project from the book?
A: I love the Spoon Angel Necklace, because the iced-tea spoon I used once belonged to my grandmother. The smaller demitasse spoon in the alternate version is equally special to me. I inherited both my grandmother’s and my mother’s spoon collections from the mid 1900s. I have dozens to choose from and I just get giddy when I look at them all. These spoons impart a sweetness that, in the end, surprised even me.
Q: What would you like people to take away from your book?
A: I want readers to allow themselves the freedom to break away from using the expected components or items typically seen within beadwork. I want to encourage them to look with a new eye, to see everyday things and think, “what if…” and imagine them as possible focal points or additions to their work.
To be eligible for the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Click here for the official rules (don’t break those!).