Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bead Embroidery - How to destroy your Eyesight in Two Weeks

Take on a bead embroidery project!  As some of you know, for the past couple years, I have refocused my time primarily on polymer clay bead making and jewelry work.  So, here's the backstory as to how I became crazed to the point of spending countless hours consecutively stitching hundreds of seed beads to create this final bead embroidered piece.

I was full steam ahead in poly clay making in June.  Then, a family visit hit in July and the guests were here for a month.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  No bead work done.  I know that sounds counter intuitive but I really was ok with the time off and the month long visit.

After my guest leave, I decide I am going to finish the studio cleanup I started before they got here.  If you get what I'm saying, that would mean going thru the stuff I just crammed in drawers when I ran out of clean up time before they arrived.  So, I pull out this piece of lacy's stiff stuff with 3 beads glued on it and a tiny bit of bead embroidery completed.  It was a piece I had grand ideas for over a year ago, but just couldn't get it together.

Oh, I almost forgot.  What stimulated my renewed effort to complete the studio cleanup was a surprise haul I picked up off the streets of Key West (pic at bottom).  I could really digress here but let me just say the things people throw out here would blow your mind.  People have furnished whole houses with the stuff!!!

Anyway, it was sorting and organizing all those beads that started giving me ideas of how to complete the piece.  I realized half of the problem was not really knowing what I have anymore or where exactly it is.  And so began the process of finishing this piece.  15 days later at an average of 8 hours a day, here is what I came up with including the final project and progress steps.

The "bead" that looks like a mirror on the right front is actually a piece of cut dichroic glass I found from a previous class I attended years ago.  I actually glued a piece of fiber around it because I was afraid it would cut my thread.  Below are the progress pictures.
This was after a few days.  Some of the most intensive work is peyote stitching around the glued cabs.  

More progress.  added a few more cabs because my eyesight was still fairly good.

This is about day 12.  Nearly done and before I will cut the lacy's flush against the beadwork.  I look at it to see how I want to embellish (that was adding the glass leaves, pearls on sequins, etc).  Basically, I am looking to see what might need some more flare or covering.  Sometimes there are tiny white gaps which make a perfect place to embellish.  The other thing I like to do before gluing on the ultrasuede backing is to look at the curves along the edge.  If they are too steep, I know I may run into buckling problems when I  brick stitch the edges so I add beads to smooth them out some.  The last step after gluing the backing on is to stitch it to the lacy's stiff stuff.  I like to use brick stitch but there are other options.

This is the final product cause I can never let well enough alone!
This is my dumpster diving haul that jump started me organizing my beads again.  And yes, it is full now.


  1. Wow, it gorgeous, I really love it!! And girl, I admire your patience! I've tried this once, it seemed so difficult...my progress was slow, my eyes got blurry, my design was going nowhere ~ grr, so frustrating! I'll stick to my wire jewelry!:))

    Amazing work!!

    Laura xo

  2. Laura: I did the same thing with this piece. I was getting so frustrated with this piece a year ago, I gave up. A big part for me was just figuring what my major focal points of the piece were and then finding beads to go with them. Future projects will involve smaller bib style templates or single beads I attach. T


A two for One Necklace - creating detachable parts

After I created this necklace, I wondered if it would be better plain or with the leaves added. My sister-in-law suggested I find a way to m...