…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist
by Warren S. Feld

Excerpts From This Ever-Evolving Tale.....

I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.|


Beading Calisthenics
#10: Daisy Stitch Expansion

Beading – especially beading a Rogue Elephant – requires a lot of mind-body coordination. That takes work. It is work.

You have to be able to get from your fingers to the needle to the beads, back along the thread to the needle to the fingers, hands, arms, eyes, mind. And then again. And again. Over and over, one more time. You need to get into a rhythm. All these working parts need to be working. No time for cramping. No time to get tired. No time to lose concentration.

A rhythm. Needle, pick up bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead….

I noticed that different instructors had various techniques and strategies for maintaining this rhythm. Yes, music was involved sometimes. Othertimes simple meditation or creative reading and discourse. Some people had some stretching exercises that they did. Others tested themselves before proceeding with their big project. Still others did small things to reconfirm their learning.

Here are some of the beading calisthenics that I experienced along the way.

notebook, pencil
1 tube each of Japanese 11/0 seed beads in gray, 3 different colors of orange, black, white, any other 4 colors
1 tube each of Japanese 8/0 seed beads in gray or silver, black, white, orange, any other 4 colors
1 tube each of Japanese 6/0 seed beads in gray or silver, black, white, orange, any other 4 colors
5 gray-scale colors of delicas or 11/0 seed beads
Nymo D or C-Lon D thread in black
Nymo D or C-Lon D thread in yellow
two toggle clasps
.018” or .019” flexible cable wire
assorted 4mm, 6mm and 8mm beads in various coordinating colors, including grays and oranges in your mix, as well
big bowl and a bowl-full of assorted beads
Size 10 English beading needles
Bees wax
beading dishes or trays
any kind of graph paper
work surface or pad
colored pencils
a few clasps, (toggles are easy to work with)
some crimp beads
crimping pliers

BEADING CALISTHENICS #10: Daisy Stitch Expansion

The challenge here is to see how many variations you can construct using the simple daisy chain stitch.

Simplest daisy chain: A stem and a flower with a center bead, then a stem and flower w/center, and so forth.

Start with a line of 5 beads.

Add 5 more beads to your thread. Make the 5th bead a different color. This is your “flower set”. The 5th bead is your center point.

Make a loop by going back through the first of these 5 beads in the set.

Add two more beads to the flower set, and bring the needle through 4th bead in that original set of 5.

So the daisy pattern goes: BEAD 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 (flower center point bead marked by X) back to 1 to 6 to 7 back to 4 and out.

Pull tight.

Add another line of 5 beads. Continue.

                      2     3
                 1   O   O   4                     O     O
O O O O O  O    X 5   O   O O O O O  O   X   O  O O O O O
                     O    O                          O   O
                     6     7

Try the daisy chain above without the stem, so that each flower set is interconnected by one bead -- # 4 (which becomes #1 in the next flower). Make your 5th bead a different color.

Next, look at the modified daisy chain pattern below. Try another interconnected daisy pattern, where we would connect each subsequent flower by two beads, instead of one. Here we would make the first daisy’s 3 and 4 become the next daisy’s 1 and 6.

1   O   3
O   5   O
6   X   4
O  7   O

This would go: 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 (flower center) to 1 to 6 to 7 to 4 up through 3 and out. Then 3 becomes 1 in the next daisy link. The pattern continues in the second link as 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 (flower center) to 1 to 6 to 7 to 4 up through 3 and out. Then 3 becomes 1 again.

Try the same pattern, this time making the 2nd, 5th and 7th bead the same color, but different than the others.

Try again, making the 1st, 5th and 4th beads the same color, but different than the others.

Try again with any of the patterns, this time using a different size/shape/style of bead for the 5th one.

The daisy chain is indicative of a “traditional” design. What kinds of things can you do to make the daisy chain have a more “contemporary” feel? Such as newer metallic colors? Or somehow increasing the dimensionality of each flower so it doesn’t feel so flat? Or creating a color pattern with beads 1 thru 7, so that the pattern is very op-art or contemporary graphic in feel?




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