HOW TO BEAD A ROGUE
…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.|
CURRENT ROGUE ELEPHANT BLOG ARTICLES
#6: Tight, Tighter,Tightest / Loose, Looser, Loosest
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.
MATERIALS NEEDED FOR ALL 10 EXERCISES
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
beading dishes or trays
any kind of graph paper
work surface or pad
a few clasps, (toggles are easy to work with)
some crimp beads
The goal here is to learn a little about managing thread tension.
Pick a favorite bead weaving stitch, such as Peyote, Brick or Ndbele (Herringbone). Plan out how to make a flat length of the weave, about ½” wide and 6” long. You can also do 6 separate pieces about ½” wide and 1” long.
For the first inch, keep a tight tension. For the 2nd inch, make the tension tighter. For the 3rd inch, make it even tighter. For the tightest tension, you might even want to reinforce your stitching, by going through each bead again and again with your thread.
For the fourth inch, try to get a tension a little looser than you typically use. Then the next inch, get even looser. For your final inch, make this the loosest of all.
Now pick a stitch like the Chevron Stitch or the Right Angle Weave Stitch. Work it for a length of 3-4”. These stitches start out very loose.
What different kinds of strategies can you employ to tighten the tension? -- Reinforcement? Reinforcement after each small segment of stitches? Or Reinforcement after you’ve completed the whole piece? Changing the type of stringing material you are using? Stitching over a solid form, such as a dowel, pencil or straw or vase or ball? Adding additional beads at key joints?
There are these and lots of possibilities. Try them out.