…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.|



On My Own, Through Books, Or Through Classes?

I always tell people it is easier to start by having someone show you what to do, either with a friend, or in a class, than trying to teach yourself out of a book. After working with a person, then go back to the books. You’ll get more out of the books this way.

Most books are not well written. There are many problems here, not least of which, is that the beginner is confronted with a new language, new terms, unfamiliar diagrams. It’s all Greek, as they say.

Another frequent problem, is that the authors writing the books are experts, and long, long ago, many little steps that were new to them, are now what is called “assumptive”. They don’t think about or remember to include these little steps because they now assume that anyone doing the project will know these. You see this problem most when transitioning from step to step in the project. Each step is clear, but it is not clear how you transition from one step to the next. This information is left out.

Another problem: the diagrams and images don’t match the text instructions. Or the diagrams show 2 or more steps at a time, which gets confusing.

Craft books today have a lot of errata. They are edited quickly, published quickly, and a lot of mistakes are not caught ahead of time. While the authors usually maintain errata sheets, which they will gladly send you, that doesn’t help you while you are first trying to decipher the instructions in their book.

When it comes to classes, I very strongly recommend that you take them in order, from beginner to advanced, and don’t skip around. Allow yourself to take 2 or 3 or more classes in order to learn a technique, rather than trying to learn it all at once, or haphazardly. Knowledge is best built developmentally, step-by-step. If you learn in more random fashion, you won’t understand all the nuances. You won’t have adequate control over the techniques. You’ll implement the techniques poorly.


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