You'll see more of this luscious bead embroidery further down in the post...
For twenty-one years I've been doing beads for a living, as my only income. Who would have thought back in 1990, when I taught my first Improvisational Bead Embroidery workshop, that I would still be teaching the same basic class and still loving it????
It seems that I've taught bead embroidery (directly, face-to-face) to more than 3,000 women and a hand full of men! The class has changed a little as I've experimented with different ways to get things across, learned or invented more stitches and made more samples. Yet the basics are the same and still really fun to teach.
For the first four years of teaching, I taught mostly small classes in my studio. Mostly the classes were two-days, at the end of which we all knew each other pretty well. Even after a year or so, I could remember each of my students and the work they did in class. By 1994 I began traveling to teach at national conferences and for various guilds, which often have 20-25 students in each class. Now, it's not so easy... only a few students stand out enough for me to recall their work, face and name as the months pass.
For many of my students, my primary method of working (improvisationally from the heart) is new and challenging. In my 2-day workshop, students learn techniques, make a sampler and get started on their own unique project. Only one student ever finished their project in class. Some barely get started. Thus one of the most gratifying things about teaching bead embroidery is receiving pictures of finished work!!!!
Most recently I taught the members of an embroidery guild in Baltimore (see here). It was a memorable class because all of the students were both eager and quick to learn! Plus they were experienced with thread embroidery, which requires the same coordination, attention to detail and patience. I've kept in touch with a few of them and learned that the art of bead embroidery is flourishing among them now!!!!
When I teach this class, I give students optional patterns for five different beaded pouches/bags. The pattern is just for the shape, not the beaded design. If I recall correctly, four students in Baltimore chose to use a cute, little, double-sided pouch pattern for their class piece. Two of them have finished and sent pictures to me, which I will share below.
This is Carolyn Everly's pouch. It's folded/closed here. If you open it, there's a little place inside to tuck special items.
This is how the outside looks when the pouch is opened. Carolyn got hooked on size 15 beads... can you tell? I'm not surprised because she's very talented at fine, detailed Japanese thread embroidery. She writes that she's accumulating a stash... anybody familiar with that stage of learning to bead?
This is Mary Tod. Mary really took to beading quickly, although I think I remember her saying she had not worked with beads before taking the class. She was a diligent worker and had a good start on her pouch by the end of the second day of class.
Here is how her pouch looks opened up.
Here are a couple of detail shots.
I always like it when I hear that a student likes beading well enough to make more than one piece. Mary obviously did, because she made this adorable pear-shaped Christmas ornament.
Thank you Mary and Carolyn for sending me these pictures... you and your beautiful beading make my day!!! I bet my readers will agree that your work is exceptional for beginning beaders! I hope to see many more pieces of your bead embroidery in the future!
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As some of you know, I'm not teaching so many classes now, mostly because I want to be able to travel to MN at a moment's notice to be with my 92-year old (today!!!) Mom. It's been difficult to turn down the teaching invitations.
The only one I've accepted for 2009 is in Denver, CO. The Rocky Mt. Bead Society sponsors a Bazaar in the spring, which includes a comprehensive bead market and workshops. I will be teaching Techniques of Bead Embroidery on Saturday, April 25th and Woven Treasure Bracelet (or Tassel) on Sunday, April 26th. I believe the Bazaar is open to the public with advance registration available for the classes.