Saturday, 21 March 2015

My bookshelf :: Bead weaving books

As I mentioned when thinking about my love affair with bead weaving, books fuelled my knowledge and inspired me to explore bead weaving especially at a time when there weren't the beading magazines there are available now. I'm starting off my 'craft of the month' look at bead weaving by browsing my bookshelf for inspiration of projects I can make to help improve my skills.

Here's a look at my bead weaving books (and a little bit of reminiscing on my part!):

The Complete Guide To Traditional Native American Beadwork by Joel Monture* (1993)
This really is more of a textbook than a 'how to' type book. It does cover more of the theory about bead weaving (and bead embroidery) such as what the different colours mean. I love this book because it helped me understand how beads were part of the culture of Native Americans.

Fashion Beads by Sara Withers* (1996)
This book has a number of different jewellery projects of which bead weaving is just one and therefore this is aimed at the beginner beadweaver (or jewellery maker in general). A good book to expose you to different bead jewellery techniques.

The Beadworker's Companion by Judith Durant and Jean Campbell* (1998)
I bought this book on my travels after university, if I recall correctly it was in a bead shop in Cambridge Massachusetts. Anyway I love this book. It is spiral bound and is all about the materials and techniques for both loom bead weaving and bead weaving on a loom. The edition I have isn't available any more, but there does appear to be a new updated version with colour photos (mine only has black and white drawings). I would recommend this if you are a beginner bead weaver but it's also a great reference book if you haven't tried certain techniques for a while.

Big Book of Indian Beadwork Designs by Kay Doherty Bennett* (1999)
This book does have a lot of both graphed bead weaving patterns and bead embroidery designs. Whilst an interesting resource, part of the fun of bead weaving is to take a bit of graph paper and start coming up with your own ideas. I also loved graphing patterns from old pieces I saw in museums - I could enjoyably spend ages just stood in front of a piece of beadwork studying it and sketching it. But I also appreciate that isn't everyone's idea of fun so books like this can help in the design process.
The only thing to note is that all the designs are in black and white with keys for different colours - like cross stitch patterns - I did end up colouring in s few of the designs I wanted to try so it was easier visually to follow the pattern when beading.

Bead Weaving Classics by Takako Sako* (2000)
I picked this up on the same trip as The Beader's Companion, but this time from Beadazzled in Washington DC. I remember not being sure whether to buy the book because it was quite pricey for the budget I was on ($22 back in 2001 was a lot of money to me). But I'm so glad I did buy it, the projects in it are exquisite. All the projects are loom based and whilst there is the odd straightforward project, but most of them are rather detailed bags. Because of the complexity of the designs and the shaping of the bags (as you can see from the front cover) I would say this book is more for the advanced bead weaver. The size of the pieces is also amazing and if you've mostly been weaving on a little loom this will make you want to splash out on a bigger loom.

Beadwork A World Guide by Caroline Crabtree and Pam Stallebrass* (2002)
I always associated bead weaving with Native American's (maybe because we seemed to study them all the time in History lessons at school). It wasn't until I headed out on my travels and especially to a couple of museums in New Zealand and Australia that I learned that the South Pacific Islands also had a great tradition of beadwork. This book covers beadwork from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania and Europe, and really is a reference book rather than a 'how to' book - although it does cover contstruction and techniques. It's great for inspiration on different colours, patterns and styles of beadworks and shows the variety of objects that can featured beadwork.

Native American Bead Weaving by Lynne Garner* (2003)

Wow Amazon has a good memory - it's just told me I purchased this on 7th August 2004! That sounds like I treated myself to this book following some overtime pay. Anyway, the focus of this book is on bead weaving with a loom. There is a wide range of projects, not just necklaces and bracelets, but also bead weaving you can stitch to other objects such as bags and glasses cases. It also has projects such as hair accessories, cards and picture frames that use bead weaving in a different way. It also has a 'how to' section at the front. I would say this is a book aimed at the beginner to intermediate bead weaver as many of the projects are just straightforward loom work using seed beads.

Beading on a Loom by Alexandra Kidd* (2005)
I bought this book not long after it came out, I remember coveting it for a while as I loved the cover image. The projects in this book use different sizes and shapes of beads which makes the projects that bit different. It also includes a nice clear materials and 'how to' section at the front and has a range of projects from the basics towards the more advanced. I would say this book is pitched more at the intermediate bead weaver who has a few straightforward bracelet type projects under their belt.

So these are the books on my book shelf about bead weaving - do you have any recommendations for books you think I might like? As you can see I haven't bought a bead weaving book for 10 years!

*there are some affiliate links in this blog post. If you click on the link and buy the product I get a small amount of commission. All pictures are from Amazon (except for Fashion Beads - Amazon didn't have a photo of that so I took this one!)

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