Learning How to Bead
I suppose there are more than a few people who would look at this article’s title, “Learning How to Bead,” and write it off as silly. After all, there’s not much more to the mechanics of beading than there is to stringing popcorn to put ’round the Christmas Tree, right? How much more is there to say? What else is there to talk about?
The truth, however, is that there is a fair bit more to learning how to bead than just stringing popcorn, and this article will take a closer look at what else you need to know.
Learning how to bead involved learning in four basic areas. They may seem innocuous enough at first glance, but upon closer inspection, the inescapable conclusion is that there’s much more to learning how to bead than first meets the eye.
The four basic “disciplines” you must master to truly learn how to bead are as follows:
We’ll go through the particulars of these one at a time as a means of putting you on the path to learning how to bead.
The first step in your “learn how to bead” education is mechanics. If you don’t have the mechanics down, then the rest is irrelevant. Fortunately, from a mechanics standpoint, it really is about as simple as stringing popcorn. If you can do that, then you’ve already gotten this aspect of learning how to bead down, but even here, there is some subtlety. Did you know, for example, than when stringing pearls, you want to tie a knot on either side of the stone to prevent potential damage caused by the stones rubbing against each other? Or that there are times when you only want to tie a loose knot as a “bead brake” on the end of the line you’re not working?
So even where the basic mechanics are concerned, there’s more to learning how to bead than you might first think. By far, however, this is the easiest of the four disciplines to master.
The next discipline you’ll want to wrap your brain around in learning how to bead is the notion of patterning. Whole books can (and have) been written on this topic, and once you really get into it and start studying it, you’ll quickly discover that of all the disciplines, this one is the most intricate and involved. Definitely the one you’ll spend the most time on when learning how to bead.
Color selection is one part art and one part science. Art students learn about complimentary and contrasting colors as a first course, and so are a leg up in this department, but there are plenty of resources both online and off that will guide you through this discipline on your quest to learn how to bead. Don’t skimp here. Proper color selection can make or break your designs!
Finally, the last major discipline to master in learning how to bead is medium selection and the proper mixing of mediums. This is mostly a practical, common sense area (ie., don’t mix cheap plastic with your semi-precious stones!) but even here there is some subtlety to be found.
Learning how to bead isn’t rocket science. Anyone can do it, and with practice, do it well. Just bear in mind that there’s a bit more to it than stringing popcorn!
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