My mom’s in town, and she loves beading. True to her profession as an x-ray crystallographer, she loves making complex beads and crystal forms out of smaller beads. They’re gorgeous and very complex; a single bead can take hours to make. But they are fascinating and compelling.
Anyway, she started up a correspondence with Gwen Fisher of Bead Infinitum, who also does beaded beads. She is a mathematician and professional beader who has (not too unsurprisingly) written some published papers on mathematical beading! Take a look at her work! It is absolutely stunning. I had never been interested in beading before, finding it too simple a craft for my tastes, but these show the amazing possibilities in the art. Intellectually fascinating as well as beautiful. Really, really, take a look.
That being said, I don’t plan to get heavily into beaded beads. I have enough crafts on my plate right now, and I really want to focus on weaving once I get done with the technical things I’m learning. So I got one fairly simple pattern from her (the Three Drop Earrings) that I think would make a lovely (albeit time-consuming) beaded border for a shawl, and left it at that. I may wind up buying the Lotus Beaded Bead pattern from her, though, because it’s just so beautiful. (Admittedly, not very mathematically interesting, but one of the most beautiful bead constructs I’ve seen. It’s even prettier in person.)
I also just ordered two books Gwen recommended – the first is The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells, which she said was one of the best beginner’s books on the market, and the second was Jinny Beyers’ Color Confidence for Quilters, which she highly recommended for color theory as it relates to textiles. Like I said, I don’t plan to get heavily into beading, but I like having reference books on things that might pertain to textiles. And beaded fringe would definitely be fun to make.
Today we’re having lunch with two textile enthusiasts (both with much more experience than me) and that should be fun as well – we’re bringing samples of our work for show & tell. Later in the afternoon we may go shopping at a bead store Gwen recommended. I plan on buying a few beads so I can try out the Three Drop Earrings that Gwen gave me the pattern for.
Less glamorous than beading, but still interesting to work out.