Monday, January 24, 2011

Beading: You've Come A Long Way Baby!

My friends and I received a rather lush wedding invitation this summer from the son and fiancee of another mutual friend.  The pearl and rhinestone jewel at right (measuring about 1.5 " x 1") was at the center of the invitation and we all marveled at the uniqueness of the design. One friend, schooled in the art of beading and jewelry making, surprised all of us (including the delighted bride) by crafting the jewel from the invitation into a bracelet and wearing it to the wedding.

So I asked my friend to show me some of the pieces she's made over the past few years and I'd like to share them with you on my blog. These are only a small sampling but they are quite lovely as I'm sure you will agree.

When I was growing up on Long Island, the town where my family lived had a summer youth program run through the public school system. My siblings and I attended Catholic school and as such, never had access to the extra art, music and theater programs that public school afforded its students, except in the summer. We delighted in the chance to be creative and learned so much that to this day I credit that program (over the years) in sparking my interest in art.

One of the things we learned was stringing beads. Back then they were called indian beads, tiny colorful circles that were made into rings, bracelets and daisy chain necklaces. Beading has come a long way!

There are thousands of different kinds of beads ranging in price from tiny seed beads to semi-precious, expensive confections. Natural beads include bone, coral, horn, ivory, seeds, animal shell and wood. Pearls are the ultimate natural bead because of their rarity but now pearl-culturing has made them more common. Natural inorganics include gemstones and metals.

Beading has been around since he beginning of mankind and has enjoyed several reniassances, especially the one occurring in the last couple of years. European, Asian and Native American beadwork are most familiar to us and today designers of every stature have bead collections.

Enjoy the jewelry. If you're interested in contacting my friend, send me a message at and I'll make the connection. There is a slideshow at the bottom of this post, scroll down a bit and you would be able to see all of the photos.

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