Guides to Fine Arts Like Painting, Designing, Architecture, Sculpture, Photography and More

By Daniel Turbin


Among the most complicated and tricky aspects of bead craft is the notion of patterning. The human eye reflexively seeks out and identifies patterns, and our brains are designed to parse data in tiny, easily organized chunks. Therefore, the reason telephone numbers, social security numbers, and the like are broken into smaller chunks: 555-1212 vs. 5551212.

Oftentimes, a beginner to the world of beadwork will be tempted to simply use whatever is on hand, and the results will be haphazard randomness. Now, it's true that this approach can often yield attractive outcome. There's, however, an increasing body of facts indicating that symmetry and identifiable patterns are among the keys to defining what we see and recognize as "beauty." A student of bead craft would do well to take these lessons to heart, which brings us back 'round to the importance of patterning as it relates to your beadwork.

Beadwork patterns can be as simple or as multifaceted as you would care to make them, though I'd recommend simpler designs for the beginner, with rising difficulty as a normal addition of experience. And do not think that an easy pattern will produce unattractive outcome! The easiest pattern of all is 1-1-1, best embodied by the classic strand of pearls. Easy. Elegant. Enduring.

Still, many people get into bead craft as a form of self expression, and one of the methods that expression manifests itself in the hobby is through the magic of the pattern.

Some people (both novices and veterans in the bead craft world) spend hours upon hours testing with arrangements until they hit upon something that's truly compelling. More common though, specially to those new to beadwork, is a sense of intimidation. This is unlucky, but the overwhelming majority of hobbyists will outgrow that fear as they gain more bead craft experience.

Still, if you have recently taken up beadwork as a hobby and find yourself struggling with the complexity of developing your own patterns, you can get a lots of websites on the web offering bead craft pattern ideas and examples. Make use of these in your designs, and before very long, you will possibly find yourself thinking, "I like this pattern, but would not it be neat if..." and almost before you know it, you will be on your way to creating your own, wholly exclusive beadwork.

Anybody can, in a matter of minutes, learn the essential mechanics of bead craft, but the real artistry, and the part that takes longer to master, is learning the art of patterning. My suggestion to newbies would be simply this: Try developing bead craft patterns on your own, but do not force it. If it's something you're struggling with, search out bead craft resource web sites on the web for pattern ideas and practice with those. Sooner or later, something will "click" inside your head, and you'll find yourself branching out in your own way.

Patience and practice. These are the real keys to mastering the craft, and coming up with original, innovative beadwork.




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