I was proud to be a backer of, and then a contributing artist to, Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading, written by my very good friend Karen Williams. Now that the book is finished, I'm thrilled to be a participant in Karen's online book tour.
Here's one of the pieces that appeared in the book. This is my Ocean necklace, my only multi-strand freeform piece to date. I chose to keep each strand simple so I didn't lose the wavy texture that early freeform sometimes has, and so that the strands wouldn't be overwhelming together.
I love everything about this piece but the clasp. It's small and silver, but the necklace needs something more fun. Colorful. I'll probably switch it to one of my vintage buttons. Maybe... a sparkly blue one. It would be more in keeping with the ocean theme.
This is a second piece of mine that appears in the book. Floral Fiesta started off with bold colors and a bead-embroidered rose, but that's as much planning as I did. I made each strap separately and then attached it to the focal piece instead of building directly off of the rose, just in case the components didn't work with each other. Luckily, they did!
I had so much fun with this one, I might make another version using my second rose. Or maybe I'll make a matching bracelet. We'll see....
Why I Love Explorations
Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading speaks to me for a lot of reasons. It's beautiful, from cover to cover; the diagrams and photos are gorgeous. It's beautifully written. The projects are varied, and they're not limited to jewelry. And with several backers and contributing artists, it has this great sense of community to it. Karen did the bulk of the work, for sure -- a superhuman amount of work -- but she also gave us a chance to participate. To be a part of something fantastic. That opportunity doesn't come along very often in books.
But the biggest reason is that for me, freeform is kind of... a way of life. I like starting my pieces off with only a vague idea of what they're going to look like, and I love the spur-of-the-moment decisions that make them go in completely new, and surprising, directions. As it turns out, that's the way I like my bead embroidery, my writing, my cooking... even my sewing. In a world where we're taught to plan everything (the dreaded five year business plan), and to follow directions to the very last detail, let's see what happens is immensely freeing.
But I'm getting too philosophical.
If you've never done freeform before, I strongly urge you to try it, even if it seems a little bit intimidating. Karen starts with simpler projects like rings and earrings and moves on to larger, more complicated pieces like sculptures. She also demonstrates through her sketches that freeform doesn't have to be completely unplanned. So even if you're not an unstructured person like me, you'll enjoy it.
In case you missed the link to the book the first time, here it is again. And here. And... here it is again! Oh, wait. Forget that last one. That one's... pretty random. I'm not even sure how that got here.
I'm just one stop on this book tour. Go to Karen's blog for a complete list of participants and for information on how you can win some terrific prizes, including your own copy of Explorations.
Now it's your turn: Do you have a copy of this book? What's your favorite part? If you don't have the book yet, what's your favorite part about freeform beading?
Thanks for reading and commenting, and special thanks to Karen for all her hard work. I honestly don't know how she does it!
Sarah J Sequins