Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Seeds of Invention

Many jewelry designers start out in the beginning of their learning process using seed beads and then somehow gradually move away from seed beads in their designs as they begin to use lampwork, ceramic, polymer clay and other kinds of art beads. But there are many ways that colorful, fun and simple seed beads can fit into a sophisticated jewelry design and work well with art beads as the finishing touch.

This design by Lorelei Eurto uses a Humblebead's chrysanthemum bead, wire, metal chain and seed beads combined with metal charms. The seed beads add texture, color and a lighthearted touch to the design. The tone and matte finish of the seed beads works perfectly with the warm metal and focal bead colors, and there's something very attractive about all those tiny bead shapes in a strand like this.

This Lotus Flower Bracelet signature cuff bracelet design with Heather's lotus flower art bead six-hole divider combines seed beads with crystals, pearls and stones. Beautiful colors, totally compatible with a great jewelry design and using seed beads blended with an art bead spacer to make a unified color statement that's linear and balanced.

I've been doing some reading about the history of crafts and found out about a designer named Ramona Solberg, a legendary groundbreaker in jewelry design from the 1960's who created a series of this style of necklace using strands of various shimmery colors of seed beads combined onto wire like the one pictured at the left. It's almost structural, and the colors and textures are really unique.

One of the very best things about seed beads is that they are easily available, come in multitudes of rainbow colors, in glossy and matte finishes, and they are very inexpensive. And that leaves you more money to invest in your art beads and special finishing items!

Here is a trellis bracelet tutorial by Heather on her blog that shows how to use seed beads to create your clasp for a bracelet. Let's add versatile to the list of descriptions for seed beads.

Stretching your art bead budget using colorful seed beads is a very good thing!


Lisa said...

I could not find Heather's trellis bracelet tutorial. I looked on her blog and in the tutorials. Help?

Heather Powers said...

Hi Lisa,
Here is the link:

I added it to the post too. Thanks for letting me know.

And thank you Lynn for featuring my work in your write up on seed beads. I have to say, I use them in so many different ways. I love them! I always have antique copper and nickel seed beads that go in almost every design.

Joy aka Goddessjoy said...

So true! I started with seed beads (literally, seeds! and glass seed beads) when I was 12. Moved away from them and have recently 'rediscovered' them. I love mixing different colors, textures, and sizes to add texture to a piece, or to unify a design.

I think they've very overlooked outside of the bead weaving community. So nice to see them given props today!

AJ said...

Personally, I love to combine beadweaving and art beads. It's just a matter of either using a lightweight art bead, or reinforcing the weaving with wire, chain, or cable.

Thank you Lynn for giving the seed beads some love today :D

Lorelei said...

Hey Lynn!
Thanks for featuring my necklace in your post today! I almost forgot about that necklace... seems like so long ago!

Hey Heather!
I some time ago, bought a strand of copper metal seed beads and LOVED them. They are almost gone. But I can't remember where I got them, I think it might have been a bead expo. Do you have any good suppliers?

Heather Powers said...

Lorelei, I blogged about metal seed beads today: is my favorite place for copper seed beads.