Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: Free Form Peyote Stitch Book Roundup

With the publication of Karen Williams' new book Explorations in Free Form Peyote Beading, I am excited to see that freeform peyote stitch is getting on people's radar.  It is wonderful that  more and more folks are taking up beading with seed beads. To me, freeform peyote, is the ultimate fun and the greatest design generator of all the seed beading techniques out there.  So I am very excited about this new volume in  freeform peyote beading because it is going to make this beading format available to many more people.   For years there was a dearth of information on freeform peyote stitch.  I remember back in the late 90's when I was smitten with a freeform peyote stitch necklace I saw in Bead and Button magazine, that I had a hard time finding any information on how to make  one.  Finally I found the self published booklet by Jeannette Cook titled A Sculptural Peyote Projects Primer, and ordered a copy. It had originally been published in 1996 and was later revised in 2001.  It is a wonderful book and taught me all I  needed to know to start making those great cuffs and  necklaces.  But it only had pictures on the front and back covers.

 I still refer to this slim bible on freeform despite its black and white beading path illustrations because I find it to be very simple to understand and those few illustrations very inspiring.

                     Back cover of A Sculptural Peyote Projects Primer by Jeannette Cook

In 2000, Interweave Press published Beading with Peyote Stitch written by Jeannette Cook and Vicki Starr. Although most of this book is about flat, even and odd count, and tubular peyote, and sculptural peyote, there are some sections that cover freeform,  And there are many color illustrations.  This book has been a staple for many years for anyone wanting to learn peyote stitch beading techniques.

After the publication of the Interweave book,  it seemed freeform languished for a number of years until Karen Williams revitalized the scene with her book Freeform Peyote Beading in 2010.  Her 2010 book was full of color photos, beading diagrams and lots of information on design and color.  Karen filled a huge gap in the freeform beading knowledge base with this book

    One of my favorite techniques that I learned from Karen Williams is how to integrate the button and clasp loop into the bracelet as seen in the picture below of one of my bracelets.

And now, we have Karen Williams' newest book, Explorations in Freeform Beading, which continues the adventure and delves even deeper into being creative with freeform peyote stitch.  Not only is this a great resource and inspiration for anyone interested in freeform, it is a testament to the power of self publishing.  Karen set up a Kickstarter campaign to get this book up and running and was very successful at gathering the necessary funds and community support.  And equally important, she had the skills and the stamina to see this project through in the short year that she allowed herself to get it ready.  It is now available on Amazon and in her Etsy shop.  And most recently, she has gotten the ebook version off the ground!
 One of the significant differences between Karen Williams' two books is the inclusion of work by other bead artists in this one.  In fact, she gives in depth coverage to several so that you are learning how different artists create using free form peyote stitch.  Many of the roadblocks that discourage beaders new to peyote stitch are  addressed, especially the "ugly duckling stage" that most projects go through, and how to incorporate large stones, bead over found objects and more.
The other main difference is the attention paid to more advance freeform beading techniques making the book a valuable resource for beaders of all skill levels.
If you have an interest in advancing your freeform skills, or want to begin on a new adventure in freeform this book will teach and inspire you for many years to come. I hope you will check it out at your local bookstore, library, or favorite internet shop.


Kathy Lindemer said...

Great review, Mary.

KJ said...

I have some Beady Eyed Women's Guides- I think I might even have the original Jeannette Cook sculptural peyote book.

I have worked some of Karen's patterns and she provides a depth of guidance that is amazing. Her directions are easy to follow to a final finished piece. Based on my experience I would expect this book to provide all of the background and instruction to create unique pieces you can call our own and be quite proud of.

I have not gotten this publication yet, but it is on the list.