BCP 16 | Bead Origami with Cindy Holsclaw

CHolsclawCindy Holsclaw is a bead artist and a scientist specializing in beaded art inspired by geometry, chemistry, and biology. Her fascination with new and interesting beading structures permeates her jewelry designs. Cindy’s strong foundation as an academic shapes her writing skills, and she enjoys teaching beadweaving classes across the country. She is an attentive and patient instructor during class, and her beading patterns are fully illustrated and complete with troubleshooting tips and design variations.

In my interview with Cindy, we discuss how molecules & origami became Cindy’s go to inspirations, as well as some tips to help you hone your geometric beady skills.

Enjoy the interview!


Show Notes

Tila Garden Pendant by Cindy Holsclaw

Tila Garden Pendant by Cindy Holsclaw

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Want to win a pattern from Cindy? All you have to do is leave a comment below answering this question: Do you have a freeform brain or a geometric brain? Be sure to include your email address and I will randomly select the winner next week. Update: The winner is…Lisa Ballowe! Thanks to all who participated in this discussion, you left some very insightful comments!

{ 84 comments… add one }
  • avatar Romana Tschunko August 8, 2014, 10:25 am

    Geometric, most of times, but I like to jump to freeform from time to time 😀 Romana

  • avatar Becki Coffman August 8, 2014, 10:54 am

    I tend towards a geometric bend—but want to widen out to be more free form .

  • avatar Vera August 8, 2014, 11:00 am

    Geometric brain!

  • avatar Sue Kirby August 8, 2014, 11:03 am

    I love the look of the finished geometric bead work, but my brain works more in free form. So I follow the pattern for the sharp angles and such. If I make it on my own, it has lots of curves and color.

  • avatar Amenia Mandregan August 8, 2014, 11:13 am

    I would a free form mind. I like being free to think out of the box whenever I choose to take a project to a level that I have never been.

  • avatar Sharon Wagner August 8, 2014, 11:14 am

    Geometric…..I have a very hard time with freeform and asymmetric construction. I love the challenge of 3D geometric construction. I’ve been playing with 3D beaded beads since 2006, just like Cindy!

  • avatar Lisa Ballowe August 8, 2014, 11:15 am

    Hi Mandi! I still prefer the word free form. And I do prefer to do free form work…peyote and embroidery. That is how my brain works. However, I too am a sponge for beading knowledge and really love the way geometric beading looks. I just have a more difficult time doing it. It does not come easily for me but I do it anyway on occasion.

  • avatar Carla Mazzone August 8, 2014, 11:16 am

    Although I retired from a very detail oriented job with lots of rules and structure (oncology research nurse) I find myself drawn to the organic rhythms of art, particularly beading and fiber where anything goes! Maybe that is my release but I am so anxious for your new book to come out, Mandi. Also would love to have one of Cindy’s patterns!

  • avatar Ellen August 8, 2014, 11:30 am

    I am both free form as well as geometric. I have been doining a lot of experimenting as well as learning new stitches an using things I have been learning in one piece such as necklace etc. I love learning and experimenting.

  • avatar Cheryl August 8, 2014, 11:44 am

    Hi Mandi!

    I am a freeform beader that would love to learn geometric because I really have a hard time picturing geometric shapes! If it wasn’t for my Dad I would have flunked Geometry! I love bead embroidery and freeform peyote! Hey, I love to try new things and want to try geometric beading if I have someone to teach me!

  • avatar Audrey Fong August 8, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Definitely a geometric brain but I’m learning to think outside of the box 😉

  • avatar Kathy August 8, 2014, 12:21 pm

    Great interview! and very hard to choose between geometric or freeform / organic. I do enjoy both but tend to lean more toward the organic.

    Kathy B

  • avatar Georgette Sahm August 8, 2014, 12:26 pm

    I definitely have a geometric mind. I once bought a pattern for free form peyote! My friends still kid me about it! I do enjoy bead embroidery, bead crochet and beaded beads. I have to have a set plan before I begin any project. 😉

  • avatar P Ackerley August 8, 2014, 1:07 pm

    Sadly I am a “geometric brain” kind of person, I enjoy this kind of beadwork but I also wish I could do the free form sort. I admire the work of free form brain people and I have tried but it’s just not “in” me to be that random and carefree!

  • avatar Roberta Siegel August 8, 2014, 1:09 pm

    I am more of a free form gal, but I am beginning to appreciate geometric patterns as well. It is so intriguing to see the forms come together in a mathematic way. I don’t much like math, but I am appreciating the beauty of it late in life.

  • avatar Chris August 8, 2014, 1:18 pm

    Free form for the most part. Sometimes those free form designs get transferred to graph paper and then I guess they become geometric defined designs. I am an artist, far from my scientist son-in-law, who amazes me. I would love to win. I can follow directions from mathameticians and scientists, and always love a good challenge. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • avatar Chris August 8, 2014, 1:38 pm

    Organic? Hmmm, totally different opinion now. My passion is bead woven designs. I just recently achieved Juried status with the PA Guild of Craftsmen for my bead woven work. One of my pieces began with the image of a black leather purse in the shape of a business envelope. I sketched it on paper, transferred it to graph paper, and it turned out to be a more triangular design. I found working on the graph paper, a more extended design, with more interest and dimension. I loved the end result. To me, that is free form ( thinking) turned into a geometric design. Organic, to me, is totally free form, such as in an embroidered bead woven design, such as the beautiful work of Sherri Serafini and Heide Klumme and Jamie Cloud-Eakins. I hope I got their names right.
    Then, of course, there are the masters of geometric design, who are the scientists and mathameticians.
    A great topic for debate. I love bead woven designs, …… In any form!

  • avatar Mel August 8, 2014, 2:12 pm

    I have a geometric brain … most of the time. I like slipping off to the dark side of free-form occasionally.
    Love, love Cindy’s designs!

  • avatar Kassie Shaw August 8, 2014, 2:13 pm

    I am definitely geometric!! I love math and shapes. Geometry was not my favorite in school but I am learning more and more now that I love to play with beads!

  • avatar Cindy Vaughn August 8, 2014, 2:35 pm

    I definitely have a geometric brain set! I tend to arrange things symmetrically, and go with confidence into projects that have definite, familiar shapes & finite edges & endings. I often admire free form work, but even when I force myself to try a more freeform design, I am full of hesitancy, which is probably why I have abandoned most of the attempts in the UFO storage area, complete with all their possible components. I believe it is important to try things that may not come easily to you, or maybe make you a little less than comfortable–this can be the beginning of a great learning experience. That said, those UFOs are still there! From time to time, I get one out of its prison & work on it just a little. When I leave it with even a small addition, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, even though it may be far from complete. Baby steps are the beginning of any journey!

  • avatar Maureen Lord August 8, 2014, 2:51 pm

    I’m another geometric beader and struggle to be happy with any freeform I’ve done although I love seeing freeform beadwork and trying to figure out why I like or dislike that piece.

  • avatar Becky August 8, 2014, 3:48 pm

    I think I would prefer freeform, but am interested in geometrical designs as well.. Hard to pick!

  • avatar Benita Randle August 8, 2014, 4:24 pm

    Geometric – finite shapes and “even-ness” appeal to me. However when it comes to doing the math of some projects I put it off as long as I can!

  • avatar Shawnell Jenkins August 8, 2014, 5:17 pm

    I do a lot of geometric designs, but I also like to make things that are unusual so the only way for me to do that is to delve into the occasional free-form design.

  • avatar Karen Dove August 8, 2014, 7:29 pm

    All I can do is follow patterns…I don’t think up patterns.

  • avatar Dottie Kirk August 8, 2014, 7:50 pm

    I definitely have a geometric brain. Grew up with artistic parents and most things were symmetrical. LOL For the most part, I still prefer things this way but not always.

    beading with a smile, dottie

  • avatar katie phillips August 8, 2014, 9:59 pm

    free-form mind, but love geometric patterns. :)

  • avatar Claire Crouchley August 9, 2014, 4:21 am

    Definitely a geometric brain (with the occasional foray into freeform!)

  • avatar Mulene August 9, 2014, 7:33 am

    Geometric for sure! I love geometric shapes and forms, am a big big fab if Art Deco and love seeing what can be produced architecturally in geometric beadwork.

  • avatar Carla August 9, 2014, 3:23 pm

    I guess you could say that I have a geometric brain. Freeform does not compute and I definitely cannot do random with my eyes open.

  • avatar Claudia August 9, 2014, 3:37 pm

    love geometric but sometimes it MUST be free-formed

  • avatar Solea. Rose August 9, 2014, 10:57 pm

    I am a bit of both truly. The inner child in me starts out with free forms, generous sizes, ideas and colors. Then suddenly I realize I am trying to match everything up evenly, repeat colors and patterns, and now I am way too geometric and squared away. Sometimes I look at a piece that I started a while back, and think, ” It’s almost like two different people stitched this, and they were were opposing forces.” My child wants out to play, but my controlling critical adult ( in the high pitched condescending voice of my 6-9th grade teacher) says, ” What are you thinking! Color inside the lines. No room for anything but matching.”

  • avatar Tammy Bowman August 10, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Absolutely without a doubt…geometric brain! I used to love those tests where objects were flipped around and you had to find the two that matched. I sort tubes of ‘bead soup.’

  • avatar Judie Swan August 10, 2014, 6:21 pm

    I am more geometric, wish I was more free form though.

  • avatar Rebecca Colegrove July 18, 2015, 6:12 pm

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