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

More listening options:

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 Sharon R. Linder July 30, 2014, 4:42 pm

    A geometric brain..everything is organized…somewhat…

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth July 30, 2014, 5:02 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Sharon! I like how you added “somewhat” in there, hehe. I’m looking forward to seeing if there or more geometric or freeform brains :)

  • avatar Doreen July 30, 2014, 5:27 pm

    I hope I have a freeform brain, because I so badly want to make a bracelet.

  • avatar Carol Hettenbach July 30, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Really depends on the medium I am working with.. I love free form but right now the beads I am working with seem to lend more towards geometric.. Just finished a pendent and earrings in circles.. now working on a necklace in strictly square form.

  • avatar Carol July 30, 2014, 5:57 pm

    I’m geometric all the way. No rules makes me really nervous!

  • avatar Louise D July 30, 2014, 6:39 pm

    I have a geometric brain. I enjoyed Cindy’s webinar.

  • avatar Debra Schwartz July 30, 2014, 9:05 pm

    Hi Mandi :) I think my brain is a little bit of both. I really enjoy making geometric shapes and designs but I can also create freeform flowing designs. I absolutely love Cindy’s designs!!!

  • avatar Janet July 30, 2014, 9:25 pm

    I think I’m more left-brained, so I’d have to say I’m more geometric. I enjoyed this discussion with Cindy. Loved hearing about the scientific inspirations! Like a chemistry beading class!

  • avatar Alexis July 30, 2014, 9:27 pm

    Geometric, definitely … Freeform is a challenge. Sometimes I am challenging myself. Rarely. LOL

  • avatar Bev Dowdy July 30, 2014, 9:28 pm

    Hi Mandi,
    I would say I have a freeform brain, I am a visual person so I put my bead boxes on the floor and let the beads and gemstones talk to me. There is nothing wrong with letting your imagination take you where ever as long as you are creating. :)

  • avatar Karen July 31, 2014, 6:42 am

    Definitely geometric!!! My brain cells hurt when I try something freeform!!!

  • avatar Sharon DeVault July 31, 2014, 9:32 am

    Definitely geometric!! Freeform makes me nervous…

  • avatar Diana Coe July 31, 2014, 9:47 am

    Geometric all the way – no doubt :) Freeform just looks “messy” to me …

  • avatar Linda July 31, 2014, 10:14 am

    I have a free form brain—I love your designs–thanks for the chance to win a pattern….

  • avatar Elizabeth July 31, 2014, 10:29 am

    Definitely geometric – I’m a retired engineer.

  • avatar Meredith Lesly July 31, 2014, 11:43 am

    Geometric beading, especially beaded beads. I love the work of both Bead Origami and Bead Infinitum.

  • avatar Donie July 31, 2014, 11:50 am

    Definitely geometric….my brain will not accept freeform, it must be specific. I did enjoy Cindy’s discussion.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth July 31, 2014, 11:53 am

    Wow, I’m surprised its overwhelmingly geometric! Where are the bead embroidery people?? That falls under freeform, too :)

  • avatar Shaman Magee July 31, 2014, 12:02 pm

    I am very geometric. Freeform is extremely difficult for me. It is almost painful. I tries to stretch myself and took a free form necklace class and ended up very frustrated and never finished which is a shame because I really love the look of free form

  • avatar Penny Pearce July 31, 2014, 12:03 pm

    I have a geometric brain with freeform struggling to get noticed. I have bit of a problem with asymmetrical designs!

  • avatar Beverly Love July 31, 2014, 4:16 pm


  • avatar Kori Mulholland July 31, 2014, 4:42 pm

    I have a hard time with free form, I need to have a plan and structure. It always takes on a life of its own though :)

  • avatar Onye July 31, 2014, 5:43 pm

    I imagine that most everyone knows by now that my brain is geometric. And if I ever want to go roam around in someone else’s geometric brain, Cindy is in the top 5 (alongside Gwen Fisher, Martina Nagele, George Hart, and Bin Yah-Jin). <3

    By the way, I can't download the MP3. Would really like to listen off-line since I'm traveling this weekend…

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth July 31, 2014, 6:04 pm

    The link is working now, thanks!

  • avatar Lara D July 31, 2014, 10:44 pm

    Both: Free form in the early stages of design, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, I love it when things fit!

  • avatar carolina saqueton July 31, 2014, 11:41 pm

    My brain is geometric.

  • avatar Jane August 1, 2014, 12:50 am

    Such an interesting question that I’ve really had to think about! If I’d had to answer instantly I think I would have said freeform but after careful consideration I think I’m more geometric, especially with beading.

  • avatar Karen Thibault August 1, 2014, 2:31 am

    I must admit I’m a mood beader, very geometric when I’m feeling organized and logical – but – free form when random acts of kindness just won’t do! I love, enjoy and am proficient in both styles. I love the bead!

  • avatar Dian August 1, 2014, 8:42 am

    I’m mathematical all the way-geometric brain included!

  • avatar Simpy August 1, 2014, 2:43 pm

    Hope to reach the free form site of belading and life….

  • avatar Peggy August 1, 2014, 4:31 pm

    Definitely geometric! I have done only one freeform piece and I am happy with it, but it took me a long time to get past my lack of understanding of freeform. Like Cindy, I have a chemistry background and I love, love, love what she’s doing with it! I crave making little bead boxes following Julia Pretl’s inspiration and I can’t wait for the next installment of Kate McKinnon’s “Contemporary Geometric Beadwork”! I can just stare at the pictures! Now I want to make a molecule! :-)

  • avatar Lisa August 8, 2014, 7:06 am

    Definitely Geometric, I have to have structure. I would never be able to say I was finished if I were to try freeform!

  • avatar Sue August 8, 2014, 7:23 am

    After 3 strokes, I am thankful that I do beadwork..it is slow and takes time but is beautiful.. I would like to win a free tutorial! Thank you for the offer to win!!

  • avatar Natasha Wiegelman August 8, 2014, 7:29 am

    Geometric for sure. I have such a hard time coming up with freeform designs.

  • avatar BernieB August 8, 2014, 7:30 am

    I am definitely a free form brain. But my origins are geometric.

  • avatar Robin L Horowitz August 8, 2014, 7:32 am

    Interesting you should ask…. I really love the look of symmetrical objects but when I do any designing or a choosing a tutorial my eye goes t0 asymmetrical designs. That being said I love the freedom of of
    free form/organic. No rules!! I struggle with written instructions. Visually it makes more sense. I love beading in any style but when I can follow my own path it make me more comfortable!!!

  • avatar Amy August 8, 2014, 7:34 am

    I’m totally a geometric gal! Math and Chemistry were 2 of my favorite courses in school.

  • avatar Annelie Storbjörk August 8, 2014, 7:38 am

    I don’t know. Maybe a little of both. My first beading was freeform, did not know any techniques just beaded with seedbeads and thread. Love organic forms, flowers, butterflies, paisley etc. But lately I have been trying to learn all geometric sculptural forms it is so intriguing and exciting to understand how there forms are built. So I have a love for order too, just add a bit whimsy to it.

  • avatar Mary August 8, 2014, 7:53 am

    I love the term organic I start something and it always turns out to be something else!

  • avatar Becky Carr August 8, 2014, 7:55 am

    I have a geometric brain. Teaching accounting for 26 years, I am very linear. Free form is very scary to me!

  • avatar Ruth Camack August 8, 2014, 7:56 am

    Am the exception I guess as I like free form best. I have done bead embroidery, bead crochet and started a necklace in free form – my first. Unfortunately I must count it as a learning experience cause I am going to take it apart and start again but feel I did learn from this trial piece.
    Interesting discussion and I am amazed at just how many lean to geometric.,


  • avatar Deb Dunn August 8, 2014, 8:03 am

    I am completely free form..luckily I live with someone geometric or my life would be chaos.

  • avatar Phyllis Dintenfass August 8, 2014, 8:20 am

    I am a dichotomy; my brain is definitely NOT geometric, but I find geometric beadwork soothing; i.e. I was terrible in algebra and great in geometry in high school. I “discovered” cylinder beads when starting to tackle geometric beadwork because of the nice fit. I love texture, too, so am now doing CRAW with seed beads, thus combining the two.

  • avatar Debra J Webb August 8, 2014, 8:58 am

    I believe in holistic healthy lifestyle with balance, versatility, flexibility and harmony. I integrate both left and right brain and introvert and extrovert qualities into being an ambivert and a mixed medias crafter sewist artisan. I use both free form styles and also incorporate some geometrics into my arts! Happy creative inspirations blessings! 😉 <3

  • avatar Joyce Standige August 8, 2014, 9:03 am

    I think I’m a freak: ADD. I try to make everything geometric for some order but can’t resist adding a little freeform craziness. I worked as an Executive Assistant for about 20 years and graphically designed molecules. Always felt like an artist. Enjoyed your podcast with Cindy, Mandi, very much. Thanks!

  • avatar Victoria Lane August 8, 2014, 9:11 am

    Geometric definitely. I like structure. :)

  • avatar Paula Clouse August 8, 2014, 9:13 am

    I am going to admit to not being able to listen to the interview as I am hearing impaired. I know I am geometric and usually have to force myself even to do something asymmetrical. I haven’t tried anything free form as I think it would have my OCD trying to balance and put it into a geometric order.

  • avatar Susan Charette-Hood August 8, 2014, 9:38 am

    Definitely NOT geometric! Sometimes I don’t even follow the pattern I am using….I add my own spinoffs!


  • avatar Anita Peacock August 8, 2014, 10:19 am

    Geometric. I absolutely love how Cindy incorpoates her scientific interests and knowledge into her beadwork art. It just goes to show how beautiful molecules can be when represented by bead form! :)

  • avatar Judi decker August 8, 2014, 10:23 am

    I enjoy both! I am always in awe of the geometrics, that is why I buy your patterns.

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