How To Become A Beading Master

my freshly finished Delight Cuff

I received an email the other day asking about how I “mastered” beading, and if I had any tips to share. I wrote a pretty detailed email with all my tips and suggestions, and I think it really boils down to two things:

  1. Be a Sponge
  2. Apply Yourself

What does it mean to be a master?

Before discussing how to become a master, it is important to think about what that will look like to you. Does it mean learning all the stitches and techniques in the bead world? Does it mean utilizing them to create your own designs or to be able to complete advanced projects? Maybe it means to explore one aspect or technique of beading thoroughly, and to develop your own style much like Sherry Serafini and bead embroidery. Maybe you’re a visionary like me and want to elevate beading to art. Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy the journey.

my stack of Beadweaving Master Class books from Lark

Be a Sponge

When I first started, I didn’t take any classes or have access to bead stores. I just became a sponge of learning from books and magazines, and when I mastered one thing, I would try something a little harder. The Beadweaving Master Class series by Lark is amazing, and I subscribe to both Beadwork and Bead & Button magazines. With the internet its even easier! There are some really great free tutorials online, and Christina of Good Quill Hunting has rounded up some of the best in this list.

Many designers sell their tutorials on Etsy and Artfire, so it’s easy to search and find something you’re interested in. Some of my favorites are Smadar Grossman, Mikki Ferrugiaro, Carol Dean Sharpe, and Heather Collin just to name a few.

Learning from videos is great because you can pause and rewind as often as you like. The Auntie’s Beads Channel on You Tube has a wide variety of tutorials, and they are easy to follow. If you would like to learn some fabulous projects from masters like Jill Wiseman and Maggie Meister, give Beaducation and CraftEdu a try.

Beading Forums like the one at Beading Daily are great resources for asking questions and showing off your creations.

However there’s something to be said about learning from the masters themselves. I just signed up for a class with Laura McCabe through the Dallas Bead Society. I also learned more about being a bead artist in my 3 days with NanC Meinhardt than from anywhere else.

Apply Yourself

If you want to become a master, make your beadwork a priority. I know for some of us beading a necessity of life, so this part is easy for us! Doing a little reading, learning, and practicing can go a long way, even if you can only find 30 minutes a day. If you think you will have trouble finding time, consider my 5 ideas for making time to bead. Another great resource is the free E-book titled Time Management for Creative People by Mark McGuinness.

I have been following Mandy Duffy’s blog about “365 days of a beginning beader’s self-taught lessons” and have been impressed with her progress. I think it’s so inspiring for other beaders to see, and she’s proof that this stuff works!

Final Thoughts

I wrote my thoughts on this topic to inspire and encourage those that have a passion for beading, and want to become very good at what they do. I also feel that its important to think about what that means for you, and not to compare yourself to other people. I’ve been guilty of that myself. What I want for all of us can be summed up in my tagline for this site: to learn, grow, and elevate beading to art. Thanks for being a part of the bead circle.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • avatar Mandy September 17, 2011, 12:12 am

    What a great email Mandi! I love Lark’s Master series also, and the resources you mentioned are so helpful! And thank you so much for the shout about my blog. It’s only through blogs and inspiration from folks like you and the rest of the beading blogosphere that can make a 365 project like mine happen! Thanks Mandi, and you bet I’ll keep back here!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth September 20, 2011, 11:43 am

    Glad you found some new things in the resources. I really love your blog! Keep up the great work, and thanks for commenting, Mandy :)

  • avatar Sally Anderson September 20, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Hi Mandi, Is it okay if a non-Mandy comments? heehee I loved this blog post, too. Was happy to see my friend Mandy mentioned. I just wanted to tell you that I’ve struggled to learn cubic right angle weave but Heather Collins, one of the bead mavens, came out with a video, and it clicked. So what you’re saying is SO true! Thanks.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth October 3, 2011, 8:19 pm

    Heather’s video was awesome and I know many beaders who benefitted from it and I’m glad you did as well :) Thanks so much for commenting, Sally!

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