And the Bead Goes On

February 16, 2010

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As one source from the turn of the last century tells us, bead embroidery is at least as old as ancient Egypt. According to the EoVN “the small globules or balls now called beads, either made of iron, pearl, garnet, amber or crystal, were used as ornaments in pre-historic times.” Through all those years beads have embellished all manner of embroidery, and other items, including Berlin work pieces, purses and clothing.

Jane Davis’ excellent book, Bead Embroidery: The Complete Guide, teaches how to “revitalize classic embroidery stitches for a contemporary look simply by adding beads to your needlework.” What I like most about this book is the wonderful, and helpful, photographs that show how the individual stitches look embellished with beads. Divided into sections, the book covers the basics, the stitches and the projects. There is also a glossary and list of supply sources. The book is available at all the usual retail outlets.

While this particular book is not historical in nature it does help teach a skill rooted deeply in history. I like that because, while this day is all about throwing the beads, we need to remember the history of embroidering with them.

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