Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beading Book Reviews

9/10ths of the beadweavers of my acquaintance recommend Carol Huber Cypher's Mastering Beadwork. I was a bit ambivalent. I love bead books but try not to collect every one ever printed in English.

I subscribe to Bead&Button and Beadwork magazine, both of which focus on beadweaving. Even when I was strictly stringing I enjoyed those two which seemed to offer more than the eyecandy offered by Stringing or Step by Step Beads (which now has much more beadweaving than it used to). I even subscribed to the old Lapidary Journal, even though I don't do that sort of thing.

No, I'm not knocking stringing-- I do plenty of it, but I have an artist's independent soul and am past the point, if I was ever there exactly, where I want anyone to tell me how to string beads, thanks. Maybe I just love the mystery of 'things I can't do'.

Though I own quite a few bead books, the best of which is Robert Liu's Collectible Beads, none are beadweaving which is the most recently acquired skill in my jewelry making set.

As for my magazines, after I scan them, read the features and mark projects I may want to look at again you can find me laboring over Tips and Techniques or Basics as I try to wrap my mind around where the needle goes next in a stitch I'm trying to learn. Still with all the hoopla I really wondered if I needed this book.

Then Crafter's Choice sent a mailer that featured it and it would basically run me $7 if I added a few more books. $7 is unbeatable. The list price is $25. So I bit the bullet and bought the book along with Theresa Flores Geary's the illustrated bead bible, Juju Vail's The Beader's Handbook and Barbara Case's Making Jewelry with Gemstone Beads.

After looking through Mastering Beadwork I understand why Marlaine of Rainy Lane said it wasn't really for beginners. I wouldn't want to teach myself peyote from this-- please-- go get a few copies of Bead&Button and Beadwork and labor over Tips and Techniques or Basics.

I also understand why Carol Dean Sharpe of Sandfibers and Triz Tager of Triz Designs and others love the book!

Now that I've taught myself peyote, brick stitch, ladder stitch, right angle weave, square stitch, netting, herringbone and Ndebele (boy, I've been busy!) I'm so glad I have this book to help me go farther!

Just in the first section are awesome tips about bead mats, needles and their differences, keeping a journal, bead color consideration, and ergonomic tips. Then she has sections devoted to different types of beadwork. I can already tell that this book will be extremely useful as I better my craft.

As for the rest of the books I picked up, Geary's bead bible is the best of the lot. It's a nice little bead dictionary, a nice gift or addition to a bead lover's library. If you're a beginning beader the others may be of use.

If you're somewhat past the start of your beading journey save your bucks and pick up Creative Bead Weaving or The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells. They're the next books on my list.

Thoughts? Have a favorite or not so favorite book? Give us a heads up!


  1. After reading this article, I will add this book to my list of beading books I want.

  2. I love to look through beading books. I read lots of them. I don't own even one. I get Bead & Button, & buy SBS more often than not. If I need to look up a stitch, I go to the internet.

    The only book I've seen that I would want to own is 500 Beaded Objects, but I just keep getting it from the public library.

    I think it's a combination of being monumentally cheap, scared of inadvertent copying, and not wanting to add more books to my ridiculously large library

  3. I borrowed The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving from the library and renewed it a couple of times. It's definitely on my list of beading books to own!

  4. I have "Mastering Beadweaving", "Creative Beadweaving", "The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving" and I picked up the one that I believe Mary Lou recommended, "The Beader's Guide to Color" by Margie Deeb. I have a couple of the "Best of Bead & Button" books as well. Oh, and I have "Beadweaving Brilliance" by Kumiko Mizuno Ito. My problem is that I haven't had enough time to really get into any of them. It's probably better that way since the photos inspire, but I haven't actually made anything from the patterns in them.

  5. I have to admit..Your work is something else..You must have alot of patience to do the wonderful work you do..

  6. Thanks for posting this, Sarah! It's a great resource!