Thursday, July 11, 2019

To bead or not to bead ...

is not the question. I'm a bead junkie! So the question is rather: why do I bead and why we should all transmit our passion for beading to other people during International Beading Week (and beyond).

I am a permanent International Beading Week Ambassador. I am not paid for this. I have discovered the magic of beading thanks to generous, kind souls who transmitted it to me for free, and I want to pay it forward. IBW is about sharing passion, friendship, and making this world a better one, one bead at a time.

Many beaders start beading because a friend showed how to make something beautiful. Others started beading because they needed something to change their mind from something frightening... like illness and treatments, or to have something to keep their hands busy... Some do it for cultural reasons, some bead to make a living.. but most bead because it is simply so good...

"After the Rain" glass tubes and
metallic round beads
Yes, beading is good. It is grounding. It is fun. It is beautiful.

And... colors do good.

Chromotherapy has been used since times forgotten by humans and left aside by modern medicine. It is fortunately making a come back, because it has proven to be healing, physically and mentally.

I think that this is one of the reasons why I can't stop beading. It is my colortherapy.

After the many years that I bead, I know now that if I listen well, my body will choose what feels right. I've beaded with all colors, starting with blue, then green, brown and gray, later pink, purple, orange and yellow. The last two were my least favorite colors until I started beading rainbows; now I don't know how I could live without them. I love red too. It is always very intense, and after making something with red, it takes me a moment until I want to use it again.

Meryl bracelet - a free
pattern made for IBW 2018
My "need" for colors resulted in a lovely stash. I have beads in colors which I absolutely "had to have" but beaded nothing with. Just having them, looking at them was enough. I know that I will make something with these beads one day.

The healing properties of colors might also be the reason why, after having beaded during many years, you suddenly have a blockage or no more desire to bead, or no more interest in using this or that color. Maybe you've healed something in you without knowing about it.
It's a bit like a sailboat waiting for wind. While waiting for the wind (or here your muse) to come back, you can do other things...  like beading rainbows. Because rainbows will make you feel good. Always.

International Beading Week logo. 
We bead rainbows in the International Beading Week Group year long challenge.
I created Anthea's Tiara (which won a gold medal in the Fire Mountain gems and Beads beading contest last year) by making each month one element in one color of the IBW banner.
Anthea's Tiara
The free pattern for the Meryl bracelet is still available on my website (and will remain free).

This year I beaded bolas canastas in the colors of the IBW logo, and the instructions for them will soon be available there too, as well as in the IBW group on Facebook. I will also make a video to explain the method.

Rainbolas - tiny bolas canastas - this is the project
for International Beading Week 2019
Not only does beading do good, but as far as I'm concerned, beading prevents me from going nuts. Thanks to beading and the Internet, I am blessed with lots of online friends, like-minded people I would love to meet in person but cannot because of my health. If you can, don't hesitate and go to a beaders meeting. You'll have a blast! And if you cannot attend one of the events listed on the BWG website, then create one yourself!
Farfalle stitch - Rainbow Butterfly Cuff
Invite friends, or do a demo. You can do this anywhere! Sit at a café table or in a parc and take out those stunning beads and weave them together. Show your art to others, be proud. Don't forget to let the world know about it in the group and tell the Guild, and post lots of photos and videos of the fun!

Remember that beading might not be for everyone, but it might be the right thing for someone.
And we are there to help him/her find it!
Little Rainbow Warrior's ruff (2012)

International Beading Week is about our beautiful art, about friendship, about connectedness.
It is about raising awareness about our craft, making it better known, and recognized as a noble Art.
It is about raising awareness about ethics, and promoting our local bead shops, because we need them to continue sourcing beads and findings for us to enjoy.
It is also about raising funds for charities - for example, Jean Power's secret bead along is a  big success every year and all the procedures go to the charity of your choice.
During IBW, you can become a member of the Beadworkers Guild for a special price. Take advantage of this special offer to discover the quality of their magazine and projects. I love to read their articles.

The Guild also organizes a draw during IBW, in which you can win awesome prizes. To enter, you only need to send a beaded bead to the BWG for their beaded bead collection, which is a many yards-/meters-long beaded bead chain to enter. You can also bead a name badge, of which a photo is enough to enter.
Last but not the least: artists from all horizons offer free patterns of beautiful beadwork and beaded beads for free, to download either directly from the BWG page or from their websites. Visit this page for more information.


  1. I can relate to every word you wrote Cath! A friend of mine did introduce me to beading, beaded Kumihimo to be exact. I have always been drawn to creating with my hands. Whether it’s with food, fabric, paints or beads! And just seeing everyone’s art is so wonderful and inspiring. I will continue to create in my humble way and look forward to seeing others beautiful creations.

    1. Thank you for reading me and leaving a comment! I wish you a great International Beading Week. Happy beading!

  2. Two friends introduced me to beading Kumihimo. Since then they have ventured to other forms of beading with me. I LOVE the After the Rain bracelet. Is this a downloadable pattern or does it need to be purchased through a book? If so which book or where can I get the download? Thank you! Enjoyed your article!

    1. Hi! thank you for reading and commenting! The After the Rain bracelet doesn't exist as a pattern. It is an example of what you can do with Diamond Weave variation 7. In my book, Diamond Weave, you will find the basic stitch with all the variations explained in detail. It is available only here:

  3. Thank you for this article.
    I want to take exception to you referring to your beadwork as a craft; your beadwork is art if I have ever seen it.
    I started beadwork a couple years ago with beaded Kumihimo and quickly moved to other techniques as well. I buy beads just for the love of their color, some I may never use.
    And since joining several beading groups online and reading you blog I have been truly inspired and have pushed myself further than I ever dreamed I could do.
    Thank you Cath, you are a true bead artist and an inspiration to me.

  4. Hi sudu! thank you for this beautiful compliment! Just like any craft, beading requires skills, and I don't think of the word craft as something negative, or diminishing. Let me explain: painting can be just painting, but the result can be art. Paper cutting can be just cutting paper, but it can become something very artistic too. Beading can be just beading or become art. It is what you end up making thanks to the craft and the level of skills that will determine how artfull the end result is. And in my books, something really artistic has something to say or a meaning, a message. I find that I don't always convey a message.


Your comments are welcome!