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Beading Design Process

Beading design process by Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Of all the questions I get asked, probably the most common is about my beading design process. It also happens to be one of the most difficult questions to answer. I mean, most of the time, I have absolutely no idea where my designs come from!

But, just occasionally, I produce a design that has a clear path of development and some origins that I can actually trace. So, since I’ve just come up with one such design, I thought it would be a good way to give you an insight into how my beading design process can work…sometimes!

What is the beading design I’m talking about?

Well, it’s my beaded snow globe. The true origin of this design goes back a couple of years. You’d be surprised how often someone emails me and asks if I can make a specific thing. In this case, a lady left a comment on one of my social media posts to ask if I could make a snow globe.

Now, the idea immediately appealed. But I had no clue how to turn it into reality. So, when this happens, I tend to just allow the idea to float around in my head. I know that if it’s ‘meant’ to be, it will evolve. Then, at the right time, I’ll see my path to creating it.

Sometimes that part of the process happens in a few days. In this case, I think it took a couple of years!

Why now?

Well, I think there are a few reasons why I’ve suddenly found the inspiration to create the snow globe.

Firstly, I’ve just published my third children’s book. It is actually a sequel to the book I published last year, ‘Elf’s Big Adventure.’ Elf proved to be a popular character, both with my nieces who inspired the book, and with the young readers who enjoyed the original.

So, I found myself taking Elf on another adventure. This time he goes through the Magic Portal. Now, I’m not going to spoil the story here. But I will say that a snow globe proved to be a very important piece of equipment in Elf’s new adventure. So, if you want to find out why, you can get a copy of ‘Elf and the Magic Portal’ at this link.

Illustration from 'Elf and the Magic Portal' by Katie Dean. How does this feed into my beading design process...?

So, clearly snow globes were front of my mind.

Now, the next link came from my beaded lantern designs. Although the first design I’ve published is for a Halloween lantern, my original ideas were for Christmas lanterns.

So, it was as I discovered I could use clear beads and clear thread to create a glass effect, that I made the connection. Glass snow globe!

Now I had an image in my head, I had discovered the best materials to use. So, next came the techniques. All the beaded boxes I’ve created had supplied me with the techniques I would need for the basic structure. I just had one more idea to test…

How to make beaded beads online class with Katie Dean

That’s right…a possible technique for creating a sphere. So, that’s how – or rather, why – my online beaded beads class emerged.

The beading design process

Well, that’s taken you through the basic beading design process.

Step 1 – think of an idea

Step 2 – turn it over in your mind and let it take shape. What beads will you need? What techniques will work best?

Then, comes step 3…start beading.

This is the part of the process where it can all go horribly wrong. The trick is to really know your beading techniques inside out. So, if you have aspirations to become a designer, that’s the first place to start.

Learn as many techniques as you can. Practice them over and over until you understand exactly how they work. What are they good for? When will they not work as well?

That takes out some of the risk. So, to some degree, you can foresee what is likely to happen.

However, it’s not bullet proof! There will always be times when beads don’t behave as you expect. For example, in my Halloween lantern, the glass beads really appear to be very transparent.

With the snow globe, they didn’t look quite as clear. I suspect it has to do with the difference in stitch structure. I used tubular Peyote for the lantern glass and circular Peyote for the snow globe glass. So, the effect I have is a little like a blizzard!

But the point is, this part of the beading design process is all about trial and error. So, when things don’t work as you planned, can you find a new way to execute your ideas?

If you really want to know more about how all this feels – and looks – then have a watch of the video I made about my beaded snow globe. That will give you a really good insight into the beading design process.

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