Posted on Leave a comment

Wrestling with beaded camels


Well, I’m long overdue an update on my beading. And, since I’m currently wrestling with beaded camels, this seemed like an interesting development to share with you all.

So, the idea of wrestling with beaded camels is probably evoking some interesting images in your mind.

I’m afraid the true picture is probably a lot less exciting. My wrestling is taking place largely inside my head, as I try and turn the pile of beads on my mat into a camel for my beaded Nativity set.

After all, the Kings definitely need some kind of transport…

Beaded Nativity Pattern for Beaded Boxes, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

(Want to make the Three Kings?…Find the beading tutorial at this link)

Why am I wrestling with beaded camels?

Let me take you on a little diversion back in time…

Someone wrote to me many years ago to ask if I could make a camel. I replied that I didn’t have a pattern at present, but I would add it to my design list. So, I duly wrote it on my list…then did nothing about it.

Fast forward to 2018 and the year I started my beaded Nativity set. I initially just planned to do the basics:

  • Mary
  • Joseph
  • Baby Jesus in the crib
  • Three Kings
  • Shepherds
  • An angel

Then, I decided the shepherds needed some sheep, so I created a pattern for those. And, suddenly, I’d set a precedent. I now needed all the animals to go with all the figures for my Nativity scene. And, of course a stable.

So, I planned on adding them last year, but somehow didn’t find the time or inspiration.

This year, I really HAD to complete the set. So, a few weeks back, I added the donkey (or ass, if you prefer).

I am working on a stable, and that includes the Ox residing inside. So, I can check that one off the list too.

But that still leaves the camels.

Why the struggle?

Well, for some reason, camels are proving very hard to get my head around. And I think I know exactly why…

Apart from the obvious challenges of creating a shape like a camel, I have a second issue to contend with. The tutorial.

You see, it’s one thing to sit down and bead. I can free-form, add in, take out, and create the shaping I need. But I’m not just making a one-off item for my personal enjoyment here.

I need three camels. And I need to be able to document how I made them. Partly, so I can replicate my own process, but mostly so I can write the tutorial for all of you.

So, that adds another layer to the design process. I may sit and create something, but if I’m then thinking, “how on earth do I explain that, or diagram it?” it’s no good. I have to be able to explain and show what I did in simple steps.

Progress so far…

So, I began by spending many days trying to plan and envisage this in my head.

That’s normally how I design – especially for beaded boxes. But as I couldn’t see a clear way through the project, I’ve kept putting it off…

…in spite of many, repeated requests for some camels to go with the Kings!

Finally, I decided this is ridiculous. So, I took out the beads and started beading. I’d love to say that everything just came together. But no.

I’ve been wrestling with ideas. Trying out different techniques. Frogging – a lot! And I currently have half a camel sitting on my beading mat.

The jury is still out on whether he looks good, so there may be a lot more frogging to come. But while I continue to do all of that, I can leave you with some beaded camels that worked out very nicely…

Beaded Christmas Lanterns, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

These are to be found wandering around the sides of one of my beaded lanterns. Strangely, 3D camels may be proving very difficult to create (particularly in a way that will allow me to produce a tutorial!), but the flat versions were surprisingly satisfying to design.

So, while you wait for me to produce my camels…at long last….why not try the lantern design for yourself. You can find it here.

And, I will return to wrestling with beaded camels, before allowing myself to return to making my stable. Yes – it is under construction and coming along much better than the camels! But you’ll have to tune in next time to see how that turns out…

Meanwhile, happy beading!

Leave a Reply