by Joanna Ochocinska
If you ask me, beads are the most amazing invention since sliced bread. Although, to be precise, beads came first so it’s actually the other way around. Long story short, beads are fantastic, that’s because you can make pretty much anything out of them and the final product always looks great. Working with beads requires a lot of patience and you will have to get used to fishing runaway beads out of your coffee, picking them out of your sleeves or finding them in your bed. You will also need to surrender to the fact that you will never be able to locate that one bead stuck somewhere in your computer keyboard. Once you get over all that, it’s very rewarding. On the plus side, that bead your friends find tangled in your hair next time you meet up for lunch is a great excuse to boast about your awesome new hobby and make them all jealous!
The undisputed masters of bead craft are Native American Indians. Various tribes from different regions have developed numerous techniques of jewellery-making as well as decorating clothes and objects with beads. The designs and colours vary from region to region with floral designs being most popular with the woodland nations. That’s most likely the origin of the technique described in this article. It requires a lot of concentration at the beginning but once you get the hang of it, you’ll complete the steps automatically without thinking and finish the bracelet in less than 90 minutes while watching Oprah.
1. Cut a piece of thread that’s approximately 6 times the length you want the chainlet to be.
2. Thread the needle and secure the thread with a knot.
3. String one seed bead of any colour and the large bead onto the thread.
4. String 8 beads onto the thread and push the needle back through the first bead to create a loop.
5. Slip one bead of a different colour onto the thread, push it into the centre of the flower and push the needle through the fifth bead/petal. Whenever you pull the needle through a bead, press the whole flower down with your finger to avoid the whole thing shifting.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you reach the required length.
7. String as many beads as you need to make a loop around the large bead. It will serve as a clasp on your chainlet so the loop shouldn’t be too loose or too tight.
8. Make a loop and tie off the thread.
You can use this technique to make rings, bracelets, anklets, necklaces, pendants and earrings. For the purpose of this article all the flowers are of the same colour but you can make your chainlet as colourful as you want with each flower being different. You might also want to use larger beads for your first chainlet or if you want to get your kids involved.
Don’t collapse in despair if you make a mistake and only notice it when you’ve completed the whole bracelet. Native American wisdom will come to your aid in the form of a superstition which says that nothing man-made can be perfect and we should always leave room for improvement. Therefore, whenever we create something, we should make at least one mistake intentionally as a sign of humility.