For me, the best thing about beadwork is the incredible amount of books out there. Beading books are great for so many reasons – you can learn a new stitch or technique, find out information about the beads that you are using, get ideas for new projects and color combinations, and of course, look at the beautiful work of other beaders. These books are great for beginners or to just round out your collection if you are more advanced.
This just might be the first ever written set of instructions on how to do beadwork. While much of it is focused on loom work, there is great advice on beads and other supplies that you need to do beadwork. There are chapters on netting techniques, beading on clothing, peyote stitch and broad collars.
While this book is technically no longer in print, copies can be found from used book sellers.
This classic text book should be on every beader’s shelf, not just because it covers pretty much everything you would want to know about seven basic off-loom beadweaving stitches, but also because of the great projects and beautiful gallery of finished beadwork.
Carol Wilcox Wells was one of the first artists to promote beadwork as an art back in the late 1980s, and she was one of the first to import cylinder beads from Japan for use in off-loom beadweaving. Her book serves as a classic textbook for both beginner and advanced beaders.
This volume by Margie Deeb is really the first book written that deals with color theory specifically for bead artists. Not only does it provide information on individual colors and their symbolic uses, but it provides hundreds of suggestions for color palettes with the Delica bead numbers. Several wonderful projects for off-loom beadweaving round out this book and the pieces pictured provide great inspiration.
Because beads have been around for over 10,000 years and are used in every single culture around the planet, this is an important reference book to have in any beading library. Dubin provides information about all types of beads, their manufacture, and their uses.
In November of 2009, a brand-new edition of this book will be available. You can pre-order it now from many online sellers, and the Bead Museum in Arizona will also be hosting a special event to celebrate the release of the book.
If you are looking to take your beadwork to the next level, this book by Valerie Hector combines the best of both worlds. Valerie has taken ethnic and historic beadwork and created projects using these techniques with a decidedly modern flair.
Hector includes great information on the background behind the inspiration for each project. Each project was inspired by a different culture around the world, and the projects combine both off-loom beadweaving with some metalwork and wirework.
If you want to learn all the ins and outs of working in herringbone stitch, this is the book for you. It covers all aspects of the stitch, including a great section with information about the history of the stitch, the culture of the Ndebele tribe in South Africa from where the stitch originates, and offers several great projects to get you comfortable with the stitch. There are detailed instructions for how to do both a ladder-stitch and traditional start in the stitch, and a fabulous gallery of finished beadwork using the stitch rounds out the whole book.
This book presents a fantastic array of projects and instructions for basic netting, including variations on the stitch. The projects are simple enough that a beginner can do them, but provide enough interest for a more experienced beader. The gallery of finished beadwork offers even more inspiration with the very creative finished pieces pictured.
This book is a great way to learn two-needle right angle weave. Chris Prussing provides detailed instructions along with clear illustrations to take the mystery out of weaving with two needles. Projects include jewelry as well as beaded beads and beaded components that can be strung or stitched together, and the gallery of finished beadwork includes some of the best-known names bead artistry.
This was the first real beading book that I ever bought, so it holds a special place in my heart. It is also about my favorite stitch, so there's another reason I love it. Personal preferences aside, this is a great book for teaching yourself brick stitch and all it's many variations. There are blank graphs for creating your own patterns and projects, and instructions on how to do increases and decreases.
The projects include many made from brick stitched components that are then strung or stitched together, and the gallery of finished beadwork is sure to be inspiring for beginners and advanced beadweavers.
10. Beading With Peyote Stitch by Jeanette Cook and Vicki Star
While I am self-taught in all other beadweaving stitches, peyote stitch was the only stitch that I needed to learn from someone else. That said, if I had bought this book before I gave up and took a class, I probably wouldn't have needed the class.
Jeanette Cook and Vicki Star have collaborated to write an excellent instructional book, full of illustrations, tips, and very easy-to-understand directions. The projects are well-illustrated and allow you to use nearly all of the techniques and variations included in the directions.
The background information provided about peyote stitch is fascinating to read, and the gallery of finished beadwork is beautiful to look at, making this book a must-have for any bead lover's library.