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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Crafts > Beadwork Help with Patterns Help with Patterns

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Old 02-27-2016, 11:41 PM   #1
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Help with Patterns

So, I have looked at past threads on this subject, but also wanted some further input regarding patterns and where to find them. So far I have been looking in books from the library and on Pinterest primarily.

I know that certain designs and symbols should not be used either because they are sacred, or because they belong to a particular family/tribe. My question is: are there resources which can help you determine which patterns from books or websites are generally "safe?" Or perhaps there are ways to tell which authors have done their research and only included fairly innocuous patterns?

I have been looking through these books specifically:

Bead in the Native American Tradition by David Dean (I'm pretty sure I 've read good things about this one on this forum...)

The Complete Guide to Traditional Native American Beadwork by Joel Monture

Authentic American Indian Beadwork and How to Do It by Pamela Stanley-Millner.

I also found these on Pinterest, which were listed as "free beadwork patterns":

hand made crafts for sale

On my pinterest board I also have some free cross stitch/perler bead designs I would like to incorporate at some point as well as some historical photos, NOT to copy but to draw inspiration from.

In case this helps, my native heritage consists of Menominee and Chippewa primarily, so I am looking for (and have found) some patterns from those tribes, but am nervous about accidentally using something inappropriately. Eventually I would like to do more original work, but thought it might be best to start with pre-made patterns until I get the hang of it.

Sorry, I know this is a bit of a ramble. I appreciate any thoughts/advice anyone can offer.
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:53 AM   #2
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I'm not a fan of pre-made patterns. Most of the books with these have copied museum pieces.

You learn to design by studying other artist's works. You look at historic and modern beadwork. Examine design elements, color usage, and composition. Trace the evolution of modern designs from historic work. Then, you get out the paper, colored pencils and draw. Compare your sketches to others work, see where you captured the spirit and where you failed. Thus you learn your people's design vocabulary.

Now Ojibwe stuff doesn't lend itself to lane stitch. So, you leave your people's work and study another tribe's. Same process.

Fortunately, the non-curvilinear, geometric elements used in a lot of lane stitch designs, are fairly easy to rearrange in a pleasing manner, without copying. A little work with graph paper and a ruler will help you work out the bead counts.


A book of possible interest.

Ojibwa Crafts, by Carrie Lyford

And remember: "As you sew, so shall you rip." Mistakes are part of the game.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:15 AM   #3
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"I'm not a fan of pre-made patterns. Most of the books with these have copied museum pieces."

That's what I was afraid of. It seems, as you said, it's better to educate oneself about the techniques, aesthetics and meanings of elements so that you can create your own work. Thanks for the recommendation (I will definitely be checking it out) and the fantastic insight as always.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:34 AM   #4
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I would also recommend the Ojibwa Crafts book by Carrie Lyford which @OLChemist pointed out. My uncle gave me a copy of this book 50 years ago & told me, "It's a really good book." He said since we're a smaller tribe, there aren't a lot of books on Menominee beading, but these designs in this book are very similar & real close. Since you are a part of both tribes, hopefully this book should be right on target.

I scanned & have attached a couple of the pages to show examples of the design elements contained in this book. There are also examples of different geometric designs. I did a quick count and there are at least 50 pages like these.
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:27 AM   #5
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Oops..I hit post button too soon. I wanted to add that my brother-in-law told me I should go outside a look at the world, like study nature for inspiration and that certain things would catch my eye, speak/appeal to me & that I should pay attention to that.

I've never been good at beading, but I'm trying to start up again.

Also, my uncle who gave me the book, told me that I should always put a mistake (wrong colored bead) somewhere in my work. He said that's the old traditional way that we show that we know that we're not perfect.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:40 PM   #6
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Thanks eagleclanriverband, I found it on Amazon so I will definitely be ordering it. :) And thanks for the further advice; I have a tendency to want to always do things "right," but the historical designs of the past were born from pure inspiration, so it makes more sense that modern ones should as well. And as someone who struggles with perfectionism, the idea of an intentional imperfection as a positive expression of reverence is healing in way.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:13 AM   #7
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I have the Lyford book on Lakota beadwork designs. Some of the examples of design elements can be traced to pieces -- some are obviously from items photographed for the book. So, I would exercise caution in using elements without some modification.

That said, I still recommend the Lyford book to folks who are learning lane stitch. One of the things that those tables of design elements do is they help folks break down designs and understand how elements are put together.
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:44 PM   #8
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So, I thought I'd throw this out here. I may have figured out a new way of making up geometric designs. My son has these magnet shapes that you make patterns with, and while we were playing I came up with a few designs!
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Old 03-03-2016, 02:14 AM   #9
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https://imgur.com/wo5qbsQ
https://imgur.com/a/sFe1Y
https://imgur.com/0ealWjh

Now granted, these are all
very simplistic, but you get the idea.
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:16 PM   #10
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I want to thank everyone for their time and input. I did a lot of the above. I spent a lot of time outdoors and researching a lot of dexigns on everything. I agree with you on books I went to libary and looked at some books and your right a lot of copied designs. I just sat down and printed off a lot of beading graph paper and went to town. Finally came up with my design. Now I'm hoping my arthritis won't flare up too horribly bad and allow me to bead. I have a lot of beading to do
2- strips 3" x 48"
1- strip 4" x 38"
Gonna take me a while, researching 10/0 silver lined beads now having trouble finding multiple colors I am wanting. Thanks again to everyone who replied, I really appreciate your time
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