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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Crafts > Beadwork Teaching youth to bead Teaching youth to bead

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Old 07-20-2017, 11:06 PM   #1
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Teaching youth to bead

I have been involved in many youth camps over the years. There have been attempts by a few instructors to teach beading. I thought the classes were unsuccessful. While I have only beaded a few pieces in my lifetime to get by with my regalia I am good with children. I am thinking it would be best to use large beads so the children and beginners can manipulate it better as well as actually complete a project they can take home. I did have the opportunity once at a camp to use large plastic pony beads to create a choker with an eagle feather. They enjoyed that. I am thinking glass size 6 beads should be the next step. I have seen a couple adults use it in their regalia in the past. I'm not sure if that is shunned. Any advice? Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:49 AM   #2
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I have taught beadwork to mostly to teens and adults but to a few children. I have have a couple questions:

1) What ages?

2) How long do you have to teach this class?

3) Native, non-native or mixed audience?

4) What is the end goal -- cultural education, developing skills to make their own regalia, craft hour at camp?


The answers to these questions will guide the selection of the project. In my opinion, the size of the beads is a lesser issue. Especially, if you're working with 4 th graders and up. In my experience, patience is the real issue. A lane stitch adorned coin purse, with 3" of 2 lanes is a huge time investment for a child.

I was taught beadworking as a child, with the intent of teaching me perseverance and concentration. I was 9-10 and used 10/0 and 11/0's and crappy, frustratingly difficult chamois in place of buckskin. Threading the needle was the rough part -- mostly because I also was given conventional sew thread, which is twined and very very difficult to get through the eye of a beading needle. I did lane stitch. But many of my non-native classmates had beading loom kits with 10/0's. (The 1970's were a craftier time in America, everyone had a go at macrame, tie dye, candle making, leather craft, loom beadwork, and the dang lanyards, LOL.)
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:59 PM   #3
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Thank you for your response. It is native youth ranging K-12th. There is some flexibility in the schedule for time allowed at camp I would estimate 4-6 hours total in the week. 1 to 1 1/2 hrs for 4 days. Most of these children will not have much opportunity to get help with regalia outside of camp or intentional meet ups on our part. So regalia is the desire but only happen in the long run for some. Therefore just a take home craft for some resulting in a "mixed" goal. So I was thinking the size they could manipulate would be part of the factor depending on age and coordination.
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:20 AM   #4
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for my daughter when she was kindergarten age, I would set up her supplies for her and she would only string beads on beading wire. I would encourage her to make patterns.

Then she moved on a few more years later making applicae beading on pellon peices, and now she is making lacing from hides. Doing so is helping her to be more persistent and to slow down with what she is doing.
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