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Old 12-13-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
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Question where do you get your inspiration to bead?

Hi everyone,

I was just wondering.....where do you get you inspiration to bead?
Do you have trouble looking at something without thinking....Hey, that would be a really cool design to use in my beadwork......

I'm always running into that problem....especially with carpets....It seems that I always need to have a camera or some paper & a pen to sketch the design. I didn't have a camera when i went to this big, fancy Disney hotel & it was killing me. The carpet designs were really beautiful. Then I found some paper and a pen & did my best rough sketch.

Does anyone here run into the same problem?
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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Ooops! Moderators, Help Please!

My finger must have gotten stuck, or my beady (or in this case, computer) eyes are back. I guess I just have a sticky clicker finger. Moderators, could you delete my double post? Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:13 PM   #3
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Yes!
Its nice to have a camera phone. Lately, I've been taking pictures of color combinations that I see in fabrics or paintings.

As far as why I bead, I'm inspired by the old artists of my tribe(s). Over the years I've collected different designs affiliated with my tribe(s) from different museum collections because at home, the artist culture has gone downhill-lasting effect of boarding schools. Affiliated tribal designs are then shared with the community through regalia classes held at the tribe's community center. A lot of designs shared are accessible to community members because they are motifs held in common by the tribe, rather than designs that belong to a specific gender, clan, society, or family.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:07 PM   #4
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Yep, I get inspired when I see other people's beadwork, even beadwork that has nothing to do with my current projects or anything I would consider.

Praying for more inspiration now as I struggle to finish these lazy stitched mocs with 3-cuts...last timeI made some, I said NEVER AGAIN to lazy stitch with the inconsistent 3-cuts...but here I go again.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:18 PM   #5
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Same here lol, I get in a beading slump then see folks finishing up a piece and say hey I need to get crackin lol.. Im horrible about startng something not really likeing how it is turning out set it down and just sit and stare at it .like it is going to magicly fix itself . Im doing that now with a scarf slide, Idid all the parts I enjoy doing now it is just sitting here looking at me. Maybe I need to get it in gear eh ?
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:05 PM   #6
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Inspiration and creativity have rules...

I like the old designs, and I'm kinda traditional. When I find something I like, I reseach it, try to find out who made the piece and then I might take something from it, if it is the right thing. Most times a piece was so particularly made for one person, even long ago, it is not right for a person to replicate today...even if it is beautiful.

It's hard to explain, but I try never to exactly replicate a piece no matter how much I like it.

Colors are specific sometimes to birth order. Subject matter is always dependent on your clan. There are also different rules... for example, in some nations, one color symbolizes the Great Spirit (green) and another symbolizes man (red). The elders teach us that red is not to appear above green in items we create to help us remember our place as under the Great Spirit. So these beaded pieces are much more than a pretty or creative design, but they are a story of the wearer and of the wearer's beliefs.

So when I make things for myself or my children, I make them specifically for them as individuals, beaded with their colors and their societies and their clan. But my children like more modern designs while I like the old ones, yet each piece is a thumb print, theirs alone.

For people with no tribal ties, they just want something pretty. That beadwork can be mass produced or just chosen because they will appeal to that market. They do not understand the care in choosing designs specifically for one person, or the choice of beading colors nor the why or how. They just care if it matches whatever else they are wearing that day.

No matter who I'm beading for, I remember the rules as a beadworker. So, as in my example above, green elements do not appear below red ones in my work no matter who I'm beading for. Even though the masses wouldn't care or know why, I respect the elders and the tradition because as the beadworker, I know why.
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Plumes View Post
Same here lol, I get in a beading slump then see folks finishing up a piece and say hey I need to get crackin lol.. Im horrible about startng something not really likeing how it is turning out set it down and just sit and stare at it .like it is going to magicly fix itself . Im doing that now with a scarf slide, Idid all the parts I enjoy doing now it is just sitting here looking at me. Maybe I need to get it in gear eh ?
Did you ever begin a project, put it down, forget about it, then have it resurface, only to find that you need to go through your beads & look for some that match. I have a project like that where I have to match a shade of turquoise blue. I might have to find another color that will work with what I have now.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Plumes View Post
Same here lol, I get in a beading slump then see folks finishing up a piece and say hey I need to get crackin lol.. Im horrible about startng something not really likeing how it is turning out set it down and just sit and stare at it .like it is going to magicly fix itself . Im doing that now with a scarf slide, Idid all the parts I enjoy doing now it is just sitting here looking at me. Maybe I need to get it in gear eh ?
I know exactly what you mean. My son's fan was just sitting there. but my bead count was off. So I ripped it out for the 7th time and started it again. I did take pictures of the portion that I did like and restarted it again. I figured out the bead count so it's perfect-o!! But lately it was just sitting there until a friend came over yesterday.

He was looking at it and said, hmmmm. I was here a month ago, you didn't put anything else on it. I said, I'm in a slump. He said, no youre not. You just need to STAY HOME. bwaahahahaha. He was right. I stayed home last night and I got to the point where I flipped my design to mirror what I had already accomplished. I think I'm gonna finish it by New Years and start on my son's sash, the gourd that goes with it and then on to his moccs!

I think I just needed someone to nudge me. I've been doing household chores instead of beading...not like anyone is complaining...LMAO.

But yeah, I look at pictures of other peoples beadwork on here all the time, and dream about being able to put something similar together, or I see a picture or drawing and think, I can put that on the back of a vest. But I'm still working on this fan....for 3 years....LMAO.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:59 AM   #9
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I know exactly what you mean. My son's fan was just sitting there. but my bead count was off. So I ripped it out for the 7th time and started it again. I did take pictures of the portion that I did like and restarted it again. I figured out the bead count so it's perfect-o!! But lately it was just sitting there until a friend came over yesterday.

He was looking at it and said, hmmmm. I was here a month ago, you didn't put anything else on it. I said, I'm in a slump. He said, no youre not. You just need to STAY HOME. bwaahahahaha. He was right. I stayed home last night and I got to the point where I flipped my design to mirror what I had already accomplished. I think I'm gonna finish it by New Years and start on my son's sash, the gourd that goes with it and then on to his moccs!

I think I just needed someone to nudge me. I've been doing household chores instead of beading...not like anyone is complaining...LMAO.

But yeah, I look at pictures of other peoples beadwork on here all the time, and dream about being able to put something similar together, or I see a picture or drawing and think, I can put that on the back of a vest. But I'm still working on this fan....for 3 years....LMAO.
Glad to hear im not alone lol I would say its a Cheyenne thing but uhm no I think not lol.. My husband is great about the nudge thing. He will carefully say uhm hun what do you think about picking up one of of your projects and getting it out of the way ? lol Im like well ok close my eyes and dig in. Theres times I just could care less untill I see somebody with new gear ..Then its like man I need to get busy. My poor sons have not had anything new in ages. All their gear is waaay to small and theya t one time had several outfits to choose from. I have three boys so it was a all around hand me down fest here..
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:33 AM   #10
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Glad to hear im not alone lol I would say its a Cheyenne thing but uhm no I think not lol.. My husband is great about the nudge thing. He will carefully say uhm hun what do you think about picking up one of of your projects and getting it out of the way ? lol Im like well ok close my eyes and dig in. Theres times I just could care less untill I see somebody with new gear ..Then its like man I need to get busy. My poor sons have not had anything new in ages. All their gear is waaay to small and theya t one time had several outfits to choose from. I have three boys so it was a all around hand me down fest here..
My big Nudge is having made a committment to do beading demos at a local museum, so people expect to see progress being made. I have to do this because nobody else is going to do the beading for me & I want to get it completed....especially since I already have my next design for another set.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:41 AM   #11
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Did you ever begin a project, put it down, forget about it, then have it resurface, only to find that you need to go through your beads & look for some that match. I have a project like that where I have to match a shade of turquoise blue. I might have to find another color that will work with what I have now.
That happened to me a couple of times. Now, when I set a project aside for whatever reason, the beads are always together with what I'm working on. Saves me headaches. LOL! They stay with the work until it's done.

As for inspiration, most of my work includes some sort of stone in it, and I usually take my idea for design/pattern from the stone. If it's some kind of agate with a pattern, I will (usually) follow that pattern with the beadwork. I rarely sketch a design unless I'm looming it, because I suck at sketching stuff.

Eagle Plumes-it could be Cheyenne thing. ROFL! I was going to start a new cuff the other day and when I was looking for beads to go with the stone, I came across a half finished cuff that I had set aside. Like you, I wasn't too happy with the way it was going, then, a bunch of family drama started up, and I didn't get back to it. Family drama began in late May, and is just now starting to resolve itself, so that cuff has been sitting a while. I did make some ornament drapes, but those are easy. A couple of years ago, I found myself with 4 unfinished projects and I made myself a rule then-I will finish what I'm working on before I start another project. As much as I want to start the new cuff, I will finish the other one first. I will, I will!!
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:36 AM   #12
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I like the old designs, and I'm kinda traditional. When I find something I like, I reseach it, try to find out who made the piece and then I might take something from it, if it is the right thing. Most times a piece was so particularly made for one person, even long ago, it is not right for a person to replicate today...even if it is beautiful.

It's hard to explain, but I try never to exactly replicate a piece no matter how much I like it.

Colors are specific sometimes to birth order. Subject matter is always dependent on your clan. There are also different rules... for example, in some nations, one color symbolizes the Great Spirit (green) and another symbolizes man (red). The elders teach us that red is not to appear above green in items we create to help us remember our place as under the Great Spirit. So these beaded pieces are much more than a pretty or creative design, but they are a story of the wearer and of the wearer's beliefs.

So when I make things for myself or my children, I make them specifically for them as individuals, beaded with their colors and their societies and their clan. But my children like more modern designs while I like the old ones, yet each piece is a thumb print, theirs alone.

For people with no tribal ties, they just want something pretty. That beadwork can be mass produced or just chosen because they will appeal to that market. They do not understand the care in choosing designs specifically for one person, or the choice of beading colors nor the why or how. They just care if it matches whatever else they are wearing that day.

No matter who I'm beading for, I remember the rules as a beadworker. So, as in my example above, green elements do not appear below red ones in my work no matter who I'm beading for. Even though the masses wouldn't care or know why, I respect the elders and the tradition because as the beadworker, I know why.
Oh, you said some true words!
When I find a design I like I alway change it a bit, mostly the colors.
So I get MY design out of it.

But there is one thing I want to add to your view of people with "no tribal affiliation": that goes not for all of them.
I myself have no tribal affiliation too, BUT I do beadwork for almost 20 years now.
I started out when there was no internet. I worked through stack of books and videos and tried to learn as much as possible about designs and colors and their meanings.
Most of the time I use designs that appeal to me and feel good to me, same goes for the colors.
But of course it always depends on what you are beading: outfit or just some contemporary keyring, pouch, or bag etc.

And I yes, try to have a camera with me most of the time
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:39 PM   #13
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Hi Selina

Hi there,

I hope what I said didn't come out as a negative toward non-natives. When I re-read what I wrote, it didn't come out quite as I meant.

Beading for your children or people you know is different than beading for the public whether you are native or non-native. What I mean is that whomever you bead for, you remember the rules...whether from the elders or (in my case) from your respect for the person who first created the design.

I love love love old designs, but I think personally that it isn't fair to the one who created the design (no matter if she lived 150 yrs ago) to recreate the piece bead for bead. And that's just me and my ethics, not from the elders. And changing the colors in your case is also changing the design, but if I really like a design, I might also put more rows of space between elements or fewer or add a little something Docat-ish.

I think that beadworkers should have their own style too. It would be epic to me if an expert from the future would look at a piece I beaded 50 years from now to say, "oh, this is a Doc-at piece. You can tell it from x, y and z."

So I always put in secret elements...there are unlimited ways you can do this...you can do it with a different shaped bead or a single bead in a slightly different color or an element that you use. You could do it with how you tie something or how you finish a piece off. It could be using a special dye in your warp threads. Just be consistant in the secret elements you use. I don't mean by beading your initials in it, something that is obvious only to you and those in the know.

And in case that doesn't work, taking pix of whatever work you do helps document your work. My problem is I don't like to sell anything. I'm really bad about turning lose. I love to give them away as gifts, and sometimes I have been asked to bead for someone, and I've done that, but taking money for it is something hard for me, and I don't know why. I am much better with trading over selling. Likely my kids will figure out what to do with it all after I'm gone.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:05 PM   #14
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I'm new to beading and am doing earrings, and I like to just to freeform bead with needle and thread. I like irregular beads, like handmade seed beads, so I am very slow. I am also getting into natural rock and shell beaded in. The texture and colors of the beads is inspirational. I'm not doing traditional beading, but I'd like to think a little of my heritage comes through. The irregular beads create imperfections which at the end remind me of natural things. Right now some are coming out looking to me a little like shells on the beach, and some have shells in them too. I want to learn more traditional patterns and practices but this is giving me a way to get good at just basic beading.

If you are inspired by older patterns, I have these pieces I found in Florida. They are glass beads sewn to thick hide, like pigskin almost or leather or buffalo. I found them in the garbage of an old man's trailer, he died and the family sent people to clean out and paint his place. The painters were going to dump paint on them and got paint on the back of one. Can someone tell me what they are? The links below show picture of front and back in greater detail than if i pasted them in.

front

back

I also found a beaded deer vertebra in a box of old kids toys at a yard sale. I brought it to the Cherokee powwow and they said that it is Zuni, a bunch of them went out there and brought some back to sell at powwows. It is kind of old.

front

back
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:01 PM   #15
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That is some nice beadwork!

The medallions could be used on a number of things. I don't know what nation for sure. They look Plateau. I saw some nice peyote bags with medallions similar online. I think they were in the Brooklyn museum.

Why people want to destroy stuff like putting paint on them is just craziness! It is so immature. I know, some are like that. But you'd just like to shake them.

The other is really nice too. It goes to show you that there are so many things you can use to bead with, and you can have some stunning results. You have some nice objects.

I have the feeling that the best is yet to come in your own beading. Be sure to share your own work with us when you feel comfortable to do so!
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:31 PM   #16
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Yes, they looked like something from out west to me, too. I think one is the sun and one the moon, maybe. The pattern is really interesting and kind of has motion to it, looking alive. Great beading. Sewing into that tough leather and it lasting so long is interesting too. I keep it in my china cabinet underglass. Maybe the pattern will be replicated, someday I hope I can do that, and it will be like a little of the man lives on in it. It was sad, photos and everything, I just took what was on top because I didn't want them to get mad at me picking through the trash, and it had paint in it. I literally grabbed it out of the box as the guy came out to dump more paint in it. I felt sad. When I die I will donate it somewhere.

I will have to get more beading done before I show anyone. I like the beaded bone, but grandma always taught us kids bones belong in the ground. And that was alot of talking for her!

Its so nice to talk to you!
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:13 AM   #17
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Muscrat, you will know when you are ready to share your beading. The main thing is to keep with it, keep your creative eye open and keep beading! I bet you are making some really nice earrings!

Beading on leather, such as your medallions, the beader makes use of an awl. In the old days, a beadworker's awl was a very very celebrated tool. Many beadworkers beaded special bags to contain and honor them. A woman generally carried an awl with her along with her knife. The awl will pierce a hole in the leather so the thread or sinew can go through it.

I guess some folks feel creepy about bones, but bones make a lot of traditional NDN tools and BEADS. My cattail mat needle is made of bone. They used to make fishing hooks out of bone. I know other tools too. Pelvic bones were used to till the ground to plant. Sacred packs and totems sometimes include special bones.

The real hair pipe bead comes from bones! Those beautifully beaded breastplates were all hand-worked and made of bone. (See attachment). Hairpipe is also used in necklaces and earrings too.

Dyed bone beads were also cut and strung into patterns long ago...sort of the same way we do the glass beads and wampum.

You can look at it this way, your artifact is not only a very nicely beaded piece, but it is also pleasing to your creative eye! It is a very inspiring piece. I love it!
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:05 PM   #18
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i doubt that vertabrea is zuni
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:51 PM   #19
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Whomever made the vertebrae piece, it is inspiring!

It is difficult to get provenance from a garage sale, not even many auction houses have accurate provenance listed for their items. That's why I like beading into my work the secret elements, those things that say Doc-at made this piece.

You can do that too, Muscrat. Maybe put in your freeform beading an element that only you do a certain way in your work.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milehighsalute View Post
i doubt that vertabrea is zuni
Why? I don't know about style or anything. What do you think it is?

I have the name of the person who supposedly made this one and several others, they were sold as a group for sale back here at a powwow. I guess the people could be lying, but I don't see why. Several people from the tribe verified the story. She made up a bunch supposedly. It'd probably be from the 1980s or so per their story.
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