No announcement yet.

Help with Patterns

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 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.

  • #2
    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.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      "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.


      • #4
        I would also recommend the Ojibwa Crafts book by Carrie Lyford which [MENTION=4221]OLChemist[/MENTION] 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.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          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.


          • #6
            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.


            • #7
              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.


              • #8
                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!


                • #9

                  Now granted, these are all
                  very simplistic, but you get the idea.


                  • #10
                    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


                    Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.

                    Related Topics


                    • Grey_Wolf
                      by Grey_Wolf
                      I do beadwork on a loom and I've been doing it for a while now. People have just recently started buying the work that I do. My problem is that my designs are seeming sort of overused, frankly. I only know of diamonds and I need some new designs. I was just wondering is anyone out there could help...
                      09-01-2006, 10:12 PM
                    • Broken Arrow
                      Design Elements Own Design or Copy?
                      by Broken Arrow
                      As there is nobody around me, I can ask face to face i am gonna to aks you here.

                      The question is, what is own design based on elementary design elements and what is to close to existing beadwork?

                      Looking through Sioux Quill and Beadwork Design page 68, 69, 73,74, 77, 84...
                      02-14-2017, 02:29 PM
                    • tmb
                      How to find peyote patterns or design them?
                      by tmb
                      I am a beginning beadworker and have done some loom beadwork but want to get started with peyote stitch. I would like to make beaded keychains and pens for my family and close friends for next years holiday season and also for birthday gifts.

                      However, I have not found any...
                      03-20-2010, 01:53 AM
                    • powwowbum49
                      by powwowbum49
                      Well, as if I don't have enough other projects going right now I have decided to try my hand at silverwork. I have a ton of it that I need for new dance clothes for my family so I figured I should see if I am any good at it. I have been picking up a few tools and am waiting on some sheet metal to arrive...
                      06-08-2002, 01:45 AM
                    • whitewave
                      by whitewave
                      I am very creative, I used to paint a lot but in the last couple years I have been discouraged with that. I really want some more hands on things to do, so I have decided to try my hand at beadwork and jewelery. For a long time I have wanted to do pottery. I did a little bit in I don't just want...
                      04-26-2007, 03:14 PM



                    There are no results that meet this criteria.

                    Sidebar Ad