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Mixing Beads

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  • Mixing Beads

    In response to the thread on favorite beads, I'd like to spin in a slightly different direction and ask about mixing beads. BLACKBEAR used "matte with luster" beads, TIGGER uses "regular with translucent," ALASKASHADOWWOLF uses "translucent for the outline and opaque for the fill."
    I think mixing beads is great.

    I came across a woman a few years ago who was admiring some medallions a friend had made for me. When she got a closer look she said "Oh, there not 13/o cut beads" and then proceeded to tell me how they weren't that great based on the choice of beads. After a little conversation she relayed to me that she only used 13/o cut beads and nothing else, implying that that is what made good beadwork. My advise to her was to get out and try all kinds of beads, cuts, regular, and different sizes. Then she got defensive!

    Not only do I think mixing bead types is good but also sizes, especially on applique work, but I've even mixed sizes on loomwork. What I'd like to know is what everyone thinks about mixing types and sizes of beads (depending on the project) How do you pick a bead type, size, and color for your projects? Do you stay with one type and size? Do you find yourself having a favorite shade (I fell in love with a bright yellow a few years back and find myself using it over other yellows).

    Let me know what you think.


  • #2
    mixed sizes

    some times i use size 10 for design and then fill with 11 but depending on the size bead i use it has be the next size smaller or bigger etc. do you have any pics of the work you have done??:Chatter


    • #3
      actually i mix alot, between matte, luster, regular and translucent beads all in the same project.


      • #4
        For me it has always been more about the color and texture than it has been the sparkle. I like to make the beadwork match as possibly close to the outfit as I can, and there just is'nt enough colors in cut beads to do that with.. As for my applique, I want to make sure that it is as 3 dimensional looking as possible. This is where you can get really creative. Take the beaver in the applique instruction thread. If this was'nt for a little girl and I did'nt have to make it as flat as possible..I would have combined techniques as well (this is just the artist coming out in me though). Such as I would have combined raised beadwork with peyote stitch to make that branch in its feet stand out, and the leaves hanging from it. Not all the beadwork I do is for native regalia..I like to get showy with it when I have a chance. I was making these little pouches to sell one year at state fair. We call them lotus pouches and I believe the designer created them using a cherokee pouch as an example. It consists of four sides that are all the same shape sewn together, then the outside two sides are folded in to make it flat, then the top is folded over. Now what is so cool about these bags is that you can decorate them any way you like and the fringe is where you can get really creative. With them I have used a combination of peyote, twisted the possibilities are endless... I am posting a few of the ones I had almost finished (they needed straps) so you can see what I am talking about. When I sell them..I don't call them medicine bags..just beaded pouches. Many people from many walks of life like to have them just to keep momentos in and they look pretty to if some of these don't look to "NATIVE" to now know why.
        Attached Files
        Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


        • #5
          ok here are some more that I have attention to the one in the bottom right hand corner..this was done using a technique called branching fringe... I made this and a set of matching earrings and sold it first to an art graduate.
          Attached Files
          Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


          • #6
            I agree on two point mentioned above:

            1-That uding different size beads creates a more 3D effect in the finished project. Also thanks for mentioning a mix of techniques, I like that.

            2-That using ONLY 13/o cuts really limits your availability of colors. Open any bead catalog and you'll see that there are many more colors available in 13/o regular than in just cuts. If you mix non-cuts with cuts on a particular piece (especially peyote or gourd stitch) it really isn't noticable.

            If you look at old beadwork you can see evidence of all this. Diferent beads, sizes, and techniques.

            Is there anyone out there who does use only one type/size of bead? Be honest, there's no shame here. Would you consider trying this, Yes/No, and why?


            • #7
              I think I would have a hard time using just one type or size of bead. One woman told me I should just use size 15/0 on my loom work because I would get better detail. My response was, "are you crazy?" The current piece that I did consisted of size 11/0 and 12/0 with matte, luster and transparent colors. I do the same with the earrings and rosettes that I make. I think it would make the beadwork almost too dull to stick to one type of bead. I can't believe that lady judged the beadwork on the size of the bead.
              "Support Bacteria. It's the only culture some people have."

              "I can't sleep, the clowns will eat me."

              "Things are more like today than they ever have been."


              • #8
                I truly believe what my father taught me. If you are gonna mix do it from the start or you will end up with a line. His other point was our ancestors didn't have the luxary of culling beads, they had to use what was availible at the time they were working on a piece. Wasn't like they could overnight express an order of beads!!!!!! I say if they are odd shaped get rid of the so they don't through the piece off too much, especially on the loom, but other wise mixing is ok by me ;)


                • #9
                  Mixing colors I can see. I usually put some luster or something flashy in with the opaques.

                  Mixing sizes is something I try to avoid. I saw a buckle once with the name done in larger beads and it looked nice. But other items I see done with a few larger beads thrown in just don't look right to me.

                  When I do something "nice" as a gift, I usually stick to all cut charlottes. Luckily I've been collecting cuts for 25 years now and have a good palette of colors and sizes.
         is what it is...


                  • #10
                    Sometimes beads just aren't the size they are supposed to be. I often use another size if it matches the ones that I am using.

                    Talk about bright yellow. My absolute favorite! We found a stash of size 13 yellow that were from an old dye lot. They are great. I also go fo what a friend of mine calls "school bus yellow." Now that lemon yellow just looks plain ewashed out. Sally


                    • #11
                      I'm turning into a bead ho. lmao I love beads. Show me some nice beads and I start foaming at the mouth. :Jumping: Right now I'm using 3-cuts for my set and they're alot different than working with charlottes or regular beads (because of the shape). I have a silver bead (size 10 3-cut that I'm using with the 12's) and it's not half bad. It adds emphasis to the design and I like that.

                      I'd like to experiment more with beads. I think my favorites so far are the 13's. I like the detail that you can get with them... Anything smaller and I get a little intimidated. But I can see me tackling em later.

                      Hey Wyo 25 years????? Daaaaaaang....can I hit your stash? hehehehe:Chatter
                      SHAKE IT!!!!


                      • #12
                        Hey Singing Otter, you can look, just don't touch!! jokes

                        But yeah, I have a tackle box full of nothing but charlotte cuts, over $200 dollars worth. But then I live way out here where hanks go from $4-5 dollars now.

                        I found a cookie tin from my teenage years with a bunch of nice, even-sized beads. Nowadays it seems even beads on a single hank are different sized!!

                        I'm making my honey a big belt buckle with his name and a Shoshone Rose. All charlotte - 13's. Gonna take me awhile.
               is what it is...


                        • #13
                          Daaaaaang Rose, see how ya are??? All stingy and stuff! hahahaha :Chatter :p j/k

                          You guys I have a project in mind where I mix some 11 charlottes with mattes, silver lined, and transparents. I'm still looking for the right shades. When you get ready to mix do you see it in your head first or do you just go to a bead store and go crazy? Any more pictoral examples of mixing?
                          Last edited by Singing Otter; 01-02-2003, 02:53 PM.
                          SHAKE IT!!!!


                          • #14
                            Of course, go to the bead store and go crazy!!!:50:

                            I like getting any and all shades I like, just in case. Then when I get started I lay the hanks out next to each other to see how they look.

                            Gotta have some good blending, and good contrast, too. imho
                   is what it is...


                            • #15
                              Nowadays it seems even beads on a single hank are different sized!!

                              NO KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OF COURSE SOME PLACES ARE WAY WORSE THAN OTHERS. But I won't mention any names. But we all know who they are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !


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