For many years, Laura McCabe has made consistent and considerable contributions to the art of bead weaving. So, I was thrilled to see that she’d published a book. You’d think I knew her, I was so happy. First because I knew the book would be awesome as I’ve seen her work over the years and know what she is capable of. But also because its just plain nice to see such a talented artist add this accomplishment to her career.
The book starts with a chapter on Beads Through History. There are beautiful pictures of beadwork from other eras along with historical information relating how beads have been part of our lives since very early times, how they are part of every culture in some way, and how they have been and are used to embellish our bodies, homes, and lives.
Next Ms. McCabe introduces what she calls the Basic Beading Kit – those tools, supplies, and materials that are essential to many types of bead weaving and needed to complete the projects in the book. In later chapters, these items are not listed in detail, she refers the reader back to the Basic Beading Kit.
Ms. McCabe then goes on to explain and describe flat peyote stitch (even and odd count), tubular even-count peyote, a basic spiral rope, Ndebele (herringbone), and a lacy bead weaving stitch. Just like the Basic Beading Kit, this material establishes a foundation upon which more complex techniques are later based. Building on the basic stitches, she then shows ways to embellish those stitches with a variety of beaded creations inspired by plants, aquatic life, and architecture. Each embellishment is shown by itself and alone they are relatively simple to learn and execute. These embellishments add yet another building block needed to complete the projects in the book.
Then there is a chapter I am so glad to see included, one entitled “Approaching Color and Design”. Most books with art and craft projects convey the technical steps needed to complete the projects. It’s nice to see one that also talks about inspiration, and the translation of that inspiration into design. The photo below shows one of Ms McCabe’s designs on the left and her inspiration – a dried wild sumac branch found near her home.
Then the projects begin. All of them build upon the basics laid out at the beginning of the book – the beading kit, the basic stitches, and the embellishments. Ms McCabe is skillful in combining these elements to make astonishingly beautiful jewelry and I think the projects are well within the reach of most beaders. This book is part of Lark Book’s bead weaving master class. As a master class, it would seem to be geared towards beaders with some level of experience, however I think a gutsy newbie could handle some of the projects, with some effort and patience.
Here’s the photo of Ms McCabe from the back cover of the book. She’s just as cute as can be and I love her signature hair. Thank you Laura, very well done.
All photos courtesy of Sterling Publishing. One copy of this book was provided to me by Lark Books for review purposes. The opinions expressed about this book are my own.