How to Embellish Your Life Not Your Stories: Bead Embroidery

You have a needle, now what?

Ukranian Bead work

The meeting on November 16, 2022 will be all about needles. What about learning a bit about two big beading techniques on how to use the needles?

The first beading technique is bead embroidery. This technique has been used for centuries. It was mainly used for embellishing clothes, footwear, purses and household items. There are several embroidery stitches that can be utilized for beautifying with beads. Seed beads of all colours are typically used but any size bead can be used. Gemstone and metal beads are popular also. 

Indigenous beadwork is one of the best examples of this technique. They use it in their everyday items as well as their gorgeous ceremonial costumes. One well known Indigenous Bead artists’ is Naomi Smith.

There are a number of young indigenous bead artists coming on the scene now. If you’re interested, I suggest you do a search, it’s a well worth a look.

Naomi Smith provided this picture of beautiful beadwork from Indigenous Embroidery.

A few more examples

Another beautiful example is Ukrainian Style Beadwork

The colours, patterns, and history are too amazing. Each piece tells a story, woven through tradition, vibrant colours, and beautiful stitchwork. Maria Rypan is a well-known artist for this kind of work. She’s presented before at the GRBS and TBS and had many stunning examples to show.

A vibrant piece of Ukrainian Bead Embroidery

More examples of Maria's work

A Picture of a beading loom, with a project already started on it.

The other technique that is very popular is bead looming. It was started long ago as a decorative art form by the indigenous people. It evolved from there to off the loom beading and into the bead embroidery they do today. The technique itself is done on a piece of equipment called a loom (I’m sure you’ve seen these.) Threads are attached to the loom and remain stationary. This is the base. Other thread is used with beads to go back and forth, under and over, on the stationary threads to create a beautiful pattern. It is usually used to make bracelets and bookmarks, but recent developments in the technique have opened it up to so many more possibilities, the creations are endless.


If you want more information about either of these techniques, there’s plenty out there for you to find. Local libraries, beading societies, the internet and don’t forget often artists use mediums like YouTube to give free beginner tutorials out.

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