Book Review: 1000 Beads

Showcase 1000 BeadsShowcase 1000 Beads by Ray Hemachandra

This is another inspiration book by Lark Crafts, which they sent me to review. Thanks, Lark!

The cover grabbed my attention right away with the turquoise and silver bead sporting a beautiful spiral running in silver through the turquoise (Aqua Spiral Enameled bead by Lynne Glazzard, pg. 13). More eye candy and inspiration for all kinds of creative people.

This book starts off with an introduction by the juror, Kristina Logan, who is recognized internationally for her glass beads. It is clear from the introduction that Logan is as entranced with beads as I am with quilts and fabric as she says “Beads: They have a power that belies their size. They’ve been around for 40,000 years. They’ve been found on every piece of land occupied by man. Small objects of enormous impact, beads can teach us about past cultures–about religious beliefs, social system, and aesthetic trends–or be taken at face value and simply enjoyed as works of art.” She has clearly done her homework and doesn’t pull any punches when telling the reader about the importance of beads to her and hinting at the importance of beads in life, culture and history.

The photos in this Showcase edition depict surprising beads, at least surprising to me. Lily Liu shows beads that look like brightly colored post it notes (pg.7) flung down in a fit of pique. There is a dress made from beads as well as tubes, flat round beads and beads that look like they could never be worn. The book also shows beads displayed in a variety of ways, so they become part of artworks rather than just ‘a bead’.

Page 9 is the page where the photos of the beads begins and after that is a feast for the eyes. They are not arranged by artist, just page after page of eye candy. It is impossible to judge the size as the beads are photographed in extreme close-up, but extreme close-up is fabulous, because the details are amazing. Peeli Rohini’s Royal Collection has tiny 3D flowers covering the bead. It looks like each petal has been added individually. Barbara Simon’s Quote Beads (pg.10) have microscopic writing on each one.

Again, neutrals such as bronze, grey, black, gold, pearl and silver have a firm place in the range of colors in this book. Wiwat Kamolpornwijit’s Lantern Festival is a polymer clay piece that looks like nickel has been used to create lanterns that morph into jellyfish or octopi. The ceramic grey beads of Ana Gomez’s Dominoes (pg.44) make up a a dress that could easily blend in with a society gala where designer frocks are de rigour. Non-neutral color is also well represented. Harold Cooney’s Nevada Trade Beads (pg. 37) and Iris Mishly’s Brocade Collection Beads are a riot of fabulous color, as well as shape, and are inspiration worthy of any quilt.

It is very hard to pick a favorite from the 1000 beads in this collection. I do like the variety of turquoise (color not stone) beads on pages 130-131, especially Astrid Riedel’s Blue Moon. I am also a sucker for the polka dot beads Leslie Schenkel calls Loose Beads (pg.115). I also like the pink and yellow combination of Donna Millard’s Tango necklace made from soda-lime glass (pg.231). The detail work in Melanie Moertel’s Clear Lakes (pg.230) makes me want to take a second and third look. There are really too many fabulous works to chose a true favorite.

A lot of the beads are depicted singly, but many are in groups made into necklaces.

Look at the shapes, materials and colors and be inspired. any creative drought, no matter your medium of choice, will be rehydrated by this book.

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