Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review - Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects and Free Tutorials

By on Thursday, July 19, 2012 5 Comments

Diane Fitzgerald is an extraordinary bead artist and instructor.  It's not just about her 20+ year passion for the craft but her curiosity and her drive to learn everything there is to know about beads. Her extensive knowledge and creativity has enabled her to come up with wonderful pieces.

She teaches at workshops held in several countries. So for those who can't attend her classes or missed them during her long teaching career, here is a chance to still learn from her.  Her latest book, Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects.  It comprises of 24 projects she has taught and which has special meaning to her.   Fore example, one of the designs (Zipper Beaded Bracelet) was donated to the a bead group to make as a charity fund raising endeavor.

Apple Blossom Necklace
All the projects are not that difficult or time-consuming.  However,  two things stand out from this collection.  Firstly, she incorporated different techniques- stringing, bead work, knotting,  mixed media, a little bit of wire work which keeps the interest up. Secondly, the inspiration behind many of the pieces speaks volumes about the author's bead knowledge.

May Basket Pins
Jean Campbell who wrote a wonderful foreword which I thoroughly enjoyed said, " When I first met Diane, she was dissecting an old piece of African Zulu beadwork to analyze how the stitch was done; she told me at length how amazed she was at the ingenuity of the maker."  So one could easily appreciate the inspiration behind one of her projects, the Yao (East African ethnic group) necklace. It was adapted from a Yao child's necklace.  Other inspirations for the book came from Miriam Haskell, the renowned costume jewelry designer, historical jewelry and nature. 

Diane has also traveled extensively - 38 countries so far. She is apparently the go-to person for all sorts of tips including how to haggle for the best Berber bead prices!

My favorite designs are shown above. There are also 3 project tutorials you can download to see if you like the book.  The first PDF is the easy Diamond Chain bracelet.

Her Midnight Snowflake tutorial shows that you can make crystal snowflakes of any color successfully!  I love how she used several of them in a necklace.

The Fortune Teller's necklace tutorial is a netted stitch project created around translucent resin beads. The combined effect is stunning!

There was just one project - the button doll ornament -  which I felt was out of sync with the others. But then, this book is about her favorite projects which explains its inclusion! She made the button doll for family members at Christmas and thus is a precious memory.

Overall the book is a delight and recommended for all levels.


Before You Go:

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. I have this book and love it. I agree with you, it is nice to see a variety of techniques in each design. I get bored only stringing beads!

    I enjoy reading her articles in beading mags as well.

  2. I've always admired Diane's talent and her beautiful work. When I first started to take beading seriously, I enrolled for in a few classes at the Miami Bead Expo. It was there that I first heard of Diane Fitzgerald, unfortunately I was not enrolled in any of her classes. I always thought that one day I would get an opportunity to take one but so far that opportunity has not arisen.
    Her book will definitely go on my Amazon wish list.

  3. I love the Apple Blossom necklace...stunning. Her work is beautiful--I would love to take a look at the book!

  4. Our local library has this book, and I was drooling in delight. I'm still at novice at beadweaving, so the designs didn't seem all that simple to me, but I hope to tackle more than one of them. This may be one of those great resources that has to be added to my collection!

  5. If you are still a novice, check out this beginner book which will cover the basics before you tackle Diane's book.