I love to see innovative designs - creations that are not run of the mill but showcase something new and different. I also love to see historically inspired designs. Combine the two and I am in beading heaven.

One book that delivers both divinely is the new book sent to me by Kalmbach Publishing. It's Maggie Roschyk's Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry: Ideas and Techniques for Original Designs.

Maggie has been beading since she was in the fourth grade. Today, the author's work is published in many sources. She is a contributing editor at Bead & Button. If you follow "Maggie's Column" on their site, then you might already know she is that Maggie. Maggie also teaches.

There are 13 really unique projects in her book which is largely geared for intermediate and advanced beaders. What makes this book stand out is the way it illustrates how a designer translates inspirations into finished beaded designs. Maggie wrote up loads of tips and tricks and includes one big must-do - start an idea book to write things down when something strikes you.

So what inspires her?  Maggie said, " Here is how it works for me. When I'm walking  through the hushed halls of a museum or the wind -carved walls of a canyon, my senses are working, absorbing the surroundings."  Those museum trips were definitely beneficial.  Her Herculean Knot bracelet was inspired by an antique belt with such a knot. The Helena Elements necklace, by ancient Mediterranean jewelry. Her Poppy Pods beaded beads mimic granulated gold beads, a clever metal smith technique first mastered by the Ancient Etruscan jewelry (see my past post).

Not every design is historically or culturally inspired.  The Intergalactic Love Song Necklace on the cover (shown below in all its glory) was inspired by an art glass focal bead. It is a striking geometric piece which uses seed beads in a truly novel way. This was my favorite of all her designs.

This book encourages beaders to be observant and to take note of color and details, which is an important part of the creative process.  As Maggie says, "My simple advice: Be open".  Then it might put you on the path to becoming a master beader.

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