Saturday, October 24, 2009


The second leg of the Swing Dancer is begun by making several bead ladders extending off of the jacket and following the lines of the pants creases as drawn on the original photo. Subsequent rows of brick stitching fill in between the ladders. Short rows and changing bead sizes change the direction of the brick stitched rows.

Another ladder is constructed to form the top of the thigh. It is connected to the jacket and then rows of brick stitching are done to fill in the space between the new bead ladder and the previous stitching. I find it easier to define the shape I want by establishing the edge and then working inward. I much prefer Czech beads to the more uniform and cylindrical Japanese beads. I am always looking for a bead that is a smidge thinner, fatter, shorter, taller to fill in a specific space. In changing direction of lines, I find that sometimes I need to pick up the thread between beads and sometime I need to go through a bead when adding a new bead. I have a theory about beadwork--1. I put a new bead on the needle- 2. I put the needle through the existing beadwork- 3. I go back through the new bead- 4. I pull the thread tight. If the new bead does not fall off, IT'S RIGHT!!

To begin the lower leg, another bead ladder is thrown. I choose to begin again with the dark crease line down the center of the leg. I then fill in with additional rows, first to one side then to the other. I often do rows of brick stitch stacking 2 or even 3 beads at a time to change the angle of the row.

Smaller and darker beads butt the jacket to place the leg behind the jacket. Larger and lighter beads advance the knee and the center line of the leg for roundness.

The foot again begins with a bead ladder off the pant cuff and proceeds to the heel, changing direction for the sole. I love doing brick stitch because decisions are continuing to be made throughout the construction. In doing a scene in peyote or loomwork, the design is entirely charted out in advance. I find that once all the designing decisions are made, I lose interest.  Brick stitch keeps my attention because it cannot all be planned in advance. You have to keep mental flexibility and change as the piece warrants.


  1. This is such exciting beadwork! I don't think I have seen brick stitch used in this way before and the effects are amazing. I look forward to following the progress of this piece - thank you for sharing Joanne :0)

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