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It is far easier these days to extract ideas and patterns from specialty crafts magazines than it is to compile a book without previous editorial references. In these two new offerings from Interweave, the muse is Beadwork magazine and its talented contributors.
Designer Campbell acts as selector for 30 unusual beaded bag patterns, one in a series sponsored by the magazine. More than a dozen artists draw upon a variety of techniques, including knitting and crocheting, to produce purses in different design styles. There's a bead-decoupage plastic box, with decorations applied on top of special tape. Existing fabric purses are embellished with abstract art deco-like motifs or enhanced by highlighting existing patterns with beads for a three-dimensional impact. Directions are flawless, with all the requisite information and visuals, yet only a few explained techniques (appended) and the absence of "difficulty" designations make this collection one for experienced beaders only.
In contrast, Minneapolis artisan Fitzgerald strives to attract a broader audience, including a chapter on the basics as well as an intriguing cultural survey of Chinese, Indian, American European, African, Egyptian, and Greenlander beading traditions. What's more, the dozen and a half projects act as a far better definition of netted beadwork than the half paragraph proffered by the author; these connected bead fabrics range from a 1920s-inspired flapperlike bead necklace to an ultramodern ruffle bracelet or sea moss necklace. Instructions for each are detailed enough that, in combination with the explanation of fundamental stitches, novices might feel confident to tackle the projects. A 15-page gallery showcases the best of beadwork at the hands of artisans. Barbara Jacobs
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"Consider this compact volume a take-along book of projects to dream upon." - Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot magazine
"If you never thought about creating a beaded bag, the ideas shown within these 134 pages should spark a desire." - Embroiderers' Guild of America