Monday, February 10, 2014

All About Freeform Peyote ~Mandi

I love freeform peyote because its freeing like bead embroidery, but not as widely explored. I plan to write a project based book as a kind of launching pad on how beaders can begin to incorporate these ideas on their own. Today I want to share about what it is, some tips for getting started, resources, and of course some eye candy.

What is freeform peyote?

Freeform peyote describes pieces that have the basic structure of peyote (circular, flat, even and odd), but don't follow a set pattern and may use a variety bead sizes and size types. These structures can also be folded, twirled, added on to, and sewn together to create interest.

Tips for Getting Started in Freeform Peyote Design

1.Use a base. If this is your first project, I recommend using a base to help you get started. I feel that having a confined space is a great way to break into learning freeform peyote design, and makes it a bit less intimidating. My Freeform Peyote Heart Tutorial uses a base, and I find that it helps my students begin to experiment with this technique. For a bracelet, start with a peyote band of size 8/0 beads.

designed by Mandi Ainsworth
I have kits and a tutorial for my Freeform Peyote Heart Project.

2. Try a simple color palette. Since freeform is a technique with a lot of texture that draws your eye in multiple directions, it's a good idea to choose a simple color palette; maybe choose several shades of the same color, or two complimentary colors.

3. Focus on focal beads. Plan out where you will place each one, and embellish out from there. Try rearranging the focals and place them in different configurations and spacing before tacking them down permanently. You can do this on a peyote base or on paper with the shape drawn you would like to emulate.

designed by Mandi Ainsworth
I created this piece for the found objects blog hop. Green + Safety Pins

4. Bridges are the key. Make a loop that starts near your focal and moves toward the clasp end. Create a few rows of peyote on the loop. This is where the fun begins. You can change bead sizes or embellish with lentils, daggers, drops, etc. Then, you can create another loop that goes over, under, or next to the first loop, or eventually zip them together.

5. Work through the "Ugly Duckling" stage- Nearly all the pieces I've worked on have gone through an ugly duckling stage where everything seems fiddly, wonky, and unbalanced. My advice when you reach this point is to keep going! Karen Williams has great tips on working through this stage here.

6. You can never have enough beads. Use crystals, pearls, bugle beads, firepolish, and size 15, 11, 8, and 6 seed beads, lentils, pressed glass, stones, and drops. Use whatever calls to you.

7. Be free. It’s called freeform for a reason! Do whatever you want and take it out if you don’t like the way it looks. Remember that it only matters what YOU like, and with freeform peyote, you can develop your own aesthetic.

designed by Mandi Ainsworth
"Moving Mountains"
I designed this piece for the freeform Choose Your Own Adventure blog hop.

Resources etc.

Karen Williams and I have started a Freeform Peyote Group on Facebook. This is a great place to ask for help when you get stuck, and we also host challenges and blog hops.

Bead Circle Podcast episode where I interview Karen and we discuss the in's and out's of freeform peyote.

Sarah of Saturday Sequins posted a nice compilation of freeform goodness on her blog.

Jennifer Vanbenschoten wrote a post on Beading Daily.

I was a backer for Darcy Horn's freeform project: The Beaded Body

Karen Williams has a fabulous book on Amazon.. I am also a backer for her second book, which will go more in depth on the subject, and I invite you to check it out and back her today!

Only a couple days left to help back Karen's book via Kickstarter!

If your freeform-curious haven't tried it yet, what are you waiting for? Enjoy your freeform journey!

Peace & Love,
Mandi Ainsworth