Get Inspired!

The Bead Hive is fortunate to have many talented artists associated with the shop. From time to time we like to show off their work as a means of inspiring you. Since textured bead embroidery is the current hot technique, we thought you’d enjoy seeing what they recently created.

Linda Natowich (featured 2/2/12) always loved the freedom that bead embroidery provides. After seeing the new look of bead embroidery students are making in our classes, she was anxious to try adding texture to her design. Ready to try something new, she took on the challenge. She selected pink as her main color because she wanted to create a pastel summer bracelet. She complemented it by adding white and silver beads to her design. As you can see below, she was very successful in her efforts!


Margaret Colby (featured 6/2/14) purchased titanium-finished crystals and druzy gemstone beads with a specific design in mind. When it didn’t work out, she went into her stash of “unrealized components” and formulated a new idea. To the crystals and gemstone she added a cabochon her sister gave her years ago, as well as textured spikes, rizo beads and pearls from The Bead Hive. Below is her spectacular textured bead embroidery pendant.                                                          FullSizeRender-3

If you would like to see additional designs by our talented teachers and students, stop by The Bead Hive. Their jewelry is on display, and many pieces are available for sale.

We hope to see you soon!

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Introducing Shibori

Shibori is “the Japanese word for a variety of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. It comes from the very root ‘shiboru,’ which means ‘to wring, squeeze and press.’ ” Unlike the traditional process of dyeing fabric as a two-dimensional surface, Shibori fabric is given a three-dimensional form by folding, crumpling, stitching, twisting, plaiting or plucking. The technique is used to create designs on dyed fabric. There are many different styles of Shibori; each depends on the materials used and how the fabric is bound.

One popular technique, Arashi Shibori, was introduced in Arimatsu, Japan, in the early 1600’s. An artist named Suzuki Kanezo invented and perfected the technique years later in 1860. The art form became a major industry in the area, and the finest Shibori was reputed to be made in this village.

Today Shibori hand-dyed silk ribbon is an exciting addition to the world of bead embroidery.  The pleated fabric comes in interesting color blends that add “aIMG_1034-1 soft and organic look” to each design.

The nature of the ribbon is that it has a loose weave that enables it to be moved in any direction. Its thin, delicate nature requires special care. However it is well worth the challenge when you see the possible opportunities it presents.

To create a Shibori cuff, you place the ribbon on your bead embroidery medium and move it in variousIMG_1024 directions until you get the desired look you are seeking. Using small stitches, you can adhere it to the backing, trying to sew inside the folds of the fabric as much as possible. You can open the pleats by carefully using a warm heat source, like an iron or a warm light bulb.

Once your fabric is in place, you can start embellishing it with cabochons, beads, crystals and the like. You will want to use these to conceal any stitches that might be showing and IMG_1028to create the feel of your piece. Once they are in place, sew them securely in place. It is important to note that the ends of the ribbon are unfinished, and unless you tuck them in at each end, they have the potential to fray.

Keelin Brett, The Bead Hive’s highly acclaimed instructor/bead artist, will be teaching a class on the Shibori cuff. She will provide kits, demonstrate the intricacies of this art form and offer suggestions on how to create fabulousFullSizeRender-2 designs. This is bound to be a very popular class, so watch for the announcement in the next few weeks and sign up early. Space will be limited

Bracelet by Nancy Haughwout

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Treat Yourself to a Bead-ch Day!

Now that the warm summer weather is upon us, why not take advantage of a bead-ch day with friends. Gather your chairs, umbrellas, lunch and a few projects you’re working on. (If you’re looking for something new things to create, stop by the shop… We have lots of new and exciting ideas!) Find a comfortable place in the sand, or snuggle up under the shade of a tree. Line your chairs up close together, sit back, and shoot the breeze while you bead. beachAnd speaking of breezes, try to pick a wind-less day, and be sure to take out small amounts of seed beads at a time…just in case.

With so many beautiful beaches nearby, finding your perfect spot should be easy. And can you think of a more fun and relaxing way to spend a warm July day?

While you’re at the beach, observe the natural colors of nature – the hues of the sky, ocean, sand. Notice the shading cast by the sun’s light and try incorporating what you see into your beading projects.

And if you want to take a break, comb the shoreline for unusual shells and colored glass that you can wire wrap and turn into focal beads.

There are so many things to do…and the day is all yours. Enjoy!


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Lovely Lucite

If you’re looking to make attractive jewelry with a soft look for summer, consider Lucite. This versatile material is available today in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. It is extremely light and can be incorporated into all types of designs.

Created by Joan Wenzel

Created by Joan Wenzel

To get started, select from The Bead Hive’s large assortment of Lucite flowers and leaves. Then add seed beads, and using a few easy techniques that we will show you, you can make your own bracelets, brooches, earrings and necklaces. It’s fun and it’s easy.

Lucite is an acrylic resin called polymethyl methacrylate that was

Created by Linda Natowich

Created by Linda Natowich

developed by the duPont Company in 1931. It was unique at the time because it was clear, it had the properties of plastic and glass, and it was stronger than previous types of plastics.

By the 1940’s, Lucite appeared in beautiful, vibrant colors. It was used in many types of accessories, such as hair brushes and lamps, as well as beads. The beads appeared in bright-colored finishes and were known for “seamless, meticulous” workmanship. Many jewelry companies stopped making Lucite beads in the 1970’s and 80’s, but today Lucite shapes are readily available and a favorite of many beaders.

Stop in The Bead Hive and let us show you ways you can integrate your these delicate pieces into your work. We’re sure you’ll enjoy creating and wearing the Lucite jewelry you design!

Created by Carol Martens

Created by Carol Martens

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Thursdays Are for Earrings

An easy way to enhance your spring wardrobe is to add colorful earrings to complement your outfits. The new bead shapes now on the market have sparked designers to create a variety of exciting earrings. The Bead Hive is devoting Thursday afternoons to help you learn the techniques. Most classes are free if you purchase the beads from the shop.

Below is a sampling of the designs we teach:

IMG_0797These turquoise earrings, first seen in Beadwork Magazine, are made with two-hole daggers and seed beads. They can be done in the same color, in variegated hues, and in complementary shades. The daggers add length and help create a dramatic effect.

IMG_0793Keelin Brett designed these earrings using seed beads and pips. The soft, transparency of the beads added to a spiral stitch offers a sense of movement and a soft, summer/spring feel.

IMG_0792Magatama beads give these peacock earrings a distinctive look. The pearl at the bottom of the design contrasts the spikiness of the surrounding beads. Make these in your favorite color palette.

IMG_0794These earrings are made using three very popular beads: studs, super duos and rondelles. You can create a different look by changing the size of the stud in the center and customizing the colors.

IMG_0791The rainbow earrings are fun to make because of the variety of colors and shades you can incorporate into the design. They are made with magatamas and size 6 and 15 seed beads.

Stop in The Bead Hive to see samples of these earrings, and plan to join us on a Thursday.

                                                                       Be sure to call to schedule an appointment.

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Not Your Mother’s Bead Embroidery

An exciting new wave of bead embroidery is sweeping the Shoreline, thanks in great part to the creativity of Keelin Brett, a professional bead artist who has been an instructor of traditional bead embroidery and other techniques at The Bead Hive for many years. With the influx of new bead shapes into the marketplace, she decided to incorporate them into her bead embroidery designs, and the result is amazing!

If you’ve ever tried basic bead embroidery, you might find 4409e57c-dfff-419f-a5ad-177d1eb19dd5this “twist” a lot more fun. Using the latest beads – daggers, rizos, drops, lentils, pips and others, you can create a design with dimension – a 3-D effect  – when you add these to your project. So instead of beads just being flat to the fabric, they stand up and demand attention. You become an architect of sorts as you build with beads and watch your project come to life.

Because the new beads are significantly bigger than seed beads (used in traditional bead embroidery), you project will “move” faster. You can finish a bracelet in perhaps half the time of the old bead embroidery. And once you finish one, chances are you’ll be anxious to start another.

The best part is there are no patterns to follow, no rules to obey… Just choose your color palette, gather a variety of shaped beads, and begin. Catch the excitement! We think you’ll love the new face of bead embroidery…

Thanks Keelin!

Bracelet created by Keelin Brett

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Get Ready for Spring

I was recently down South for a short vacation from winter. As much as I enjoyed the warmth that embraced me when I got off the plane, I was overwhelmed by the pastel shades of clothing worn by local residents; no one was draped in black or dark navy blue. Rather, hues of blues, pink and peach dominated the fashion scene, all of which were candy to my eyes.

Upon my return to Connecticut, I went to the Pantone website in search of Spring 2015 colors as a means of continuing the feeling. There they were again – soft shades, some of which sound good enough to eat: toasted almond, strawberry ice, custard, tangerine, and marsala – plus lucite green, classic blue and glacier gray. The emphasis for the season is clearly on quiet colors that reflect nature and sooth the inner self.

Although it may be hard to believe, spring is coming… and if you want to feel the warmth, check out these new colors at (The company doesn’t allow us to download them.) You might want to jumpstart the season by starting projects in these gentle tones so that when Spring does show her beautiful face, you’ll be all ready with beautiful designs you created with all the new “in” colors.

Stop by The Bead Hive, and we’ll be glad to help you get started. Books and magazines are arriving daily with lots of new, exciting projects. We hope to see you soon!







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