Currently viable crafts

 

Beadworking

 

The craft of attaching beads to one another with thread or wire, or sewing them to cloth.

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income)
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Beads have been used by cultures, religions and subcultures for personal adornment, communication and trade for thousands of years. Today, we see beads used in artworks, jewellery making, embroidery, costume design and more.

In the UK, beadwork has been an important art form since the Middle Ages, when elaborate beadwork was used for both decorative and pictorial purposes. From the Renaissance to the 17th century, beadwork was a popular form of decoration for the wealthy and included decorations for clothing, apparel, objects and pictures.

In the 18th century beadwork fell out of favour, but became popular again during the 19th century. A great many women’s dresses were richly ornamented with beads of all kinds and beading could be found on many small articles such as gloves, belts, purses, bags and parasols. Beadwork as dress decoration recurred periodically in the 20th century. Today, beadwork is a popular hobby that takes inspiration from beading traditions all over the world.

 

Techniques

Beads come in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes. Beads are used to create jewellery or other articles of personal adornment; they are also used in wall hangings and sculpture and many other artworks

Beadwork techniques are broadly divided into loom and off-loom weaving, stringing, bead embroidery, bead crochet, bead knitting, and bead tatting.

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

Allied crafts:
  • Lampworked glass beads
  • Polymer beads

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

 

Support organisations

Craftspeople currently known

 

Other information

 

 

References

  • Beadwork on Wikipedia
  • Beadwork on Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Vail, Juju, The Beader’s Handbook (Octopus Publishing)
  • Woods, Dorothy, The Beader’s Bible (David & Charles)