Beading With An Edge

I know that I can come across as something of an elitist sometimes when I’m talking about something I really enjoy but trust me it always comes from a good place. I guess maybe I’m overly enthusiastic about certain forms of artistic expression but lately in the past few months I’ve been studying more and more about beads and embroidery, not so much for me to get some first-hand practice on the craft (although that might change in the future, though not just yet), but I’ve studied it for purely scholastic interests thus far. That said, as a simple consumer I’ve been on the hunt for some unusual beads that are one of a kind so I can get the most out of my hard-earned dollars. So after checking out that site in that hyperlink just for a few minutes, I could tell immediately that it would be a great resource for future reference.


My interest in different cultures around the world was the motivation for putting up this photo, I’ll admit that much. Here is a beaded corset made in Southern Sudan. I have a certain affectionate respect for things that are hand-made like this corset. © Ann Porteus.

I like seeing the different uses that beading has in different ways, and how they’ve changed over the generations. If I remember correctly, corsets were originally more often used by men than women, but these days you don’t see many men wear them at all and they are typically marketed to and used by women around the world, a great deal more so than to men.


I hadn’t considered beading to be as universally useful like in this photo of a beaded watch band. Some people may not like the color or the size or transparency of these beads but I can imagine a million different kinds of color schemes and bead styles that could be used just for a watch band… © Sally Mahoney.

It’s refreshing to see beading make a comeback in some way that’s a bit more masculine or asexual rather than just constantly leaning toward one specific type of feminine-minded personality category.


I remember learning several years ago about the general make up and how to craft and maintain some types of medieval armor and I then learned that many of the edges of some types of armor (shields and hilts of weapons included as well) and also battle skirts worn under the outer layers of thicker armor, often had beaded and embroidered crafting put into them. It’s amusing to me that such dangerous and masculine tools of warfare would be associated with something that is now stereotypically associated as being a feminine craft! © Patrick Lordan.