Monday, 9 January 2012

Beading courses: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced?

What do you think constitutes a beginner, intermediate and advanced beader?

I ask because I've recently discovered (via the OTTBS facebook group and Becs) that there is a shop/studio not too far from me that offers exciting beading courses. Its called Stitchncraft. Amongst the many, many exciting courses are a few by the fantastic bead artist Laura McCabe. Now her 1 day courses are already fully booked but she does have a couple of 2 day courses entitled 'Masterclass Beaded Sculpture' that are for advanced beaders only who are proficient in all the basic stitches.

The course is £120 (excl. materials) which is very cheap considering you get 12 hours of tuition from a beading master but I do not consider myself an advanced beader so I doubt I will be booking it. Besides which I have masses of books and tutorials here at home that are gathering dust.

It has got me thinking though. What is an advanced beader? Competitions often describe an advanced beader as someone who has been beading for over 5 years. Well I certainly fit in that category but I do not consider myself advanced, maybe intermediate? I first started beadweaving in my early/mid teens I think, with a kit from Spellbound beads that I picked up at a craft fair in the NEC when I used to go with my Mum. Not long after I acquired Carol Wilcox Wells' Creative Bead Weaving. My copy is not the newer edition but is dated 1996. So, time wise I started to learn beadweaving at least 15 years ago. But, I have not actually done a lot of beading in that time! I have an okish knowledge of the basic stitches but occasionally need to dig out one of my many books to remind me how its done. I have never been on a beading course but have learnt through books, magazines, bought tutorials and the internet. I don't struggle following instructions but haven't actually done many complicated designs. The most complex kit I have purchased and completed is probably the dragon necklace kit from Spellbound beads. I did this at least 5 years ago and did not struggle with it.

I did not do much beading during my A levels or whilst at uni. I probably did no beading at all when I was teacher training and whilst I was a secondary school teacher. (So that's 3 years when I don't think I touched my beads). Just before I started my teacher training I joined the Bead Workers Guild and found a group in Totton that I used to attend but the teaching malarkey put a stop to that and I let my membership lapse. After leaving classroom teaching and moving into private tuition I have now rediscovered time for beading and am really enjoying it again. Last year I came across OTTBS and am loving being part of that group. They're all wonderful at encouraging and sharing. They are really making me want to bead loads and I have been beading a lot more since finding the group. They are making me want to go on courses to meet other beaders and develop my beadwork....which leads me back to my initial question! Am I a beginner, intermediate or advanced beader?!

One thing for sure, I need to actually have a go at some of the many projects I have in books etc! Although this will mean buying more beads as much of my stash was bough on the cheap and the quality is not good enough for beadweaving.

I also want to continue with resin and silversmithing and be honest, I like being a Jack of all trades, master of none! 


Kristen said...

Gemma you need to realize that the word "advanced" is completely relative to what you are attempting. I am sure that if you take the class (with Becs of course) you will both be aware that you have the skills Laura needs you to have to take you to the next level. Go for it!

Sarah said...

Thank you for the OTTBS mention, so glad you joined us! I probably wouldn't consider myself an advanced beader, mainly because my attention span won't generally let me consider trying an elaborate project that takes more than a couple of hours, though I am trying to break that habit! I would think that for a sculputural class, you would need knowledge of flat tubular & circular versions of the stitch in question and also how to increase/decrease. You can probably practise all that for the class from books etc. go for it I say, bet you have a ball! x

Beads By Becs said...

I'm taking the plunge and booking the course... I might be mad... but I think I will certainly learn a thing or too!

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