Use Your Imagination With Bead Work

It is said old is gold. A favourite past time of women in the yesteryears was bead work. You can revive this multipurpose hobby in simple ways, says Radha Prathi.

padi kolam

padi kolam

If you happen to notice the artefact display in a home where women have crossed the half-a-century age mark you simply cannot miss the bead work adorning their showcases. The animal world, tiny dolls, flower vases, bulb cases, colourful festoons and flowers among other things, were replicated using colourful ordinary plastic beads which were either round, oval or linear in shape. This art which follows certain simple principles, yet allowed a large margin to imagination, translated itself as a window to some recreation and relaxation in their otherwise sheltered existence.

By the time every possibility of using beads for creativity was tapped, women found that the world had opened a whole plethora of opportunities in the area of education and employment which made them phase out of the time-consuming activity and look out for quicker and innovative options. As they progressed effectively in other quarters, the art of bead work was relegated to a corner and over a period of time the knack for the art has vanished almost entirely in the busy world of women who do not have the time or patience for the art. Besides less cumbersome forms of art work have caught their attention, making them lose track of the art that fascinated them this long.

It is high time that we resuscitate the art and adopt it into more contemporary forms which can have both aesthetic and utility values. Here is an idea that can rejuvenate the art, that will not only reflect your resourcefulness but can also be used in any part of your home if you spend some time on the exercise. You could create coasters, table mats, telephone mats, flower vase mats and mats to place special artifacts using colourful beads.

You must procure the following materials to make your dream mats come true. Colourful beads, nylon wire, tapestry needles, a pair of scissors, a large inch graph sheet, colour pencils and an eraser are all you need.

octagonal beads

octagonal beads

Determine a pattern of your choice on a graph sheet using different coloured pencils to denote the colour scheme.

Once your design is ready, thread your needle with a double length of nylon wire and knot it at the rear end. String four beads in the nylon string and pass needle through the first bead so that the four beads form a tiny square.

Then string three more beads and repeat the process.
If you follow the graph carefully you will be able to arrive at the pattern of the mat as desired. For better results follow bigger and smaller versions of the same pattern while making table mats and coasters respectively, so that they form a set.

If you are still unable to follow the method do not hesitate to approach elderly women of the contemporary generation who were experts in the art during the fifties and sixties, before you step into the world of bead work.Once you start making these mats you will find that they will serve several purposes for the virtues of such mats are many.

For instance they can be placed wherever you fancy them. They can be washed with soap and water to keep them clean.  If you happen to make a considerable number of coasters you can arrange them as instant rangoli or just connect them together in an original way and hang them on the walls or cupboards when you are not using them as coasters. Similarly you can find novel ways to use the mats of other sizes too.
You will find that the project will not be an expensive affair and it is not complicated once you get the hang of the art. It is indeed a little time consuming but will appear invaluable as the user friendly mats will not only give you a sense of artistic fulfillment but will certainly attract the attention of your discerning visitor too.

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