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Beadwork is the art or craft of attaching beads to one another or to cloth, using a needle and thread. Beadwork is used to decorate items of clothing, making jewellery, and can also be used in creating wall hangings and sculptures.

Beadwork is a very popular craft, mainly used to personalise items of clothing. Historicaly most cultures have employed beads for personal adornment. Beads have also been used for religious purposes, as good luck talismans, and as curative agents.

Beadwork is normally an activity carried out alone at home. although some large ceremonial or commemorative creations are worked on by groups of craft person.

Simple beadwork is often one of a very young child’s first creative toys, simply threading different coloured or shaped wooden beads on to a string, to make a necklace.

In its simplest forms beadwork takes no more than the ability to string a row of random beads or two sow single beads on to a piece of cloth. At the higher levels all the vision of an artist and the intricate skills of a needle worker are necessary.

The four most commonly used Beadwork techniques are;

Bead stringing, the threading of beads on string

Bead knitting, a type of knitting in which the stitches are decorated with glass beads

Bead crochet, a technique that incorporates beads into a crochet fabric. This technique is most commonly used to produce decorative effects in women's fashion accessories

Off-loom bead weaving, a family of beadwork techniques in which beads are woven together into a flat or three-dimensional object

In pastimes beadwork was sometimes used to make an item more hardwearing, this is rarely the case in modern times. Beadwork is nowadays used almost exclusively to personalise and decorate otherwise plain items.

Closely Related Activities
Needlework 442, Handicrafts 295, Jewellery making 838,

The costs associated with beadwork are completely dependent on the types of bead, thread and cloth used. Very creative pieces can be achieved using shells found on the sea shore or stones and hand made wooden beads the cost of which is nil. Alternatively some ceremonial pieces use precious stones and can use gold thread, the price of which can be astronomical.

Level of Demand
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