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Book review: The Spirit of Bead Embroidery

What to say?  You all know that I am primarily a bead embroiderer, so I'm bound to get excited anytime a new bead embroidery book comes out.  This time is certainly no different, and I waited for Heidi Kummli's new book, The Spirit of Bead Embroidery with a decided lack of patience.

I feel that my wait has been amply rewarded with beautiful images, inspiring stories, and even a few new ideas that I feel will enhance my work.  There is good instruction, beautiful projects, and an amazing gallery of work.  There is even some instruction on loom weaving, and how to integrate that into your work.  The instructions are thorough, but not so rigid that you would be unable to make substitutions in materials.  In fact, Heidi readily encourages that, so the piece you make will be truly your own.

My caveat is that some readers may not feel as inspired as Heidi does by Native American beliefs.  Her heritage is her influence, and this book is Heidi's exploration of  how it guides her work.  There is a section on animal totems and the stones, colors, etc that are associated with them.  Another chapter covers healing stones and colors, and another focuses on the four elements and the stones and colors associated with them.  While it's interesting to me, it's not a worldview I share, so very little of this information will make its way into my pieces.  However, it is interesting, and the beadwork that Heidi shares as examples is just exquisite.

So of course I recommend the book for its inspiring beauty and embroidery information.  Whether or not you recommend it to yourself for its spiritual inspiration is up to you.  The same can be said of any book that focuses on inspiration, right?        

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Sarah Sequins said…
Cyndi, thanks for your honest review of the book!

I want to buy and read it because I love bead embroidery books, and I'm sure there's some serious eye candy, but the spiritual aspect isn't one that speaks to me. That said, I do want to put more meaning into my pieces -- I've started naming them after favorite songs. :)
Cyndi L said…
You've totally understood what I was trying to say, Sarah, so thanks! Putting meaning into our work is the take-away message that I was left with :-)