Book Review: Beading-the Creative Spirit

October 9, 2009

The word bead is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words for “to pray”  (bidden) and “prayer” (bede). Therefore, to sit and bead can become an opportunity to sit and pray. Or, if one is inclined–to work out an issue hiding in the shadows.  This is one reason why beaders tend to work alone on individual projects, yet happy to commune with other artists to teach and share.  It gives meaning to “When two or three are gathered in my name…”

Rev. Wendy Ellsworth discusses the spiritual side of beads and beading in her book “Beading–the Creative Spirit.”  She provides solid background on the spirituality of beads. Where did the “Evil Eye” come from? Why do Catholics use rosaries? Why are rosaries divided? What is the difference between a tasbih and a misbaha? All that is thoroughly explained in the introductory chapter. It provides a fascinating read on its own.

Beading – the Creative Spirit is not only a history book.  Ellsworth provides instruction and background to encourage the reader to search within. There is no color theory, no marketing tips, no bead show suggestions. This book is for introspection.

Chapters include exercises and meditations. There are 14 projects, from mandalas (circular bead art embroidery) to fun bracelets. Each with a meditation designed to quiet the mind and open the heart before and after one’s work. Ellsworth talks about personal journeys she took. How beading helped her process emotions hiding deep within.

She also dedicates a part of the book to the seven chakras, or energy points on the body.  A history of the chakra and the theory behind each one is explained, with an excercise & meditation.

If you are looking for a photo-heavy beading book, this is not for you. The illustrations are black and white, simply drawn, with only 4 pages of color photos.  As said earlier, this is a book for history and introspection.

Rev. Ellsworth does provide sources for bead supplies, authors/artists she mentions in the book, and an academic bibliography.

I’ve read this book once and will refer to it often over the next few weeks. I love to share and sell my art, but sometimes it’s good to just create for creation’s sake. A little introspection never hurts.  Check it out at your local library, or pick it up at the book store, it’s a lovely book.

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One Response to “Book Review: Beading-the Creative Spirit”


  1. Dear Rosalind,
    Thank you so much for this blog on my new book Beading – The Creative Spirit. I’m delighted that you got so much from reading it and hope that it continues to inspire you through your creative process. Beading is such a zen activity and I had a wonderful time writing and sharing some of my experiences through the art of beading. Beading has filled my life with so much joy, peace and beauty.
    Best Wishes,
    Wendy Ellsworth


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