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Thursday, April 24, 2014


I was so excited to be the subject of Jennifer VanBenschoten's Daily Beading blog yesterday.  If you haven't subscribed to it, Jennifer puts together a great blog covering many facets of beading from tips to make your beading easier, techniques, and interviews.  Check it out at Beading Daily.  In the meantime, here is the interview with me.

New Dimensions in Bead Crochet with Adele Rogers Recklies

Apr 23, 2014

From Jennifer: While most people think of ropes and purses when they think of bead crochet, Adele Rogers Recklies thinks very differently. This New York City-based bead artist has been taking bead crochet through uncharted territory with her modern interpretations of bead crochet snakes and three-dimensional bead crochet objects like pine cones. It just goes to show you what can happen when you think outside the bead crochet box and experiment with your favorite beading technique!

How the Bead Journey Began

I got into beaded jewelry through my work in one of the theatrical costume shops located here in New York City. The beaded costumes that we made for Broadway shows, ballet, opera, and films particularly fascinated me and I jumped at the chance to take some beaded jewelry classes in the 1990's.
My first classes taught me how to make the classic native American earrings with brick stitch and bead embroidery – there was so little in the way of instructions at that time. I stumbled on bead crochet when I took a class on bead crochet taught by Miriam Milgram, a leading scholar on Balkans textiles and talented bead crocheter herself.
We learned the basic slip stitch in class, but Miriam also showed us her version of the bead crochet snakes made in Macedonia. When the planned snake class did not materialize, I started researching antique bead crochet snakes. Working from a photo of a Balkan snake that I found in a book, I came up with my own snake necklace. I soon had requests for a pattern, which led to teaching a snake class. During that class, I received many questions about the bead crochet snakes made by Turkish prisoners of war in World War I. Those questions inspired me to do more research and write Bead Crochet Snakes: History and Technique, which combines information on antique bead crochet snakes and my patterns for snake jewelry.

Branching Out Into Dimensional Bead Crochet

I became bored with just doing small tubes and wanted to do more complicated shapes. It is very difficult to increase and decrease beads with slip stitch bead crochet so I learned bead single crochet. You can do so much more in terms of shapes and patterning with bead single crochet, especially since the beads sit differently depending on when and how you add that extra loop of thread.
How the beads sit in the crochet determines what decorative motifs you can use. Mastering the particular method of bead crochet that the Turkish prisoners of war used to make their souvenir snakes gave me one more method of placing beads. I realized that there is so much more to explore with bead crochet!

The most challenging thing about moving beyond the ropes is the structural work necessary to insure that the crocheted item keeps its shape. Any tube over 8 beads around tends to flatten over time unless it is supported in some way.
When I made my first bead crochet snake necklace, I didn't put any stuffing into it, and I learned the hard way about adding support and structure to my bead crochet. Now I add a bit of stuffing to all of my bead crochet projects. All of the experimentation with shapes, patterns, and different types of beads keeps it fun, and keeps me on my toes!

How to Connect a Clasp with Jean Campbell: Part of the Beadwork Finishing Bundle available now in the Beading Daily Shop!
If you're looking for inspiration to create fabulously finished beadwork and beaded findings, check out the Beadwork Finishing Bundle. You'll get two great videos from Melinda Barta and Jean Campbell that will show you how to create and attach your own beaded clasps, plus you'll also get a copy of Melinda's awesome Best of Beadwork: 10 Custom Cool Projects eBook, with 10 more fun beading projects that will add the perfect finishing touch to your beaded creations.
Bead Happy,

You can learn more about Adele and her amazing dimensional bead crochet on her blog, Reckless Beading; purchase her bead crochet instructions, book, and finished jewelry from her Etsy shop, Reckless Beading; or learn more about her book, Bead Crochet Snakes, on her website.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Samples of felt work by Gail Crosman Moore

Another reason that I haven't had time to blog is because I had the great pleasure of spending 2 days taking classes with Gail Crosman Moore here in NYC.  The first class, as you can tell from the photos, was a felting class.

Some of Gail's felted pods

One of her needle-felted pieces

Here are some of the lovely colors of wool that were available for our projects.

Some of our felted flowers, pods, and ropes drying on the heater for the room.

We accomplished a lot of felting and had a good time along the way. Gail also explained how to sew beads onto the felt but my felted pieces are still waiting for me to add beads.

The second day-long class was an introduction to Goldie bronze clay.  Like silver clay, you mold the clay, fire it in a kiln, and come out with a bronze item.  I have never done any sculpting and wasn't particularly enthused about the class beforehand (sorry Gail), but I am so  glad that I took it.

Gail showed us how to work with the clay, how to make a silicone mold to shape the clay, how to make an impression of something (like a button) with the clay, how to dry the piece, and how to fire items in the kiln.  Here are my 3 experiments:

From top left, clockwise: a mushroom, impression of a crocheted circle, and a piece made from a silicone mold that I made using a section of coral, a penny for size comparison.

Here is a shot of the whole mushroom.  There are 2 holes in the cap so that I can hang it as a pendant.

While we were waiting for the bronze clay pieces to fire, Gail taught us how to color metal components with inks.
The two leaves and a big bug that I painted.

I was reluctant to take the bronze clay class because I have never done anything like it and I am not good at thinking on my feet--we only had about 1.5 hours to make our clay items because they had to go in the kiln at a certain time to be done before the end of class.  It turns out that I was reluctant for no reason because Gail gave us a lot of support as we  experimented and I produced 3 decent items.

The two classes also broke through a creative block.  I was having a hard time starting on a bead embroidery project because I spend a lot of time trying to figure out all of the aspects of a project before I start--necessary for a theater costume but potentially frustrating for a beading project.  I had so much fun experimenting in both classes that my attitude afterwards was just "do it and see what happens."  The new approach worked pretty well on the bead-embroidered necklace, reminding me that sometimes being out of your comfort zone is a good thing.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Did you enter  Bead Dreams 214 in the Ms. Maddie's Fabulous Florals  category?  Was it rejected by Bead Dreams?  Mine was, as were entries from some talented friends.  We came up with the idea of making a blog post into an online exhibit with the floral creations that didn't make it to the finals so that the Berlowitz family can see the lovely beadwork created in honor of Merle.

If you would like to have your beadwork included in the blog post, send me a photo with your name and name of the item to me at  If you know of someone who entered the contest, pass on the request.   Thank you.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I have the bittersweet pleasure of seeing my bracelet Pinkalicious  included in the  Your Work section of the April 2014 issue Bead & Button.  

It's bittersweet because I submitted the bracelet as a tribute to my friend Merle Berelowitz, a whiz with acrylic flowers who died last year.  here is the description: I admired Merle's work with acrylic flowers.  After collecting Lucite and acrylic flowers for two years, including some from Merle, I decided to make something from them.  I got so carried away with the fringe that I had to rip it apart and scale it back.  Every time I wear my bracelet, it reminds me of Merle.


Friday, April 4, 2014


Allrighty, I am back online.  Luckily, I don't have any sad story about the death, illness, or disaster that has kept me from blogging.  I was just busy with some beading deadlines and 2 fun classes.

Remember last year when I posted a photo of the diamond shapes that I made for the Bead Pals 4th challenge?  The guidelines were that we had to make a geometric shape in jewel-toned colors that measured 2 inches or less.   My entry was the 23 diamonds below--1 for each person in the challenge. 

Diamond shapes for Bead Pals shapes challenge

We sent out shapes off to the organizers and eventually each participant received 23 shapes to play with.  The photo below shows the selection I received.

The various shapes
Now the challenge was to make something with the shapes.  I played around with combinations but nothing really resonated until I remembered a fun game that some of us had played on Facebook.  We posted photos of what was on our beading board and I made a face of my projects. 

My photo for the What's on Your Beading Board game

 Hmm...could I make a face using the geometric shapes?  Here is the result of my bead embroidery experiment.

The finished face

I glued the shapes down to interfacing but then found that I would have to sew them down as well.  Then I added rows of seed beads to fill in the space in between.  I had planned to cut out the face and mount it on something else but a) I ran out of time and b) it would have been very difficult to so.  My desperate solution was to paint the backing with acrylic paint.  The color could be a little lighter but, after 3 tries (another learning experience), I decided to leave well-enough alone.

Diane Fitzgerald put together a fun booklet of the finished beadwork and will be posting it on her website at some point. It was fun to see how everyone had approached the shapes in a different way.  In the meantime, you can check out the booklets for previous challenges at Diane Fitzgerald. 

Now to make 22 embellished found objects.