When I received Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue from Lark Books, I took one look at the cover and felt a little bit of panic hit me as I noticed the model was wearing a necklace all made up in peyote. Before opening one page, I thought to myself that this book would be filled with peyote designs not for the faint of heart. I have seen some of the most amazing work by Japanese artist in person at the Bead Dream displays in Milwaukee and in magazines. The panic I felt was because I have only recently conquered my fear of the peyote stitch with help by bead designer Met Inmom while in Detroit. I took a deep breath and started to leaf through the first few pages and was instantly relieved to recognize other types of bead weaving that I feel comfortable with. I relaxed and began to enjoy looking through this book actually dreaming of making some of the projects.
The introduction by editor, Nathalie Mornu, brings a picture of Sonoko to life. Sonoko has become a celebrity at the Bead and Button shows in Milwaukee after her first workshop in 2005. I remember seeing her always surrounded by admiring students while at Met the Teachers event where her booth was so crowded that I was unable to get near to look at the kits she had for sell or to met her. Now, I wish I had been more patient and waited in the long lines to acquire one of her kits. In the introduction, the editor writes “beaders who prefer to pore over the illustrations rather than the read word will be especially delighted”. I’ve bought books from Japan on fiber toy making that have no English at all and have always found the Japanese have wonderful illustrated instructions that are always easy to follow, and now I find a book on Japanese beauty also has instructions even I could easily follow.
I thought I understood beads, but after reading the techniques page, I realized I knew nothing about the three types of seed beads (Delica, Aiko and Matsuno) and their unique properties. I knew the Delicas were different by being cylindrical better suited for bead weaving that called for multiple passes, but was amazed that the other two bead types also had differences suited for different types of bead weaving. Imagine having your eyes opened on just page 12. Sonoko also writes, “ The same stitch in a pattern can produce a variety of projects if you simply alter the kinds of beads which you weave”. I knew this, but to read it in print just reinforced the permission to experiment.
With Chapter two the actual magic begins. Each project begins with a beautiful picture with a short introduction my Sonoko. The bead weaving illustrations are well thought out with each type of bead given a unique symbol. The thread patterns are easy to follow and the word descriptions are simple but exact on how to complete the piece. Included with each project is a precise supply list.
Waterdrops caught my attention at first as very colorful and fantastic variation of the caterpillar or fringe bracelet. By adding a different bead weights and Swarovski Elements this is the perfect project to experiment with color and design. Sweet Breeze that is a netted shawl just took my breath away. The only thing I wish is that the photograph was in color so I could admire the delicate nature of this wrap. Sonoko uses lots of crystals in her designs. I usually shy away from using so many crystals, but Snow Crystal makes me want to run to my local bead store to purchase enough of the 3mm bicones to complete this pendent in multiple colors.
The Sonoko Wave is so delicate and feminine, I could see myself wearing this with my scrubs at work to make myself feel special. Probably one of my favorite projects is Night Dew. With the 350 3mm bicones surrounding the write, I think the drops of glittering dew in the mornings would blush at what Sonoko has designed. I can actually see me wearing this to my 40th class reunion in September. Add Breath of Spring in this same color scheme to complete a shining ensemble with the scarf like necklace to amazing the onlookers.
One of my favorite project in this book is Powder Snow. Using Swarovski glass pearls and combining them with size 11 seed beads, I twitch to get out my needles to create this stunning piece of art for my wrist. Some day when I feel brave enough to learn and conquer another bead weaving technique, bead crochet is on my list. Stone Pavement is beyond lovely. Just the colors in the piece make me want to swoon.
And then the Sonoko Necklace itself is presented at the end as a prize. Intimidating at the very first, I find that each project give more confidence to entice the beaders to confront this amazing necklace. By breaking each piece down into smaller interlocking pieces, Sonoko has created a design that does rival Mother Nature. After spending time with Sonoko’s new book, I feel inspired to add her to my bucket list of artist/instructors that I wish to learn from.
Click here to download a PDF of Crystal Rose from the book offered to you by Lark Books.
Disclosure...As a reviewer of products from Lark Books, I receive the book above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Lark Books for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.