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When I was seven years old and complained of being bored, my mother gave me a little apple green glass box.  In it she had stored fragments of broken jewelry.  My boredom melted away and a fascination with beads took its place.  Over the years I’ve come back to beads again and again.  With beads and a needle and thread, I’m never wondering what to do.  I just start weaving and things begin to happen.  I don’t worry if things don’t work the way I expected; I’ve learned to relax and be open to things that happen by accident.  Often they turn out better than my original idea.

Beadworkers today are privileged to live in an era with an amazing availability of beads from all parts of the world, old beads, new beads, new shapes, new colors, new finishes.  So many possibilities are open to us.  After I learned basic brick stitch, square stitch, right-angle weave, peyote stitch, and Ndebele/herringbone stitch, I started experimenting, combining differently shaped beads to create Woven Beads.  Weaving my own components to use in a variety of ways has been the main direction of my work.

Leslie Frazier

Pinch beads, with their three-sided shape, remind me of the morning glory seeds that captivated me as a child, and I’m fascinated with the many different ways they can be woven into jewelry.   These beads have intrigued me since 2001, when I set aside two months and worked with them every day to create multiple geometric woven bead structures, among them the cube, pyramid, and sphere.  Isolated, I wondered if anyone else would like the new bead shapes as much as I did.  At the time, it seemed everyone loved the intricate designs accomplished by using tiny seed beads, and these were definitely not tiny!  Thankfully, the Pinch Bead Pizzazz Series has been popular, and I continue to enjoy designing with pinch beads.  The designs are still evolving, with the most recent Celestial Necklace, Floral Pinch Bead Bracelet, and Chunky Floral Beads.

I thought peyote stitch would always be my favorite stitch until I learned Ndebele/herringbone stitch.  It’s been so exciting exploring possibilities with this stitch.  Using tubular herringbone, I found a way to combine seed beads and cylinder beads to create a twisted ribbon effect, using a different color cylinder bead on each side of the twist.  Exploring further, still using the combination of beads, led to the spiraling, 3-dimensional tubular rope and the design, Choker with a Secret.  That rope and variations have become a feature of many of my designs.  This rope eventually led to the development of a twirling flower that combines Ndebele/herringbone stitch and peyote stitch.  Among the floral designs that resulted are Fleur d’Leslie, Spring Dreams, Fantasia, and the Double Flower Lariat.  These are all worked tubular, from the center to the outer edges.  It’s been enlightening and pleasurable to experiment with subtle color shading on these flower forms.

Spring Dreams has Ndebele /herringbone leaves growing from the rope, but simmering in the back of my mind, I kept thinking there must be a way to create a flat version of the rope that would simulate a 3-dimensional veined leaf.  After many failed attempts, the method came to me, and I began making leaves, over and over, refining them until I could make each side the same, and then replicate them as well.  Satisfied at last with the leaf shape, I couldn’t decide upon a design until suddenly, with three leaves the same size, inspiration struck.  To me, the leaves are reminiscent of oak leaves, so acorn-like woven bead shapes were added, and Autumn Dreams was born.

Participating in NanC Meinhardt’s year-long Maze workshop has provided an invaluable support group of serious beadworkers, and some bead insights happen as we weave together.  The beaded star rope that grew into the double-layered focal star of the Estrellita Necklace began at one of those monthly beading sessions.  The group atmosphere seems to stimulate creativity more than beading alone at home.

Because most of my designs will be taught, writing instructions is of great importance to me.  I weave the project many times, and there can be frequent revisions before the design is finalized so instructions can be written.  With every new project, I learn more, not only about beadwork, but about computer skills, and communicating clearly with the text and diagrams. 

My goal is that my designs have an immediate impact, and as they are viewed more closely, interesting little details, subtle color blends, and fine workmanship continue to give the wearer/viewer continued appreciation. 

Leslie has been teaching extensively since 1996, at bead stores, national bead conventions, art centers, bead societies, and bead retreats throughout the United States. Since 2003, she has visited Japan four times, teaching many students in Nagoya City, Tokyo, Kobe and Yokohama.

All beadwork designs appearing on these pages are the exclusive property of Leslie Frazier and are protected under United States and international copyright laws.

The designs or photographs may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated without written permission from Leslie Frazier.
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