The Golden Rule of Beading


This might be the most important beading blog you ever read. I’m about to share the golden rule of beading (in my opinion). So, if you’re getting bogged down in techniques and terminology and wondering whether you’re doing it right, forget all that. You just need to remember the golden rule of beading…

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Before I get on to that…

Let’s just take a little look at why we all forget this golden rule.

Basically, from birth, we do things in life – anything at all – naturally. But throughout childhood (and beyond) we are judged for the way we do things. Our actions might earn us praise, or they might earn disapproval.

Either way, we quickly discover that there is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way to do things in life.

Now, this is great. In fact, it is absolutely necessary. If we all sailed through life doing everything any old how, the world would be pretty chaotic. (Imagine taking your car out on the road with no rules to follow!)

But for some, these rules stop becoming a helpful guide and start becoming something more like a prison. You might feel so constrained by the ‘rules’ that you are fearful of exploring in case you get it ‘wrong’ and end up in trouble.

The issue here is, a lot of these so-called rules have been created by individuals. So, they reflect that individual (or state) perception of how the world should be.

I’m sure you can think of political examples that differ from country to country. In some countries alcohol is seen as a socially acceptable form of pleasure. In other countries, it is a forbidden taboo. How can such polar opposites both be right? Well, they simply reflect the world view of the people who impose them.

My point is, ‘rules’ reflect opinions.

What has this got to do with beading?

In the years when I was teaching, I met a lot of people who were keen to learn the rules of beading. Great! That’s what I was there to teach…

But, I was (am) only passing on my opinion of how things should be done. Any beader who teaches, formally, or informally, is doing the same. Even the books and videos from which we learn are only the author’s view of how to do this. OK, yes, that author may have studied with other experts and be presenting some form of that collective wisdom. But that still doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do things.

Now, beading is a hobby. We do it for pleasure. We do it because we are seeking relaxation. So, if you constantly approach it with the idea that you must learn and follow the rules, does that impact on your pleasure and your relaxation?

Is it fun to be subjecting yourself to judgment because you fear you didn’t do it ‘right’? How relaxing is it when you’re trying to attain something that you feel like you don’t understand?

And, above all, how do you remain creative when you are trying to fit yourself into rules made by others?

Should you forget the rules then?

No, absolutely not. The rules have a purpose. That purpose is to make life easier. So, by learning techniques and finding out about the tips that others use, your beading will develop and improve.

But if you get too bogged down in ‘doing it right’, you may lose some of the enjoyment. We’re not back at school. We don’t have exams to pass or fail in beading. So, who cares if you did something a bit different to the designer or your tutor, or best beading buddy?

The only thing that matters is the golden rule of beading…

What is the golden rule of beading?

Does your work please you and does it stay held together?

If you answered ‘yes’ to both parts of that question, then you’re already following the golden rule of beading.

The golden rule of beading, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Why is it so hard to follow?

I think, basically, most of us simply forget about the golden rule of beading.

We get bogged down in trying to follow the pattern. Or, we get distracted by the things others have made. And all the time we’re judging ourselves. We’re wondering if we did it as well as someone else. And, most of us forget the distinction between ‘different’ and ‘better’.

I’m guilty of this all the time. I look at the work of others and constantly think it’s better than my own. When it is actually just different.

So, the same thing applies to the time you spend beading. If you discover you do something differently to someone else, does that make your way ‘worse’? Not necessarily. By all means, try the ‘new’ method. But if it doesn’t feel good to you and doesn’t improve the end product, you don’t have to use it.

People are constantly asking me, ‘what is the best…?’ (fill the gap with your choice of word: thread/tension/bead brand, etc). The answer is, I don’t know. Neither does anyone else.

I can tell you what is best for me. But that’s not necessarily going to be best for you.

How the golden rule of beading will help you improve

So, to borrow a much-used phrase from the online yoga teacher I follow (shout out to Adriene – love her YouTube videos!), Find What Feels Good!

Be curious. Experiment. Try different things and find what suits you. It really doesn’t matter if you’re the only person in the entire universe who does it that way. The only rule it needs to meet is the golden rule of beading!

So, cue me plugging the online beading courses I run. If you are curious about a potential way of beading that has worked for me, then check out the online courses here.

You can study in your own time, so take what you need when you need it. I’ll be adding more courses in more areas, so check back regularly to see if there is something that piques your curiosity. But NEVER forget the golden rule of beading!

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