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New red-hot Chilli beads!

With two holes, Chillis mix beautifully with other one- and two-hole beads in simple designs.
It’s new bead time again and the latest shape to come to my attention is the Chilli™ bead from the PRECIOSA Traditional Czech Beads brand. There has been an explosion of new bead shapes and names arriving in the marketplace in the last couple of years and on my travels around the Internet I’ve recently seen a few mentions of there being (gasp!) “too many” bead shapes!

While I can imagine that this could be an issue for bead store owners not knowing which ones will be popular and which ones their customers will not be so keen on, as a beader and designer, I can only see interesting new beads as a good thing.
Living in the 21st century means that most of us are spoilt for choice in everyday life, even a trip to the store to buy something as basic as a loaf of bread isn’t as simple as it sounds – just this morning I was faced with the choice of olive ciabatta, wholemeal farmhouse, organic rye, tiger bread or bloomer to name but a few and I am sure they were all delicious. The bead world is really no different and we are lucky to have the luxury of such a vast choice of shapes, sizes, colours and finishes to open up design possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, my first love will always be the humble yet versatile seed bead, but I sometimes like a bit of butter on my bread too!

The Chilli measures 4 x 11 mm and is available in an amazing 144 colours and coatings. The official description is that the bead has a flattened elongated shape and two laterally orientated holes, but to me it looks like a little canoe - although not a watertight one! The curved shape means that these beads work well on their own and fit together neatly to create a zipper style bracelet as shown in the design on the right by Jaroslava Růžičková.
Designer - Helena Chmelíková
Designer - Karolína Emingrová
As the Chillis have two holes, they mix beautifully with other one and two-hole beads in simple woven designs, sculptural pieces, bead embroidery and surface decoration. Something else that set these beads apart for me is that they can be used any way up, with either the convex side facing outwards or with the lovely little cupped shape uppermost. As you can see in my pendant design shown on the right, I chose to capture upturned Chillis between pairs of Chilli beads placed on their sides and then added a central cluster of them with the curved side on top to show off the beautiful travertine finish from every angle.
Chilli Beads by Jaroslava Ruzi
Designer - Jaroslava Růžičková
Chilli Beads
Designer – Kerrie Slade

I’ve shown a handful of pieces made by various designers here to give you a little taster of how versatile the new Chilli bead is, but if you take a look at Preciosa’s Flickr album you will find 272 glorious photos of inspirational pieces that will have you itching to get experimenting with them.

You can also see the full range of colours in this album. Preciosa already has four free projects available to download via their website to get you started, but I am sure that lots of lovely Chilli bead projects will soon be appearing in Bead and Button magazine – maybe you will even submit one yourself!

Kerrie Slade is a beadwork designer living in Mansfield, England. She has been beading for more than 12 years and has had her work published in numerous books and magazines around the world. Kerrie teaches beadwork internationally and she sells her patterns via her website. You can read more on her blog.

Designer - Ivona Suchmannova
Designer - Aleksandra Lysenko

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