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The joys of bead embroidery

Sherri Serafini's Top Five Reasons to love this creative technique
Serafini Embroidered purse hero

Sherry Serafini is an award-winning beadwork artist and co-author of The Art of Bead EmbroiderySensational Bead Embroidery, and Beading Across America. Bead&Button magazine readers voted her one of the Top Ten Teachers and her classes are always in huge demand! Creativity is key to her pieces, and she encourages others to take liberty when working with her designs. You can see more of her work at

We asked Sherri to share with us her thoughts on one of her very favorite techniques, bead embroidery. Here are her Top Five Reasons that she loves this stitch. 

One of Sherry's stunning embroidered cuffs. You'll learn the technique in Inspired Bead Embroidery. 


Bead embroidery--although at times can be labor intensive--is very meditative and satisfying. It takes me into a quiet place where I find peace. This is important in my chaotic life and I consider this sacred quiet time a gift.


I am fascinated by the history of bead embroidery, which goes back several thousand years. It is found frequently on ceremonial clothing and robes found in archeological sites throughout Europe. Archeologists studying African cultures have unearthed shells used as beads that date back over 72,000 years ago, when they were used on clothing and accessories for ornamentation.

Check out the symmetry in this neckpiece. Amazing!


Creative freedom. I love the fact that anything your heart desires can be utilized in a piece. It is so exciting to know that if you love it… you can use it! And then it can be used as jewelry, or stitched to clothing, handbags, or in a wall hanging. I began bead embroidery in 1997 and have yet to be bored by it because of the endless possibilities.


It’s like painting, but with beads. I’ve always drawn and painted, and for me bead embroidery is an extension of that. When I design I see the wide variety of bead colors as little tubes of paint that are pre-mixed for me. Like paintings, I can use different strokes (stitches) and create texture within the embroidery, or make a completely flat piece by using the same size beads.


The combination of bead weaving with bead embroidery has opened many doors in my mind. I love trying bead weaving patterns. However, my patience rarely allows me to finish these patterns, so 90% of the time, they get put into a component box. When working on an embroidered piece, I will often refer to my component box and use these pieces in the embroidery. It’s much like a puzzle to me where I fit the pieces in as the embroidery develops. 



Love Sherri's work? Check out these free projects here on Facet:

Inspired Bead Embroidery cover

Inspired Bead Embroidery is now available from Kalmbach Publishing Co.!

In this lovely volume, Sherry offers 15+ exciting, all-new projects that combine her textured designs with eye-catching focal beads.

This gorgeous, 128-page hardcover book has 240 full-color photos. It explains the fundamentals and aesthetics behind Sherry’s work, from stitches and materials to color theory, and includes a gallery of her stunning creations. This book will appeal to experienced beaders looking to take their work in new, more exploratory directions.

  • Textured, dimensional projects include earrings, cuffs, collars, and two fashionable purses.
  • Creations incorporate seed beads, cubes, triangles, drops, daggers, cabochons, leather, fiber, and more.
  • Features concise instructions, well-chosen process shots, and diagrams.


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