Decoration is a passion that is both universal and historical. It can serve a functional purpose or be purely frivolous. Beads and Braids are no exception. Both beads and braids can trace their origins to the dawn of civilization and the combination of the two subjects is nothing new.
As beads and braids compliment each other so well - it is not surprising that examples can be found in most cultures. However - with such a choice of aterials and styles within each technique there are endless possibilities. This means that although this subject has been covered before there is still plenty of scope for new ideas.
Braids can be made in a whole host of different ways. This book concentrates on the Japanese art of Kumihimo made on a Marudai (Round stand).This elegant and adaptable piece of equipment gives the braider maximum control. Consequently beads can be added with more ease and versatility than with other methods. Nevertheless - many of the examples shown in this book can be reproduced using other braiding techniques Forty different ways of combining beads and braids are explored and they are divided into four sections:
1. Beads added to the threads before braiding begins.
2. Beads added during the braiding process.
3. Beads added after the braids have been completed.
4. Beaded ends and joins.
The order of the first three sections has been reorganised so that the easier techniques are covered first. Each of these forty concepts are illustrated with three different examples. Every example can be reproduced by following the detailed instructions and diagrams. As the book focuses on the combination of beads and braids - it is not intended as an introduction to Kumihimo.
Beginning information can be found in other books such as Japanese Braiding - The Art of Kumihimo
It is advisable to cover this ground first so that concentration can be placed on the new ideas found within this book. Having said that - readers do not have to be expert braidmakers to use this book to recreate stunning results. The braids used in the samples have deliberately been kept simple; just eight bobbins are required and only nine different sequences of moves are used. This offers a good range of braid structures whilst maintaining an easy to follow format. An effort has also been made to use beads that are readily available whilst exploring a broad range of different bead types.