Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bead Society of Northern California Meeting

In a couple of weeks I'll be giving a talk at the October meeting of the Bead Society of Northern California. I was a member of the BSNC when I lived in the Bay Area, and I always appreciated how they invited a diverse group of speakers over the course of a year. I'll be talking about geometric beaded beads from the perspective of mathematics and science.
For this talk, I wanted to start with a basic lesson on three-dimensional geometry and how it relates to beadwork. While the cube is an easily recognized structure, I sometimes hesitate to use terms such as "polyhedra" or even "dodecahedron" in discussions about beaded beads because these terms sound so mathy, even though they are just descriptions for the basic structures that underlie the beaded bead designs that are so popular today.
The advantage of applying these principles to beadwork is that it opens up a new range of possible design ideas. A cube beaded bead can be scaled up to the size of a pendant by weaving it with the symmetry of a dodecahedron. A dodecahedron woven with lentil-shaped beads takes advantage of duality to look more like an icosahedron. Chirality can give a design a right-handed or left-handed twist. It's my hope that everyone who attends this meeting will feel more comfortable with these ideas by the end of the talk.
Finally, I'll relate several of these geometric principles to structures found in nature. From the tiny viruses to the stars in the cosmos, the natural world offers a plethora of inspiration for the beadwork community. For example, the Microphyte beaded bead gets its name from a group of microscopic plants that have an incredible range of diversity.
The meeting is on October 16 at 7:30 PM, following a social half-hour of coffee and tea starting at 7:00 PM. BSNC meetings take place at the Courtyard Marriott in Emeryville, just over the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, and are free for members ($5 for nonmembers).
The Bead Society of Northern California meets on the third Tuesday of every month (except for December). More information about membership and events can be found on their website.


  1. Thanks Rebecca! I'm tentatively scheduled to give this talk in San Diego sometime next year too.


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