Book Review | The Complete Photo Guide to Beading by Robin Atkins

Reported by Maria del Pinto

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Robin Atkins is an international known bead artist, author, and instructor. Her work has been featured in a variety magazines and books alike. In her most current book “The Complete Photo Guide to Beading” she covers the history of beads, beading techniques and methods, tools, materials, projects, and some beading basics for the novice beader.

Photo Guide To Beading

Robin Atkins’ vast experience in teaching beading to students from all over the world has given her insight as to some of the more effective ways to teach new students how to bead. This is reflected in the great step-by-step photography included in this book.

The Complete Photo Guide to Beading Sample step-by-step pictures

You can go to Amazon to view the table of contents for this book, which gives the reader a better understanding of the vast amount of information that is available in this book. My focus is on the beading methods that are covered in this book, which include:

  • * Stringing beads on elastic thread and wire
  • * Peyote stitch
  • * Brick stitch
  • * Right-angle and net weaving
  • * Crocheting and knitting with beads
  • * Stitching beads to fabric
  • * Bead Embroidery
  • * Bead Fringes, bezels, edge stitches and more.

I especially appreciated the section on hand knotting. Robin explains the importance of knotting pearls and other precious stones. This can be seen in the following photo that shows how pearls that are just strung will touch each other and eventually cause damage.

Strand of pearls that has not been knotted.

By using knotting, the stones are spaced which provides better protection (not to mention the knowledge that if the strand breaks, I will not be chasing pearls all over the place). The book gives step-by-step directions for two different knotting techniques, and the reader just needs to decide which works best for their particular project. I tried my hand at knotting my pearls. However, as you can see I still need a bit more practice to perfect the knotting techniques.

Strand of knotted pearls.

I wanted to see how a novice beader would interpret the step-by-step directions, so I had my 15 year old daughter make two different pairs of earrings using some leftover beads that I had on hand. She started by reading page 27, where she was able to find out what materials she would need to make the earrings and some tips on how to use them. Then she read pages 52 thru 55 to learn how to make different types of earrings. She started with a simple pair of earrings just using some blue glass beads, green crystals, and some findings.

Blue and Green Crystal Chandelier Style Earrings.

The next pair she did is made using some chandelier crystals combined with the left over round crystals from the last project to create another pair of earrings.

Blue Chandelier Crystal Drops combined with round crystals.

I think she did a great job applying what she learned to the materials she had on hand.

The book is easy to follow. Personally, I think that there is so much information covered in this book that it is more an encyclopedia of beading rather than just a beading book. If you want to see more of Robin Atkins’ work, then a quick visit to her website gallery pages will give you a chance to see some of her exquisite bead work and upcoming class schedule.

The Complete Photo Guide to Beading has a cover price of $24.99, but can be found for lower at places like Amazon.

If you have already read this book or if there are any other books you would like to suggest we review for future articles, we would love to hear from you!

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One Response to Book Review | The Complete Photo Guide to Beading by Robin Atkins

  1. Avatar
    Fab May 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    Great article Maria, although I’m not into jewelry, it was very interesting and I can see how beading could become very addictive.