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Natalie's Notes

Patterns Using Abstract Design with Clay Beads

This is a book a friend gave to me when I first got into pottery.  It is one of my favorites. It's a prequel of sorts in some ways to the current craze of zentangle

The ideas in this book can help a bead clay artist in designing a unique stamp using precise drafting tools (t-squares, triangles and protractors).  Or you can use Autocad (or one of the free gnu versions) on your computer.  Personally I like the easy DIY doodle version using money coins for perfect circles, tool bit ends for perfect squares, etc ...  but this book has proved to be a great jumping off point in ideas when I'm feeling a bit dry.

So one day I sat down with this book and came up with this awkward drawing.  It is apparent I did not use rulers or any other of the fabulous tools suggested by this book, but I'm not a terribly precise person. This is about as good as it gets with me. However, it is my own original design.  It did come out of my own head, and it took me thinking in quadrants to get here, and this book helped me to do that.  I could have made this into a stamp but I made it into an iron oxide decal instead. 

One reason I was not too terribly cautious about being precise is that I knew this decal would be placed on a round bead.  To get it to lay flat, there is always a certain amount of stretching that must happen. If it was meant to be precise then the effect would never work.  But because it started out a bit wonky, it works just fine for me.

If you've ever wondered how to turn one simple geometric pattern into a full scale repeating stamp border, this book is a great place to begin.  You can be precise or not precise. It's up to you.  It is a fun starting point in your creative juices tool box.


  1. Perfect timing Natalie. I have been looking for ideas on designs. I'm gonna see if this book is still available.
    Love that design, BTW. :-)

  2. You can google the title and pick it up on Amazon for a good price. Thanks, Marla!


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