How To Bead A Rogue Elephant

Warren Feld
14 min readApr 17, 2020


…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist

I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.

Only the beader or jewelry artist who is willing to submerge her- or him-self completely in this wonderfully off-centered picture — Rogue Elephant, beads, stringing materials, clasps and all — will really get the fullness of this humor, this wisdom, and the splendor of beading and jewelry making as a form of art that is worn.

And that’s what happened with me. Though not all at once. Struggling excitedly, creative frustration, wondrous illusion — that’s how I would describe my over 30 years stringing beads, weaving beads, combining wire with beads, soldering silver with beads, entangling fibers with beads.

Somewhere along the way I felt that Rogue Elephant staring at me from a distance. I moved closer to him. And all the applications and all the techniques and all the materials and all the making-selling-making-selling-making-selling began to cohere into something very real. Very meaningful. Integrally resonant. I discovered my Rogue Elephant and beaded him.

How do you stop an elephant from passing through the eye of a needle?

Warren Feld

Beading and jewelry making have been wonderful adventures, from custom work, production work, and teaching. *Design is about the ability to make smart choices.