In the 1970's I Bead Embroidered on the pant legs of friends and the shirts of my Spanish teacher, Sr. Urquides. I do not have any pictures of those but here is the first Bead Applique'/Bead Embroidery as a piece of jewelry in the mid 1980's, around 1985-ish.
There is a lot wrong with my work on these but let me give you a little background, cue the violins. Before the Bead Revolution of the 1990's, there were very few beading books. No beading magazines and seed beads were almost non existent. No bead shops. No place to get supplies. PahShaw you say! Yes. It is true. You could find the obscure Western/Indian/Cowboy shop that would have a few size 10 seed beads in primary colors, no purple or aqua or paparadacha! NOOOOOOOO! And you can't put a red glass bead beside a blue glass bead and get purple. Although they did have Peggy Sue Henry's Beads To Buckskins series books and I bought the new one whenever it got to that shop on 6th street in Klamath Falls, Oregon.....what was the name of that shop..... Oh! Well.... I am getting off track....
What everyone now calls Bead Embroidery I called Bead Applique' (and still do), as I said there were no books to explain these things so I called it what made sense to me: I am applying beads to fabric.. hmmmmm Bead Applique' it is!
Now, to move on with what is wrong with this first attempt:
1. I stitched to felt.
2. I did not use any backing or stabilizer to help stiffen it and hold it's shape.
3. I did not put any stabilizer inside ie: plastic or even an index card. (It used to be suggested to use an index card as a stabilizer on the back side of the felt. Which worked, but I did not like it because what if the piece got wet?)
4. My what I call dangles, you call "fringe", weren't done evenly.
5. My edge stitching isn't the most even either.
I am sure there is more wrong, but those are the major issues. I am a stickler about these things now. I developed my own process which I have modified slightly but stick to the basics of to this day. I use this process in all my Bead Applique' work and my Bead Art/Bee-ead Art pieces. Many Thanks to those who came before me like: Peggy Sue Henry and Sadie Starr. Their books helped me tremendously. Thanks also to my parents for giving me the spirit of independence and teaching me to use my brain.
Many Beady Days,