The Storytelling Jeweller

The Traveller 2 | The Storytelling Jeweller

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The Traveller 2

The Traveller 2

In May 2020 I was the guest teacher in the Facebook group Seed beads and more.

I was teaching the basics of bead embroidery through my Traveller design. You can check out all the video lessons, the live Q&A sessions, and download the pdf files from this page: Learn the basics of bead embroidery!
Here you can see the first collection of the ‘Travellers’ made by beaders from all over the world.

Today I put together a new article, as I am more and more amazed by the results of the work of my students, some of them trying bead embroidery for the first time in their life. Check out their photos and stories woven into the pieces, and make sure to leave them an encouraging comment at the bottom to motivate them continuing on this beautiful beading journey.

Adriana Banyárová


I used a Slovak 2 korona coin for this brooch/pendant for two reasons:

1. I like it, it shows “MAGNA MATER” or the “Venus of Nitra”. It is interesting for me not only because it is about 5 thousand years old (our territory has been inhabited for so long, it is unbelievable), but it was discovered about 10 km from where I live (Nové Zámky), in Nitra Castle in an archeological site which is called Troja.

2. It reminds me of Slovakia at a time when we did not yet have the Euro (it was introduced in Slovakia on 1 January 2009). We were most excited about it, and as far as my work is concerned (we do international shipping), it was a great relief, because we had an enormous amount of documents that we had to convert into different currencies, exchange rate differences and everything had to be charged, so this made our job a lot easier. Today, I might think about it more, because the national currency is also a manifestation of the identity of the nation, and so we gave up part of it. On the other hand, we have become part of a larger community (also currently debatable, whether it is more to our advantage or to the detriment … but I think everything in the world has its pros and cons and I think there are more pros so far).

I really liked your course, I learned a lot, even though I knew something about it before, but what I liked about your lessons was that you have a different style of beadwork, you use other beads and you connect them differently… But what I liked most was that you didn’t just show the “final” way of working, but in a live broadcast you showed the creative process, you compared beads, colors, etc., you weren’t afraid to steam and sew something up – the way it really is in the fact is in progress.
What is amazing about this project, that it inspired us, forced us to think not only about what kind of jewelry we would create, but everyone tried to put some plus, a story, a memory, etc. into it.
I am sincerely glad that I joined your group because we can encourage each other and even if some works are not perfect, we can praise and thus move on to further work. In addition, I also like to travel and therefore I like to hear what you say about your travels and thus also inspire me (us).

Annelien Willems


My traveller is a Brazilian coin, because Brazil has a special place in my heart. When I was 18 years old, I lived in Brazil for 1 year as an exchanged student (with AFS) and I had the best time of my life, learning a new language and culture. The coin represents the flag of the state of Minas Gerais, where I was living. Minas Gerais is known for iron, gold and gemstones-mines. My love for stones definitely started here ?. The colors of my traveller represent the colors of the national flag (blue-green-yellow), and the stars represent the 26 states of Brazil (unfortunately I didn’t have enough space on my traveller to place all the stars ?). The parrot represents the Blue Macaw (Arara Azul), which I saw flying around in The Pantanal and for me its a real symbol. It has the most vibrant blue feathers you have ever seen, and it’s known for being the most powerful of all the birds, having the power to break coconuts. ?
Thank you, Erika, for this great idea of creating memories and keeping them close to you. I learned everything from your lessons and tutorials, and it opened a whole new world for me. I just love it ❤

Zuzi Hake


I chose Sacagawea dollar coin I got in change from train ticket machine sometime in 2007 when I visited USA as student with Work and Travel programme. I found the coin very rare and special as most of the time 1 dollar paper bills are used, so I kept it as a memory. And why her? I married the guy who was travelling with me that time and now we have small family where babywearing became very handy in everyday care. It surely gives freedom “liberty” as babywearing got us everywhere, to lovely places where strollers just can’t go. I also often put my kids to sleep in babywrap while being on longer walk so I can partially relate to Sacagawea pictured at the coin. I wouldn’t think all of this will happen, and here we are, more than 10 years later, me, beading with this wonderful coin as part of the heritage.

Colors are reflecting our favorite babywraps we had along the way. I also tried to create effect of dream catcher with rhinestone chains, as I couldn’t find suitable feathers to use in fringe.
Maybe one day ❤
What I learned: Beads always have an answer 😉 Didn’t expect to use triangle shape, but they were perfect fit and were in color of one of our babywraps! Also, even not used this time = drawing a grid is big help. I usually improvise, sometime too much. This was such a great tip to keep my beadwork balanced. Thank you Erika!


Would you like to learn more about bead embroidery?

Click here to check out Erika’s bead embroidery tutorials!

Ulla Edenmark


I’m sending you a photo of the second traveller pendant, which is not quite finished, I have yet to make an edging of some sort. Anyway, this is an English coin from the 1960’s when I first visited London with my parents – I was 13 years old and London was a magical place. It was in the days of flower power and there were people with flowers and little bells on every street corner (just like in the movies!). I love England dearly and I’m feeling so much at home there – I have travelled all over England, Scotland and Wales since that first time.
What I have learned from the Traveller project is mainly that there are always more ways to bring perfection to your project. There are levels to how meticulous you can be. I have always had problems with impatience and wanting to be finished, but if I give in to that feeling, the finished product will not be as fabulous as I want it to be. I have learned to be critical of my own choices, and to pick up and redo if I’m not happy (which is HARD). That is something that I know will stay with me when I continue on my bead journey, so thank you for that!

Gale Sorrell


My story begins 1981 when I decided to travel the world but I had no money to do will I accomplished my goal?? Join the Navy see the world.. The Navy just started sending women on ships in ports of Florida and Virginia but not overseas yet.. I was told work hard in school and you get first pick where to be stationed.. I was first in my class at Radiomen school and I chose a ship in Gaeta Italy.. The USS Puget Sound.. I loved Italy.. the people the culture and food.. my traveler pendent is a 200 lira coin.. I used Tila beads for the marble streets .. the orange daggers reminds me of the colors of the roof tops.. I added a wheel for my ship.. I did accomplish my goal .. I saw every country that was in the Mediterranean Sea for 3 years.. this was my first pendant but it will not my last.. I have a box full of coins.. thank you Erica!





Thank you so much for your inspiring bead embroidery lessons!  I tried to channel my mother’s talents as I worked on this project; she was an incredible embroidery diva and would have so loved your amazing lessons.

I chose a Canadian coin for many reasons. My first trip there or to any foreign country was with my parents. We just took a quick trip across the border when visiting relatives in MN. This visit sparked my travel lust. Since then, my husband and I have toured many provinces and enjoyed countless adventures in Canada and all over the world. Canada is still in my top 5 favorite places to visit!

This project was my first bead embroidery project and not without pitfalls despite your excellent tutelage. I changed my design and color way frequently as I was determined to use beads from my stash: it seemed I always had the right colors in the wrong sizes and the right sizes in the wrong colors. Next time I’m deciding the colors beforehand and going to stock up at my LBS first. My biggest mistake was not having a pair of small bladed sharp shears to cut the ultra suede. I botched the cutting despite your warnings to be careful because my scissors were dull and too large to cut around tight spaces. I covered it up with another layer of ultra suede, which made sewing the layers more difficult.

However, I am overall pleased with my first effort. Thanks again for delivering a stellar class!


Cathy Decina



I have truly enjoyed The Traveller bead embroidery taught by Erika this past month. My Traveller is using a 2 Kroner coin from Denmark. This was one of the ports of call on my Baltic Sea Cruise in 2008. There were many memorable stops on this trip other than Copenhagen, Denmark…Talin, Estonia, St Petersburg, Russia, Helsinki, Finland, Stockholm, Sweden, and my first time visiting Amsterdam!  I usually use a credit card when I shop, so I don’t typically come home with coins, but I happened to have this one. Fond memories made with family & friends!

Although I am not new to bead embroidery, I learned many tips & tricks….knotting after each row, drawing a grid on your beading foundation with a gel pen, using that grid when placing your focal and beads, and interrupting a circle to name a few.  The two most important things though are beading on Ultra Suede and using FireLine!

Thank you Erika for sharing your talents and knowledge with us. I already have three other Travellers in process!


Michelle Bloom



Thank you, Erika, for your wonderful lessons. I made this Traveller for my 12 year old granddaughter’s birthday to help remind her of a family trip we took last September to Barcelona and other Mediterranean ports. The coin is a Euro from Spain and the red and yellow are from the Spanish and Catalonia flags. The pearls remind us of Mallorca. The necklace is a kumihimo aero Yatsu braid made with silk and lured yarn. I’m working on other Travellers now for my other 3 granddaughters. I’m hooked.


Lynn Harris



This is a fifty cent piece that I use on New Year’s Eve for a money spell (wish) where you use one of each coin on a plate out in the yard or on top of my car, really anyplace that the moon will hit it. It is some thing that I’ve been doing for over 25 years to bring fortune to your new year. These 50 Cent pieces are difficult to find I have collected three of them so far and decided to use one of them for my Traveller project!
I just learned a BEAD EMBROIDERY this winter at our local Bead retreat at the Oregon Coast. We stayed right on the beach and it was the best beading fun,classes,visiting, and Bead Bingo! The hardest thing for me was to sit and bead and look out the window at the beautiful beach and have to pick and decide to stay inside and bead or to go the beach, on that Saturday I decided to at least go for a two hour walk on the beach that way I could enjoy the two things I love the most beading and beaching! It ended March 1 after a three day beading extravaganza and little did we know a week later we would all be stuck at home in isolation. I took a very basic Embroidery class and when I found you in May it made my heart sing!
In your Traveller project I really learned a lot and after learning BEAD EMBROIDERY it has opened up my eyes to a whole new world of beading and how to see beads in a different light! Also learned how to use sequins, cup chain, and ball chain, tilas, cabs, and so much more! I have always been a sculptural peyote beader and teacher and now I am so excited everyday to try this new technique.
Erika you are the most inspirational teacher I have ever had and want to thank you so much for all you do for us to keep us happy beading in these uncertain times.
I have started saving my chocolate wrappers for the middle insert too!
Thanks again for all your wonderful inspiration and best wishes to all beaders around the world!

Annelien Willems


The story behind my French traveller is that since I was young I’ve spent many times holiday in France with my parents, sister and brother. My father is a cyclist and he loves France for cycling and of course the wine (me too by the way :)), so that’s why you see wine and grapes on my coin ?. I also lived 3 years in Strasbourg for my first job. It’s still one of my favorite places to go to, because I love the city, the Vosges and the food and the wine.
Now I’m still connected to France, because my family in law is from Normandie and my son is born on the 14th of july, the French national day ?.
What I learned in this traveller was to use metal components and a beaded tassel. Thank you Erika for the inspiration and for the very good explanation!?

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