The Storytelling Jeweller

The Traveller | The Storytelling Jeweller

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The Traveller

The Traveller

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

An amazing, inspiring place to be if you’re a beader. Admins Anita M. Adamson and Sylvia Burns do a great job by organizing beadalongs, motivating members, inspiring the community. It was an honor and pleasure, and also lots of fun to get the beaders of Seed beads and more acquainted with the basics of my favorite technique: bead embroidery.

I chose The Traveller project to walk beaders through all the tricks and tips. My original Travellers feature coins from different countries I visited. When I wear them, I get reminded of the friendly faces I’ve met, the beautiful places I was lucky to see, the adventures I’ve had, together with some of the most important people in my life. The Travellers beaded in the group feature all kinds of different stories.

Would you like to try it, too and embroider your own beaded memory?
You can watch the video lessons, the corresponding Q&A sessions, and download the pdf files here.

It was heartwarming to experience the enthusiasm and hospitality in the group and answering their questions. Today I brought you a small collection of their beautiful pieces and the stories woven into them. Soon a second collection will follow!

Petra Veldkamp



When Erika announced that she was the guest teacher for the month of May in the Seed Beads and More group, I became enthusiastic. I love bead embroidery, but it scares me a little (so many possibilities, so many choices to make).
But the lessons of Erika, her tips and tricks helped me a lot and I started with one project. That one project was followed by another and another and at the end I had seven projects on my beading board ?
She did not only teach the technical part of bead embroidery but gives a lot of inspiration too.

In the past I had bought a couple of L2Studio cabochons from Erika, but I never had the courage to work with them. And now I was really motivated to use these too.
This is the result of one of them, made with a handmade cabochon from Lenka. I’m really proud of the result and happy to wear this pendant.

I want to thank Erika a lot for all she did, to teach and guide us in the world of bead embroidery and I must admit: I’m addicted now



Janet Rouse



Mine is not strictly a Traveller, because I do not travel out of the UK vey much and only go on holiday to the Canary Islands which uses the Euro now, so instead, for my first project, I chose a glass picture cabochon of beautiful pansy flowers (I love them and have 2 pots full on the doorstep of my home). I had never attempted bead embroidery previously because, to be honest,  I always thought it was too hard, however your first lesson, really persuaded me to give it a try.  I have done sewing embroidery before but not for many years.  I chose my colours for my “Traveller” to mirror the colours of the pansies, and eagerly awaited each lesson. You have now got me hooked on bead embroidery and I have made quite a few already including one in landscape  with a fringe, something I would never have attempted previously. So you really have pushed me outside of my comfort zone and extended my beading skills so thank you so much for that. As of now I have 4 further bead embroidered projects on the go and lots if ideas swirling in my brain. If only there were more hours in the day to bead Emoji


Would you like to learn more about bead embroidery?

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

Ann Rust



I made my Pendant with a French 10 franc piece I kept for no reason although we did travel a lot through France in the past. I used beads I had in my stash so that influenced my colors. The multi-colored cup chain was a bracelet I bought at a flea market years ago that was far too big for me but knew I’d get to use it sometime. I posted a picture of my unfinished piece with picots before you covered how to add the backing so I removed them and added them again when I stitched the backing on. I had never bead embroidered before and I had no Ultrasuede so I used a new bonded (non-fraying) cleaning cloth and firmed it up with iron-on interfacing and it worked very well. I used no. 11/0 Toho beads to make a three-strand twisted herringbone rope as per Jill Wiseman’s instructions on YouTube.

Thank you for the wonderful instructions. I am now looking to make an embroidered cuff.

Anita Adamson


This past month, as Co-Administrator of Seed Beads and More, it has been my pleasure to work closely with Erika!  She presented a very well organized month-long class on Bead Embroidery, including both written and video tutorials.  The members were able to interact directly with her through several live videos.

I had created some bead embroidery pieces in the past, but even so, I learned several new techniques and tricks from Erika.

I created two Traveller pendants, but this is my favorite and the one I put the most thought in.  Here is my story behind its creation:

The pendant began with a U.S. Sacajawea Coin. For those of you that are not from the US, Lewis and Clark was the first U.S. expedition overland to the Pacific. In our travels in the Northwest, we encountered historical locations commemorating them often.

In the Dakotas, Charbonneau, a French Trader, was enlisted as a guide for the expedition, and one of his plural wives, Sacajawea, a Shoshone by birth and mother of a newborn, was taken along as interpreter for them over the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, a journey stretching thousands of miles.

I’ve often thought about Sacajawea. With a new baby, just 2 months old, how did she feel about being taken along? Was she even asked? Most likely not. But I like to imagine she welcomed the journey, the chance to be outside amongst nature, seeing new wonders daily. An idealistic view, I’m sure, of what was a very arduous journey.

I was pleased when in 2000, the US decided to commemorate a Native American on a coin , and chose Sacajawea, and have saved one all these years. This was the perfect time to make something with it.

I chose my colors as I imagined her journey through the Northwest, culminating at the ocean; the browns for the earth, the greens for the evergreens, the blues for the rivers and oceans, the gold for the flecks of color in the streams. The feather added, as a symbol of the Native American, and the leaves, for nature.

The rope was made with tubular chenille stitch.

I wish to thank you, Erika, for a wonderful, educational month, and I have definitely been inspired to delve farther into the many creative possibilities of bead embroidery. I would also like to invite anyone who is interested in learning more about beading techniques, and would like to be a part of a large, wonderful group of beaders, to join us at Seed Beads and More on Facebook.

Everything you need for your bead embroidery:

Cheryl Jackson



In March 2019 my friend and I were on the way to the Irish Discworld convention in County Cork, Ireland. We got the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin and stayed overnight in Dublin.  We had part of the next day to do something and see something so we decided on a visit to the National Leprechaun Museum situated in Dublin itself.  We went along and had a great time exploring the myths and legends of Ireland.  They were also very lovely people.  We also had a fantastic time at the convention itself later on.

We wandered around the gift shop of the museum and I picked up a souvenir coin.  Something small but a token of a great few hours.  It sat there until I had the opportunity to participate in Erika’s Traveller lessons.  Immediately I knew I had found a purpose for the coin.

I started off wanting to do colours of green and brown – leprechauns originally wore brown not green but as I worked on it the piece started evolving. Brown wasn’t right to show it and so I just went along seeing how it developed. I realised somewhere along the line that I’d used the tricolour colours of the Republic of Ireland flag which is apt as Dublin is in the Republic of Ireland.

This was the first bead embroidery I’d really done. I learnt many things.  I’d only been beading for a little over a year (maybe 15 months) so learning to work with the beads to attach them to the foundation and indeed each other was an interesting procedure. I am usually some one that likes to plan. In fact, my plans often have backup plans before I start something but the entire bead embroidery process encouraged me to allow the piece to develop organically. A little at a time.  To allow it to flow.

Erika’s lessons while complete allowed for this to happen. It was as if there was enough information to start off but then your creativity had to take over.  I usually hate anything to do with sewing and this was one step towards sewing further than I had done with beads before but I adored it. Once I’d finished my traveller I immediately started and finished a second bead embroidery project.  I’ll also be able to take the skills I learnt onwards to finish another almost bead embroidery piece on a bag I started a while ago.

I have further planned to do other pieces and have definitely caught the bead embroidery bug.  I had a holiday of a lifetime to New Zealand in December and donated all my left over coins to a charity tin thinking I had no use for them but fortunately I have a friend who lives there so I will be asking them to send me some New Zealand coins so I can do another Traveller.  I now have at least 5 items with which I plan to do bead embroidery pieces.

Thank you Erika.


Mirjam Wyler


Travelling is something besides beading Erika and me have in common.:-))
I loved the idea of using a coin from a travel as focal piece in jewellery.
The coin is from Uruguay. About 10 years ago I  was there travelling   with  my husband . It is a small country in South America. We saw and experienced a lot of nice things. The countryside is very rural what influenced the earthy colour choice of my pendant. Blue shows the coastal area and the sky and  the cupchains reflect Montevideo with people dancing tango in the streets downtown.  Montevideo is not only the  capital of the country but the capital of tango as well. It is not a  lovely or beautiful city, everything is very old and well used what is represented by the well used coin  in my pendant.
Thank you Erika for this wonderful idea and to spread the vibes of bead embroidery!

Viveka Dahlberg

I`v made my Traveler with a coin from Tjeckoslovakia. To see the coin reminds me of our holidays and my visits in the bead factories in Jablonec.
It was the first time for me to embroidery and I enjoyed it very much. I have already started two more projekt.
I will thank you so much for the inspiration and the nice lessons.

Beverly Donofrio

I was a fourth grade teacher and every new school year started with raising monarch caterpillars/butterflies in my classroom. It was very exciting and the perfect way to get my students engaged in learning and loving Science. The group I learned all about monarchs, MTN, sponsored a trip to Mexico every year to see where the monarchs migrated for the winter. I was lucky enough to go on one of those life-changing trips where we not only visited the monarchs, but got to learn so much about the history and culture of Mexico. My Traveller coin is a peso from that trip. On it’s face is a depiction of an Incan carving found in the National Museum in Mexico City, a place we visited. I used the colors of the monarch, orange, black, and white to highlight my very special coin. I am very grateful for both journeys; the one to Mexico and the journey with Erika and so many people around the world as I created my Traveller. I learned so much from both experiences that I will continue to use in my life. Thank you for this opportunity!


Barbara Maat


Combining two passions in 1 jewel, beads and Disney.
I wanted to join the embroidery adventure, but was not sure which coin I would start with. Until I saw the coin on the marketplace that made the memory of Disney Paris visible to me. With the Kids in the bitter cold for the first time to Disney Paris. Definitely worth repeating, but with slightly better temperatures, a moment to remember, now captured in my passion with beads.

Anngelica Lind

I have used a Swedish coin to show that I am from Sweden. Not long ago Sweden replaced coins so my coin is from 2016. I’ve learned a lot of your lessons.  I have developed in pearl embroidery.

Comments (9)

  1. I have really enjoyed joining in the Travellers Pendant with Erika – I came late to the challenge so mine is almost finished and then I will post it.
    Sadly I don’t get to travel that much for health reasons but have always loved Oriental folklore and found the amazing coin I have used for my centrepiece depicting the Yin & Yang Symbol and flanked with a Dragon one side & a Phoenix the other – learning how to do this Pendant has been a wonderful challenge & I have enjoyed it so much that I now have my next coin lined up ready to go – this time going Aztec ! Thank you Erika Sándor for letting me be part of the journey.

    Jo Woolnough
    Jun 13, 2020 Reply
  2. Erika, these lessons have been so inspiring. I haven’t tried bead embroidery because I was just so intimidated by it, but your tutorials have really made me want to try it. The different pieces each of these women have shared is truly amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us, especially during these trying times. It has been very uplifting!

    Carolyn Holt
    Jun 12, 2020 Reply
  3. What an honor to be included in this posting and in the journey we all took together during the month of May. I learned so much and am so happy to be able to go back and see the many ways people used different beads in their Traveller’s. I am currently working on one for my sister-in-law, combining a Twopence with both her British and Scottish heritage. Thank you Erika and Anita for many hours of inspiration and joy!

    Beverly Donofrio
    Jun 12, 2020 Reply
  4. I just love seeing all these together, it’s so beautiful and it’s lovely to read the stories behind each one. Thank you.

    Cheryl Jackson
    Jun 12, 2020 Reply
  5. Thanks again Erika for the fantastic lessons you teached us, the questions you answered and all the inspiration. It was a delightful month and it helped me through these tough times.
    It’s wonderful to see all the results and the stories behind the pieces. Congratulations to the beaders!!

    Jun 12, 2020 Reply
  6. Hi Erika, your lessons were inspirational. I am really hooked on bead embroidery now and eager to learn more. I have completed about a dozen items now and have several other pieces on the go. Thank you so much, and for featuring my project in your blog

    Janet Rouse
    Jun 12, 2020 Reply
  7. Thank you so much, Erika!
    Your ideas and your videos are great and an inspiration to all of us, beginners or experienced beaders. You are a very good teacher and know what is important to know.

    Jun 12, 2020 Reply
  8. This May was so special. Not only due to lockdown / covid-19, which we’ll never forget and certainly will change our lives for ever, but it’s been such an amazing journey with YOU, Erika, teaching and coaching us how to dare and try our wings in a new technique – bead embroidery. I can not say it’s new to me, but we never became friends before. Now, playing with my Traveller pieces and some more pattern of yours (Sashiko, Chandr Devee, Asia & Rock My Heart), I got hooked on emboidery and a whole new world opened up.
    Thank you for this unique experience!

    Katalin Dudas
    Jun 11, 2020 Reply
  9. Erika, as always, I enjoyed your Traveler lessons and all the stories and pieces of my fellow beaders. Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us.

    Joyce Standige
    Jun 11, 2020 Reply

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