Karen Beningfield

Karen Beningfield
Karen is a physician and bead artist working and living in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. She has been crafting since childhood and still enjoys sewing and knitting. In 2004 she discovered the joy of off-loom bead weaving using a needle, thread and tiny glass beads. This craft has allowed her to express her love of colour and texture, as well as creating wearable geometric art.

As a core member of the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork research team, Karen has participated in discovery sessions with the team and also did the technical illustrations for the books the team has published.

Her interest in fashion is long-standing, and her work is inspired by the patterns of nature, and the delight of colour.
Photograph by Kate McKinnon
Iris necklace
Glass Japanese cylinder beads
Inspired by iris flowers, this necklace is made in peyote stitch. This is an off-loom weaving technique using a needle and Miyuki thread (a braided nylon poly-filament thread). Delica beads are precision cut Japanese seed beads making them the ideal choice for making wearable geometric art.

The necklace was stitched as a long ribbon strip with hyperbolic increases and resembled a glass slinky. Prior to geometric capture the segments of the beaded ribbon was arranged in groupings of diamonds at the top and hexagons at the bottom to allow the necklace to curve around the neck.

Graduated Geometric Necklace
Glass Japanese cylinder beads
in progress
The design of this piece in progress is a peyote stitch necklace with geometric capture of hexagons gradually getting bigger towards the center of the piece and smaller towards the back of the necklace. The peyote ribbon is created on a long Casting Spine.

The technique of the Casting Spine is new to the Contemporary Beadwork team and was innovated by Joy Davidson (one of our team researchers) in 2018. This piece will be available to photograph before the Look Book deadline.

The placement of the increases were coded within the Casting spine.