Logo Brick Stitch History
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Brick Stitch is a very old beading stitch.  It is a relative to peyote stitch.  Both brick stitch samplers can be made using peyote stitch if the patterns worked vertically instead of horizontally.

Native Americans have used brick stitch for many years.  The Comanches used brick stitch extensively, as well as peyote (gourd) stitch for decoration of bags, cradles and other items.  Some Iroquois wrist and hair bands were worked in bead stitches that kept each row of beads offset much like brick stitch and perhaps was a precursor to the stitch.  The Totadaho Belt (wampum), dated late 1750’s is probably worked in long strips of bugles and then stitched together, making an offset appearance that looks like brick stitch.  Old, brick stitch beadwork has been found in Guatemala worked in antique beads size 22/0 or smaller.   The originators are unknown.  Beadwork from Africa and the Middle East also include brick stitch techniques.  In reviewing quill work and basketry created by Native Americans, the cross sections of various reeds in basketry and quills placed in decorative pieces both naturally appear offset like brick stitch beading.  The motifs easily work from one medium to another.  Perhaps as the use of beads evolved, the same appearance was desired that follows in the other crafts.  

 The first beading technique I learned was brick stitch and that was over 16 years ago.  I made Ojo de Dios earrings (Eye of God).  Then Deon DeLange‘s how-to books for beaded earrings came along with many designs and techniques and I was off and beading.  Most of the first books with brick stitch techniques called the beading “bugle beading” such as bugle earrings and bugle pendants because the designs started with a ladder of bugles and then worked into seed beads or more bugle rows.  The identifying name “brick stitch” came later.

 I had already finished my search for brick stitch history when Diane Fitzgerald’s newest book was published, Beading with Brick Stitch.  Her book includes historical information based on extensive research of the stitch.  She has tracked brick stitch back to the Victorian era through vintage beadwork and offers many possibilities about brick stitch as being much older.   She also includes guidelines for identification of brick stitch versus peyote stitch.  Diane’s contribution will go a long way towards preservation of brick stitch history.

Historical References

Dubin, Lois Sherr, History of Beads from 30,000B.C. to the Present, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1987
Fitzgerald, Diane, Beading with Brick Stitch, Interweave Press, 2001, Loveland, CO
Moss, Kathryn and Scherer, Alice, The New Beadwork, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1992Mowat, Erikson, Mowat Erikson, Joan, The Universal Bead, W. .W. Norton Co., NY, 1969
Orchard, William C., Beads & Beadwork of The American Indian, Heye Foundation, 1975
Reader’s Digest America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, NY, 1978 

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