Beadwork is the art of attaching beads to cloth, usually with the use of a needle and thread or soft wire. Most beadwork takes the form of jewelry or other personal adornment, but beads are also used in wall hangings and sculpture.
Beadwork techniques are divided into loom and off-loom weaving, stringing, bead embroidery, bead crochet, and bead knitting.
Many cultures have employed beads for personal adornment. Archaeological records show that people made beads as long as 5,000 years ago. Beads in ancient times have also been used for religious purposes, as good luck talismans, and as curative agents.
Modern beadwork is often used as a hobby to create jewelry, purses, coasters, and dozens of other crafts. Beads can differ from each other in many different designs, sizes, colors, and materials, allowing much variation among bead artisans and projects. Simple projects can be created in less than an hour by novice beaders, while complex beadwork may take weeks of meticulous work with specialized tools and equipment.