"Beads have been my best friend, partner, muse, therapist, and, on rare occasions, my antagonist. They have provided me with direction in life, a way of reconnecting with the center of my soul, and great joy and bliss," writes Wendy Ellsworth, an interfaith minister and professional bead artist whose works are represented in permanent art collections in New York and Boston. She has written a down-to-earth handbook that reflects her enthusiasm, cross-cultural perspective, and fascination with the history of this widely practiced craft.

Ellsworth is convinced that beading is a meditative exercise that gives many pleasures and inner exploration. In seven chapters, she presents personal stories, exercises, and projects such as mandalas, prayer beads, chakra necklace, song beads, and more. We were impressed by her observations on asking for personal symbols, blessing the materials, the place of color, spirals, and beauty.