One of my favorites, especially for loom-woven beadwork, is “Those
Bad Bad Beads” by Virginia Blakelock, which can be had at
www.beadcats.com and probably at Amazon as well. It is not as
"flashy" as other books, being an inexpensively produced
spiral-bound number with no color photos, but the clearly written
instructions and nicely drawn diagrams are indispensable.
Blakelock shares many of the kind of tips that make even experienced
beaders go “Jeez, why didn’t I think of that before?”
If your wife has an interest in Native American traditional styles,
the best book out there is Georg Barth’s classic “Native American
Beadwork.” (Note first name spelling) Again, no flashy color
plates, but many well-illustrated step-by-step techniques, including
such rarities as heddle-loom weaving and bias-weaving. Plus, you
can talk to the author anytime you like, as he’s a regular on the
Hide Out forum on www.braintan.com.
As for inspiration (and really nice flashy color pictures), I can
hardly think of a better source than “The New Beadwork,” by Kathlyn
Moss, which showcases recent work by folks who would like beadwork
to be taken seriously as an art form. This is one of those books
that is so packed with beautiful photos of innovative work that your
head will slosh for a while after you look at it, what with all the
new ideas rolling around in there.
As for tools and supplies, just give your wife the Beadcats catalog
and a bunch of cash. She’ll have a bash!
HTH, and best wishes,