Wednesday, August 25, 2010

seed beads

I've sort of surprised myself by going back to doing alot of seed bead work. 6 months or so ago, I was doing lots of pieces using long beads--copper, glass, and stone ones. I liked that alot, and I'm still doing it. I particularly like it because the long beads show the geometry of the structures better than seed beads do. But I've gotten bothered by how much you're at the mercy of just what beads you can find. For example, I did several pieces using a mix of copper oval and tube beads. I was working on another when I got my next shipment from Fire Mountain Gems. This time the oval beads, which are listed as 4x9 mm, were noticeably smaller, and with a much smaller hole, making it hard to make the many passes through the hole that are sometimes needed. The earlier beads were actually longer than 9mm, and these were less than 9mm. Probably the earlier ones would round down to 9 mm and the new ones would round up to that, but they were clearly different. This isn't a criticism of Fire Mountain Gems, it's just that it messed me up. Other people sell 4x9 copper ovals, but there's no way of knowing if they're more like the earlier ones or the later ones. I had to take apart an unfinished necklace, so that I could mix up the larger and smaller beads so as to make the difference unnoticeable (actually, I still haven't finished the piece). Anyway, it irked me to be so dependant on the materials. As another example, I've done quite a bit with some glass tube beads around 14 mm long. I've gotten them from shipwreck. Now they're on sale, and I wonder if my source is about to dry up. You can always find seed beads, and RAW and similar weaves are endlessly variable. Anyway, some seed bead ideas have been percolating while I was working with the larger beads, so now I'm back to the little ones.


  1. I've had the same problem. I make bead kits, so I need to have beads continuously available. Shipwreck has discontinued a bunch of beads that they carried for years. I don't know what I'm going to replace them with, but it makes me less likely to use Shipwreck as a supplier....


  2. It makes me realize that I'm spoiled with my weaving. I use 1 type of wool and 1 type of linen, that I can always get. I make my own colors, so there's never a problem there. So I don't feel that I'm at the mercy of a changing supply. Also I'm not making a million small orders, with all the freight costs that that entails. Oh well...
    (By the way I should add that this is the first time I've actually been able to put a comment on my own blog. My son helped me figure out the problem.)

  3. Emilie, super geometric design, also the information about availability of beads in kits is most helpful!