What's in a name?
Awhile back, I heard from several readers who were having trouble finding the "basket-weave crimp end findings" that Carol Huber Cypher mentions in Mastering Beadwork. I did a little looking around online and only found a few places that carried them, even though I knew they were pretty common. I was puzzled–until I started searching for ribbon crimps, since I knew that those findings were often used to finish ribbon necklaces. Voilá! Tons of places that carried them.
It's sad, but true, that if you do not use the same words that Google (or MSN or most search engines) uses, then you will not find what you are looking for! Google is looking for an exact match. It is not smart enough to show you things which might be the same, but are just using a different name. If you search "basketweave crimps", then it won't show you all the places that call that exact same finding something else:
Is it any wonder that we have trouble finding things?
Descriptions just add to the confusion. Carol calls these "basketweave" crimps which is very descriptive (and accurate!), but one online shop simply calls them "textured" crimps. Many places don't use descriptions at all, assuming that you can see the differences between the findings in the photos.
When someone dares to be innovative, it can become even more confusing. "Basketweave crimps" is a great example. You'll notice that some places refer to ribbons because that is what they are sometimes used for–to finish the ends of ribbon necklaces. If you are using them to finish a peyote bracelet, you might not think to look under "ribbon." What's a beader to do?
If you have a local bead shop, a bead society, or another in-person resource, you're lucky–you can just ask for this "thingamajig" and be pointed to the right item. You have the luxury of pointing to a photo of what you want and using as many words and gestures as you like to describe it ("that rectangular metal thingy that you put on the ends of a bracelet and squeeze shut with pliers"). If you're not near any other beaders, then what?
That's where we come in. And by "we" I really do mean everyone reading this! There are lots of very experienced, knowledgeable people on the list–shop owners, designers, manufacturers, instructors, plus plenty of "regular" beaders–from all over the world.
What beading materials have puzzled you? Is there anything that you're having trouble finding? Leave a comment on the website and let's see if we can help each other out because let's face it, as much fun as it is to search for that elusive bead or finding, making something with it is so much better!
Coming This Week: On Wednesday, Jean Campbell talks about designing for people with metal allergies and on Friday, I'll have a free chain maille bracelet project by Jean Yates, along with an interview with this imaginative designer.
Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.