Beadaholic Confessions: Reader Poll Results

Jul 14, 2008

Warning:  This blog post may lead to an incurable urge to shop.

What Kind of Bead Shopper are You?

More than 2,000 beaders chimed in when I asked "What type of bead shopper are you?"

I was delighted that almost 80% buy beads without knowing exactly how they'll use them.  Me too!  Now that my stash is getting out of control, I try to have at least a general idea--"those beads would make cute earrings"--but sometimes that's as specific as I get.  I also found it fascinating that a few readers confessed that they hated shopping, except for beads.  It is thrilling to rush home, unwrap your beads, and admire them.  (If I'm not driving, I'll even unwrap mine in the car on the way home.)  Some beaders have done things like choose their house or vacation spots accordinging to "bead proximity."  One reader even claimed, "I try to live my life so that I am never less than five miles away from a bead store."  (Try explaining that to your real estate or travel agents!) 

Less than 2% of you buy the exact amount of supplies needed for a specific project.  Most, like me, buy a few extra (beads, strands, or tubes) just in case.  This speaks of experience--who hasn't bought only two beads thinking "I'm going to make earrings" and then wanted to make something else when you got home?  Or worse, bought the exact number of beads and then lost one. As one reader said, "I will always regret not buying more of those purple vintage french seed beads.  Always buy extra!"

Of course, sometimes this bad planning can lead to creativity.  I was stuck for the longest time on the Pearl Medley necklace for Stringing Spring 2008 (pictured at left) because I only had three silver leaf beads, not two or four.  What kind of person buys an odd number of beads?  What was I thinking?  Obviously, I wasn't thinking.  But luckily, I know that at least a few of you will understand that sometimes when you're bead shopping all rational thought goes out the window!

Here are some words of shopping wisdom from readers:

1.  Bead shopping is good stress relief.

"Handling calls for inusrance claims is really stressful.  My husband can always tell what kind of day I'm having by the number of beads I bring home!"--Cynthia E.

2.  If you keep going back to a selection, go ahead and buy it.

"My logic is thus:  I may never see that particular bead again, so i should get it- NOW!"

3.  Seek out beads everywhere.  You'll shop anywhere--local bead shops, flea markets, online, big chain craft stores, antique shops!  

"Shopping for beads is like looking for buried treasure! When I travel I always seek out the local bead stores to see what new and different items I can find."--June Liles   

4.  If you're broke, look through your stash for inspiration. 

"It's like going shopping in your own private store!"

5.  Make a list, but don't expect to stick to it!

"I always go into a bead store with a written list of all the supplies I need for specific projects.  I write down exact colours and amounts for each project and I always have the intent of buying only exactly what I need.  And every single time I return home I sit down with all my new beads, tons and tons of them, staring at both my list and my bill, and wonder how it is that I have so many new beads but not a single thing from my list?"--Fruitsalad37

6.  Beware your "helpful" shopping companions.

"When I do go in to buy for a specific project, I end up buying more than planned, because my husband will say 'Hey honey, look at these' and start putting beads together that happened to catch his eye.  I have several necklaces that he 'designed' in the spur of the moment, while the beads I went in for sit in my box of beads awaiting another project."--Gina

"My husband likes beading as much as I do.  He always goes to shows or stores with me.  We went to a show one weekend and I gave him a list of what I needed.  I was taking a three hour class so he could do the shopping while I was in the class.  When the class was over he came by to get me and had a huge bag of beads.  I asked him if he had got what was on my list and he said...nothing!!!  Then I asked what he had in the bag and he said it was just beads that he thought were pretty!!!  I then had to go get what was on my list!!!"  Brenda Varner

7.  Stuck for a project idea?  Just looking at beads can be inspirational.

"My best inspiration comes from the bead itself.  I  leave a bead store with an empty pocket and a bag full of great ideas."

8.  If necessary, get a job to support your bead habit.

"Some beads, particularly gemstones and pearls, are best bought in person and, while you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, the larger bead shows are chock-full of princes that cannot be left unbought!  That is, after all, one of the principal reasons I still practice law by day.  It lets me be a wholly opportunistic bead buyer when I get to the shows."--Barb  

"I bought so many beads from my favorite local bead store that they ended up hiring me to work there!  How much better can life get!!"

9.  Follow your heart.

"Buying beads makes me happy--simple as that."--Kathleen Keefe

10.  Even if you create your own beads, you're not safe

"As a torchworker, I can create my own beads but there is nothing quite as exciting as finding all the findings and extra goodies at the favorite bead store of any particular locale.  I love to go to different stores and see what is new."--Charlene Fort, Morrning Sun Studio

11.  As far as addictions go, it's one of the healthier ones. 

"Beads are my addiction!  Some people drink or smoke, I . . . buy beads.  I have to set a budget for myself when I go."

"Being in a bead store calls out to my lack of self discipline--I may not be able to eat all the yummy stuff I want to--but at the bead shop I can overdo with no harm to anything but my wallet!!  And the 'spur of the moment stuff' always saves the day sometime in the future." 

"I never realized how dangerous this hobby would be!  Is there such a thing as Beaders/Crafters Anonymous?" 

12.  There's always an excuse to shop.

"There's always an excuse to go in to a shop.  They surely have new things; maybe they're having a sale; haven't been there in a while; the shop is on my way . . . "

Coming Wednesday:

 Do you have a bunch of beadwork scraps in your work area? You know, those small pieces that for whatever reason never made it to full project status? I have a bunch of them--that's just a fraction of my little "reject" pile (a.k.a. my "What was I thinking?" pile)  in the photo. On Wednesday, Jean Campbell will share a creative idea for using up all those scraps of beadwork that you've been saving. So go clean out your bead area and get ready!

New Reader Poll:  What inspires you?  Results will be shared in a future Beading Daily

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.

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JoyceJ@10 wrote
on Jul 14, 2008 7:06 PM

I'm in the process of converting my garage to an art studio which will be used for printmaking, painting, metalsmithing and beading!  Does anyone have any tips for what has been successful for them in setting-up a beadworking area?

Any "must-haves" or "should-have-dones".....thanks!

sunflower19 wrote
on Jul 14, 2008 8:10 PM

Boy, when I read this, my first thought was ---- WOW I'm not the only one!!!  My daughter in law got me into beading less than a year ago and I have quite a stash of beads now, and several pieces I plan to offer for sale at a sale at the end of the season at the campground we're staying at.  I've already sold a few pieces, mostly wirework with beads, which I really love doing.  I've got a dozen ideas floating around in my mind and while I do get inspiration from books and magazines and other designers' work, I find that even if I start out following a certain pattern, I almost always change it.  Either the beads or arrangement or something gets changed. But that's okay, it just makes it mine. :-) Loved the post on the survey! Thanks!

on Jul 15, 2008 12:11 AM

Joyce, I set up my small studio in my arizona room opposite my computer desk. I use another computer desk with hutch I bought online from walmart and it works out great. The keyboard area is where I have my bead board and it is the exact height for me to work. The top is where I do my pmc and wirework so I can keep them separate. I haven't figured out how to arrange all my beads and wire so they are easy to reach as I have aquired such a huge stash over the years and space is at a premium.

For inspiration I read every magazine, newspaper, book, I can get my hands on. I surf the internet, sometimes to the wee hours, getting ideas from all sorts of websites. I sketch out  the ideas as they come and post them on my desk for future projects. Soon I will be adding a kiln so I can start fusing my own glass beads and dichroic cabs. Just the colors of beads and dichroic glass inspires me to create. I am in love with color. My current project is creating a bracelet band for my mothers watch (she passed away last year)  so I can interchange different colors of beads and wire and pmc for each outfit I wear. I can hardly wait to finish......BeBe of tucson  

carolee1945 wrote
on Jul 15, 2008 7:03 AM

Thanks for bringing up this topic. Sometimes I think buying beads, organizing beads, looking at beads, reading about beads is more important to me than actually making something.  I also buy bead books and magazines compulsively.  I agree with the addiction concept:  if I feel lonely and depressed, usually, if I go to the beads, I am totally lifted up.  I am facing the fact that I will never be able to use all my beads.  I suffer from posthumous embarrassment as to what my children will think when they have to go through my bead room and discover my addiction.

Gayle@48 wrote
on Sep 5, 2008 6:24 PM

I feel better about buying beads after I hear all of your confessions ! ! !  I will agree mine is bad, I don’t want anybody in my work room because it consists of thousands of various beads and a large verity of books. . . . I can’t stop buying. . .  I have lots of jewelry started, but for  some reason I get pulled/walk away cause something isn’t going together like I wanted . . . or I just have a mind block!   I started buying beads 3 years ago, I haven’t put lots together yet, cause our friendly local bead store is lacking (service) need not say anymore . . . . .  anyway I can’t believe how addicting this hobby is!   I really like the wiring stuff. . . . I think I’m not ready to sell because I need a hundred for myself first!     My other lifetime hobbys/carrier  > > > >   I’m a florist and have had 20 years of memory bookings         So crazy ? ? ?


Karin@41 wrote
on Sep 5, 2008 8:09 PM

When I go shopping for beads, my friends & I swear we will take to the grave the amount that was spent on our excursions. How can I even LOOK at more beads when I have enough to start my own store??? Easy, I wear big sunglasses so I won't be recognized. Bead something, you'll feel better.  Karin