Are You a Bead Snob?

Mar 20, 2009

Mix It Up

I met a well-known jewelry designer last year who confessed that she sometimes enjoyed mixing high- and low-end components together--beads from her local craft store with some high-end silver or handcrafted art beads or findings.  I admitted to her that I did this, too.  Looking back, it's funny how we furtively looked around as we talked in hushed tones, as if we feared we would be found out by the bead police and dragged away.

This week's free project with inexpensive craft wire with pricey Thai silver and opals reminded me of this unspoken taboo. Here are three reasons you might combine low- and high-end components:

1. To Get the Right Look

I love the vintage look of brass findings and chain and often mix it with more expensive handcrafted pendants.  Using more expensive bright silver or gold wouldn't give me the same old-fashioned look.  Recently, I bought a $2 strand of wooden beads that perfectly matches the color and texture of an expensive handcrafted pendant.  If something matches my design, I'll buy it.  I'm definitely not a bead snob! 

2.  To Keep Costs Down

Most of us can't afford to use only high-end beads and findings.  Mixing in some less expensive beads helps you stay within your budget.  Know the difference between a cheap bead--one of poor quality--and an inexpensive bead that costs less because of its material type or the way it's produced.

3.  To Surprise or Shock

A couple of years ago I saw a photo in a high-end jewelry magazine of a Hello Kitty pendant rendered in diamonds. It was odd to see an icon I associate with inexpensive trinkets in a glamorous setting.  But it was precisely that contrast that made the design so memorable. It can be fun to deliberately mix low- and high- end materials just for the suprise factor.  Put together industrial chain from the hardware store with delicate, expensive pearls.  Mix gemstones with felt beads.  Create a sterling silver pendant filled with gummi bears.

Reasons Not to Mix It Up

Of course, there are good reasons not to mix materials:

1.  To Ensure Uniformity

 When I was working on a small square stitch piece last year, I decided at the last minute to change my bead color.  Unfortunately, the new (and cheap) seed beads I grabbed weren't uniform and looked awful mixed in with the precise (and more expensive) Delicas.  I ended up tearing out those rows and redoing them with Delicas so that the rows would all be uniform and my design would not be distorted. 

2.  To Save Time

With less expensive materials, you may need to do more culling, weeding out beads with scratches or other imperfections.  If are you designing single pieces, this might not bother you much, but if you are doing production work, it may cost you a lot of time to sort through your beads.  It can also be an added expense, if there are many beads that aren't usable.

3.  To Meet Customer Expectations

If you are selling high-end jewelry or are making heirloom-quality pieces, you'll likely want to use only high-end components that will stand the test of time.  By the same token, if you are designing something deliberately low-end--such as stretchy bracelets for a child's birthday party--it wouldn't be worthwhile to include high-end beads, since the bracelets would be likely to be lost or broken before the party is even over.  Think about your customer and her expectations.  Reader Jsmaz said it best in the forums: "The key is to use the best materials you can afford and be honest with your clients."

What do you think?  Do you ever mix high- and low-end beads and findings?  Do you consider yourself a bead snob?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts on the website--and don't worry, no one will turn you into the bead police either way! 


New Free Project

Loaves and Fishes
by Jean Campbell 

Combine several strands of craft wire (light green, light blue, blue, and navy) with Thai silver fish beads, silver basket cones, a silver basket pendant, Peruvian opal rondelles, and a fish toggle clasp for this special design that will delight fisher folk everywhere.  This design from the Stringing archives will be free for a limited time. 

Check out Stringing Style 2 by Jean Campbell.  This best-selling book is full of unexpected combinations of materials--leather cord and sterling silver, freshwater pearls and black chain, seed beads and handmade art beads, banana leaf rounds and brass milagros. Inside you'll find 58 step-by-step necklace and bracelet designs, plus a gallery of 48 bracelet designs and 76 earrings.  That's a lot of inspiration!


New Reader Poll:   I came dangerously close to beading my car key last weekend.  (In my defense, it has a really cool beveled edge.)  What is the oddest thing you've ever beaded?  Whether you covered an object in beads, made beads out of unusual materials, or beaded something unique, I want to hear from you!  Responses will be shared in a future Beading DailyAnswer This Poll

Semiprecious Beads Design Challenge:  Combine 3 different types of semiprecious beads in a necklace or bracelet.  Challenge ends March 31.  Contest details.  


Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.



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Comments

Bead Me wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 5:58 AM
Michelle, I love the Loaves and Fishes necklace, but I couldn't see where the gauge of the "craft wire" was listed. I've got Artistic Wire in gauges from 16 to 32( the finer gauges are for wire crochet). Suggestions? Thanks, Allison Hoggard
SaraS@35 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 6:14 AM
In your #3 statement;...."By the same token, if you are designing something deliberately low-end--such as stretchy bracelets for a child's birthday party--it wouldn't be worthwhile to include high-end beads, since the bracelets would be likely to be lost or broken before the party is even over. " ..... Have you forgotten Feb 10th? CPISA?CPhttp://nationalbankruptcyday.com/ unless you can pay for the testing one will not have to worry about a childs birthday party......or if they will break anything by the end of the party since it now illegal to sell anything to under the age of 13 with out the lead based testing..... Sara
JayelF wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 6:27 AM
I have disc problems in my neck, which can make wearing heavy necklaces (or even heavy coat collars) painful. Several months ago, necklace my sister gave me broke, and it was only when I was restringing it that I noticed the artist had combined resin beads with glass--no wonder the necklace was so comfortable! That discovery has cured me of my bead snobbery and opened my mind to many more possibilities in my own beading. Ever since a preteen summer when my sister and I decided to try making jewelry out of hardware store finds (Ah, the summer of the fishing bob earrings!), I have been fascinated with found objects. Now I am combining them with glass & semi-precious beads in my jewelry-making. And I have retrieved those plastic & wooden beads and metal foil coins from my give-away bag to take a fresh look at them!
NC Beads 4 U wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 6:39 AM
I just recently finished a necklace in wonderful shades of white and aqua blue using as a focal bead a 23 carat oval Swiss Blue Topaz done in a backless peyote/netting bezel. A gorgeous pale blue stone, one I've been keeping for a while, was waiting for just the right idea to come along. In keeping with this article, I also used glass pearls, Swarvoski 3mm bicones and Czech seed beads. Even thought the other elements were inexpensive, the hugh center topaz will make this a true show stopper! Chris/NC Beads 4 U
BevC@9 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 7:02 AM
Funny, I just finished writing a similar post about fund raising projects. Motly about the cost and choosing quality (not necessarily expensive) and readily available supplies. Didn't think of being a Bead Snob but it sure fits. Our local beading group, Southshore Beaders, talks a lot about being bead snobs. One lady has stopped using sterling beads because she hates to clean her pieces. Nice post! Bev www.bevsjewelry.blogspot.com
Ammyjohn1354 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 7:04 AM
Not a Bead Snob: Yes I often use a mix of semi-precious stones with inexpensive seed beads to keep the price down. The only place I hate to use a substitute is the clasp. I always have to explain to my customers that if I used a gold clasp versus the plated clasp the price of the bracelet triples. Sterling however is still affordable. When I do very large pieces for competitions I stick to the highest quality beads and stones and pearls.
on Mar 20, 2009 7:39 AM
I've often said I'm a bead "slut" - I'll buy a bead anywhere! I've bought beads form "Big Lots". I haven't used them yet, but I've bought them. I just bought inexpensive glass pearls from "Hobby Lobby" because I loved the chocolate color - different from Swarovski's "dark brown". I'll probably combine them with Swarovski crystals.
SharonF@51 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 7:43 AM
I wouldn't say I am a bead snob - more like a bead connoisseur. In creating designs for myself, I often mix an assortment of precious and base metals or gemstone with seed beads. The key is does the finished product have a significant visual quality level. As a jewelry artist what I wear is part of my advertising so I want people to be impressed! When creating artisan products for resale, I prefer to use sterling or fine silver components and excellent quality beads. I believe clasps should be as fabulous as possible.and never scrimp on these. Learning as much as you can about gemstones, metals, etc. helps you become a wise buyer and comparison shopper. Whether I am purchasing through a recognized wholesaler or purchasing from a favorite Ebay vendors.com, I have an expectation of quality at specific price levels. I do use plated materials - especially for some small components - often because they are stronger in "stress" areas. I only purchase these from quality vendors where I know the plating is ample and the finish looks great. I even use a magnifying loop to check piece out before accepting them for delivery. In Rose of Sharon Jewelry's new A.F.F. (affordable-fun-fab) jewelry line at Etsy, we promote value-priced handmade designs where more plated and base metals are incorporated and lower priced beads are used. From a business standpoint, I am meeting my customer's budget without undercutting the quality and beauty. In teaching others about quality handmade jewelry, I ask "would you make this at camp?" After people stop laughing, they get the idea. Sorry no plastic "Hello, Kitty" pendants. With all that said - I love and am developing a line of mixed media (repurposed or altered art) jewelry incorporating watch parts, glass squares and other elements often found in other mediums. The goal is create a finished product of ample durability and quality that evokes a positive emotion such as joy, love, peace, cheerfulness and even belly laughs with a level of sophistication. Hard to describe it - but you know when you see it. I really admire jewelry designers who are able to "mix it up." Jewelry making should come from the heart! Sharon Fullen Rose of Sharon Jewelry http://www.roseofsharonjewelry.com (store) http://www.roseofsharonjewelry.com/blog (blog) http://www.roseofsharonjewelry.etsy.com (A.F.F. @ Etsy)
tmkrowan wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 7:48 AM
I believe we all mix it up pretty often. I personally like using inexpensive glass beads with small button pearls, and occasionally go through the offerings at Michael's (the ones they have on the hanging racks with the red or green tags) to get unusual colors or shapes to combine with my beads. When i started out, I used to incorporate a lot of sterling daisy spacers, etc. but now I find that sparkly seed beads (I like Miyuki) add just as much pop at a fraction of the cost. Working with Czech cut glass beads, crystals and silver- lined seed beads gives a lot of sparkle for a reasonable cost. And yellow-gold resin beads mixed with shell pieces and small 4mm red coral is a great summer look.
MelindaB@14 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 7:53 AM
Me & my kids are definitely not Bead Snobs. My 5yo son loves the look of Swarovskis with wooden & metal of any kind beads & my 9yo daughter loves all things sparkly and/or brightly colored. I think if it looks good & you have fun with it, use whatever works. We have beads of all types in our stash & we love to mix & match.
MelindaB@14 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 7:56 AM
I just wanted to add that we love to use lampwork beads to make gifts so we are always looking beads to mix it up depending on the recipient, sometimes crystal, gold & sterling other times czech glass, felt beads & copper... the sky' & our imaginations are the only limit in our house.
BonnieR@22 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 8:19 AM
I mix pieces a lot. I can't afford to buy all high end pieces and I love the designs of some of the "lower" end pieces. I agree, a piece has to be well made or it won't last. I love beads but am definetly not a Bead Snob!
ArlineL wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 8:27 AM
Most of my work is bead embroidery, but I love mixing in found objects and less expensive elements to get the look I want. When I weave or string, I use a combination of old and new, different metals and gemstones . I try to show examples of both expensive and less expensive beads in the classes I teach so it is affordable for everyone. I couldn't survive long without my simple seed beads, but throwing Swarovski's never hurts.
Estella@2 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 8:32 AM
Thank you for this article. I am new to your website and find it so informative. This article helped me out so much, espcially since some of the other jewelry I've seen does look high end. I too have found it fun to combine the high and low end beads together depending on the project. I used to feel bad if I didn't always use high end beads for all of my projects, but found that no matter how I put it together, the recipient always loved what I made. So I've learned not to worry about what materials I used so much and just have fun. Of course for those special occasions I do use the high end as much as possible, but the end results always justifies what I wound up using to give the recipient exactly what they wanted. So I guess I'm not a bead snob. I was wondering if it would be possible to make the pictures bigger of the projects you post. My eyesight isn't what it used to be and I find it hard to see them even when enlarged. Thank you again.
on Mar 20, 2009 9:02 AM
I shy away from using both high-end and lower-end components in the same piece. I'm more likely to use interesting but affordable beads and components in one design, and reserve my nicer components for a more-formal design. I'm not sure if that makes me a total bead snob, (because I like to make both casual and higher-end jewelry) but I'll admit that I'm not into cheaper plastic beads. The only plastic I'm using right now is vintage lucite and Bakelite. (Ok, that DOES sound snobby - oh no!)
Lou Ma wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 9:12 AM
Not a bead snob. If it has a hole or can be wire wrapped it is considered. The one place I do not scrimp is on the findings. I have never had the funds to buy "good" jewelry and hated it when the findings deteriorated in a piece I loved. So my goal in beading is to offer heirloom quality at affordable prices. I use all sterling or 14K gold or better but I keep my prices down by working with the smaller sizes of semi-precious stones and augmenting with seed beads, wood, glass, resin,etc. I feel good when I can offer a product that will still be beautiful after years of wear.
MicheleB@36 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 9:14 AM
I love using glass bead gemstiones. Also the chain at Michaels is so much cheaper than buying it a a bead store.
Susie@64 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 9:43 AM
Not a bead snob at all. I see color and shape and texture. I recently put together some freshwater pearls and nice shell beads with very inexpensive acrylic beads in a necklace and posted it on my blog. This very piece got noticed by a well known jewelry supplier and they contacted me and referred to the piece as stunning. You can see the piece here... http://awalkinthepark-susan.blogspot.com/2009/03/pink-beads.html I just wanted to also say that I love Beading Daily and get great inspiration from it! Thanks, Susan
BettyB@54 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 9:49 AM
I would have to admit that I am 'kind of' a bead snob. I love to use unique items for focal points in my jewelry. For me this usually translates into some fantastic lampwork bead I have found, or venetian glass focal bead, or Russian lacquer miniature pendant, or....well you get the idea! But then at the same time, I can't afford to use that quality through out the whole piece, so I use gold filled instead of 14K gold findings, or I use sterling silver. Sometimes I will use copper or brass if the colors complement the piece I'm working on. I tend to take what ever my focal point will be and then combine what ever additional items I need to complement the colors and flavor of the item. I will use pretty much anything to fill out the piece, although I normally do not use base metal. I have an allergy to base metals, and find that the finishes either cause me to break out or wear off of the metal very quickly. Consequently, I normally don't use them, as I figure others probably share this problem. I have been known to use Chinese lampwork/glass beads, but now with the revelation of lead content in many of their beads, I'm very undecided. I certainly don't want my customers to get lead poisioning! Also, I prefer to support local artists by using local suppliers. Betty of Simply Unique Jewelry http://simplyuniquejewelry.artfire.com
Violetbead wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 10:02 AM
Yep! I'm a glass addict, so that makes me a bead snob. I disdain plastic beads. I'm also a Japanese seed bead snob as I much prefer them over most Czech seed beads. I go in the opposite direction for findings though. I can wear base metal so it's fine with me! They are much cheaper which allows me to to have more of a selection in my stock! So yes I'm a bead snob.
on Mar 20, 2009 10:04 AM
I have never been a bead snob as such but my perceived client expectations prevented me from using less expensive materials. but now in my jewellery classes my pupils are given the choice, ' you can make with good quality sterling plate beads and non-tarnish German wire or, with pretty much the same look, have sterling silver', every time they go for the less expensive option unless it is a gift for a special occasion. Also any of my sterling jewellery that I have to service at various outlets around the UK gets tarnished and doesn't sell so now I am making 70% in German non-tarnish wire which has a kinder price tag and is received well, and there's no cleaning! So now my ratio of sterling to silver plate is 30:70. the important thing to remember is, always tell your clients the truth, you need only one back feedback or complaint to ruin a hard earned reputation! Jan Miller www.janmillerdesign.co.uk
Nemeton wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 10:18 AM
No, I'm absolutely not a bead snob - I will happily bead with anything that has a hole in it (and quite a few things that don't, as well)! I do try to use 'better quality' beads for the work that I sell - and I always try to ensure that my engineering and finishing are as good as I can make them - but for me the idea comes first, and if the idea needs craft wire, plastic beads and cheap, wobbly Indian seed beads to make it come out right, then that's what it gets! I do love real lampwork beads though, the sort made by real glass artists - I have largely given up on the 'cheap and cheerful' mass-produced lampwork because of problems with cracks (from poor annealing), sharp-edged holes, and what the lampworkers describe so beautifully as 'bead poo' - i.e. dust and bead release left in the holes because the beads haven't been cleaned. All of these are potential hazards to the wearer and so I try to avoid these particular beads and source properly made equivalents wherever I can. And yes, I totally agree with Jan, you need to be honest and thorough in your product descriptions at all times when selling your work!
MelindaB@14 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 10:35 AM
Nemeton ~ I know what you mean by "cheap & cheerful" mass produced lampwork... its not fun even for my kids... we have about 4-5 lampwork artists that we order our beads from as well as some "orphan" lots where you get lots of beads from the same lampworkers we love! We also use quality findings but have fun with the rest of it all... so snobby maybe with the lampwork & findings but open to most anything else, we've even made "rose petal" beads from special occassions. Beading is so much fun for me & my kids, its a fun family activity with at least 3 projects going!
OnyeN17 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 10:53 AM
I used to be a total bead snob. If it wasn't stone, sterling, HQ glass or Swarovski, I wouldn't go near it. Nowadays, I think I bead with just about anything. I cruise all the craft stores for bead sales (I've found nice beads at Big Lots and Wal-Mart too!) but I also support my local bead stores. I absolutely love using chunky lucite, resin & acrylic beads as base beads for making beaded beads, as well as inexpensive spacers. More and more, I've seen necklaces that look really expensive turn out to be very elegant-looking resin or acrylic/plastic. I never turn down gifts of "cheap" beads (anymore) 'cause I never know what keeping them around could inspire. Seed beads and crystals are still my favorite media, but I enjoy exploring the infinite possibilities of all types of beads. I definitely prefer Japanese seed beads over Czech (for the uniformity) but again... all beads carry beautiful design possibilities. I love beading found/recycled objects (boxes & bottles especially). And I always let my customers know if I am using plated/base metal findings (for allergy reasons) but I do make good use of them! http://DesignsByOnye.etsy.com http://flickr.com/photos/onye
on Mar 20, 2009 11:30 AM
YES! I only buy what looks good to me. Of course, sometimes when I get home, they don't look so good, so I put them aside probably to never be used. I also tear apart things that don't look right. I do NOT buy high end, because I'm not selling, so I'm not looking at that market, nor any other market. I only buy low end for working with cub scouts. Stan B.
bizzylizzy3 wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 1:02 PM
I don't consider myself a Bead Snob. I love to work with all kinds of wire, findings, and beads...depending on the piece. Often lampwork or large glass or gemstone beads are very heavy if that's all you use in a rather large piece, so sometimes I use wood, metal filigree, or some nice looking plastic or acrylic beads to keep the piece from being too heavy to wear comfortably. Also, when experimenting with a new design or a new technique I sometimes try it first with less expensive materials.
on Mar 20, 2009 1:13 PM
Ah, the dangers of not reading thru to the end of a communique. I didn't see the "include your email". My email is homespun@pacifier.com. No pictures. I wish I had pictures, but my myrtle nut necklaces were before I became obsessive about signing any artistic work and taking pictures of it.
gipsygirl wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 1:45 PM
Since I live on an island the amount of costumers is limited and if I go too high end I will not sell much. Up in the States I buy cute stuff at Wallmart and am on the internet daily for sales. I put nail polish over findings that are not precious metals to keep them nicer longer.
BLONDIE-POP wrote
on Mar 20, 2009 2:41 PM
NOT A SNOB! i do mix beads also, but never seed beads. i started looming before even trying to bead and i too learned a few lessons. i make children stretch braclets because were i sell the moms ask me to. i make them with size 8 cheap beads in all beautiful colors and sell by 3. we all know they break fast, and have 2 left. (unless they have 3 girls,grangirls etc) you really need to know what your doing, where to cut, crimp, and save. i can't aford alot of expensive gems exc...but what i do buy for the lesser looks great and more upscale. if you went to the forum and read further......i agree with the druk beads "i love them" . my policy is....if all falls use pearls or a druk beads. this was a great article. and alot of people making jewelry need to learn the difference between INEXPENSIVE & CHEAP. also, i never use sterling silver wire under 16 guage. i use a german wire which acts and needs to be treated like silver, and it is inexpensive. all my customers know, and they lover it. i mark my work silver or sterling silver. silver pieces are all marked on the tag, and they are happy,
on Mar 20, 2009 6:04 PM
I am, I suppose, a bead snob. I use sterling and genuine stones because the basis of my work has to do with the energetic properties of the stones. I have used brass on occasion because it gives a gold look for people who want gold color, and the price is still in my normal pricing range. Two years ago, I had a request to do a few pieces as a donation for a church holiday auction. I happily did the pieces but when the auction came up, my suggested prices had been slashed to less than 1/4 of what I thought was fair, given the work and the materials (the prices would not even cover the materials) When they came around again, last year, I suggested that I make pieces with coated copper art wire and glass beads. It turned out that, this time, the church people were the beading snobs, and wanted my fine stone and silver pieces for their thrift shop prices. I donated a few pieces anyway, but did not follow them. The pieces I do require a good amount of time and effort, and are designed to be not only beautiful (according to me), but also “working pieces”, i.e. things that people can wear to achieve certain effects in their health or other situations. I would not want to use cheap materials. I am thinking about doing another line of simple strung bead pieces (as opposed to intricate wirework), with inexpensive beads I can pick up at shows or on-line sales, which I can offer at lower prices, but I am struggling with this idea. The lower priced line will not have any relationship or even share the look of my usual work. I don’t like the idea of making something that I would not wear, myself (I am allergic to base metal). I don’t know that it would be enjoyable to make such pieces.
on Mar 20, 2009 9:04 PM
I'm so glad someone in the "upper beading world" :)......finally admitted to doing this! I, too, have done this for years, especially if the bead looks like it just belongs there. I got cured of my "bead snobbery" years ago when I first started beading seriously by a friend who owns a bead shop. Thank you for coming out and admitting what you do......the bead police aren't listening, are they?!? Tricia Brett FireSpirit Designs
Catwren wrote
on Mar 21, 2009 8:51 AM
Wow! I really DO fit in! I have had people looking down their noses at me since I am a true bead snob. I have learned that not everyone is willing to pay $200 for a necklace unless it is all precious metals! A friend commissioned a bracelet for her mother's Christmas gift. I used a higher end gold-plated clasp. The base of the bracelet was a peyote stitched band of Delicas and was "embroidered" with crystals, semiprecious stones, Czech pressed glass, and seed beads. She couldn't understand why I did not use a 14K gold clasp (ahem 58%gold, not solid!). I explained to her that this type of jewelry is for occaisional wear, not daily use and that the added cost of a "solid" gold clasp would increase my price to her substantially. I still don't believe that she understood! Needless to say, she changed her mind on the deal although I made this for her at cost!. I later sold this bracelet to a lady who was thrilled with the workmanship and could have cared less about the clasp! I also made 5 times the money! Le'ts face it, there are customers who know what purpose our jewelry is created for and I am totally honest about all materials used and that yes, despite carefull construction, there may be a break down the road which I am always willing to repair at no charge. I evn repair the work of others and am amazed at how poorly constructed these pieces are and the use of discount store type components. So, I use the best materials always and shy away from plastic, resin, or lucite pieces although lately I have had a change of heart and am beginning to use resin, lucite, and a little polymer clay pieces! I am also am incorporating found objects: rocks, sticks, feathers, and sea glass gathered on the beach behind my home; old keys, watch parts, old broken costume jewelry. I feel that the overall appearance of a piece is what sells! I ordered a TON of semi-precious chips and when thy arrived, I had no clue of how to make these work well for me. Everything I tried looked cheap and messy. Then, lightbulb! I began stringing the chips, separating each one with a seed bead or small fw pearl. WOW! What a difference! This technique enhanced the appearance of the chips so they seem like individual jewels and not a clump of choppy, chunky colored rocks. Yes, you CAN make a silk purse out of a sow's ear if done correctly and tastefully! Let your hair down, throw caution to the wind and CREATE!!!!! It is the end result, not the path, that is important, am I right? Blessed Ostara! Catwren >^^<
on Mar 22, 2009 2:22 AM
I run workshops and theorise that it is better to use cheaper alternatives when they are available because, although my students end up with a great piece of jewellery, it should still be classed as a "practice piece". If they want to, they can then repeat the style with more classy resources. But I do want the jewellery to last and look good for several years, so I use reliable products like Artistic Wire. Ideas at my website www.jubeadilation.synthasite.com
aubreysbeads wrote
on Mar 22, 2009 11:04 PM
I grew up with my mother always recycling something, even our clothes. My dad would decorate our walls with shells and other odd things he finds on the beach - looking back our house looked like from Anthropologie catalogue but I never appreciated it back then - now it is cool! I think this is why I love paper beads and has been making them for business and as a hobby. They are very light and can be made to look expensive. I want to share with you and check them out for yourself - aubreysbeads.com
ppeeler wrote
on Mar 25, 2009 10:18 AM
I don't think I'm a bead snob at all. I'll use whatever it takes to get the look I want. I buy a mix of materials from high to low priced. I like to make hemp jewelry as well as beaded jewelry. I do some work considered to be "traditional", and I do a lot of bead netting, but what I really like to do is to use nontraditional items mixed in with beads, semi-precious stones, etc... For example, I found an amazing stick on a recent walk. An insect problem sometime in its life had created a wonderful design on the wood. I already have plans to use pieces of this stick in a necklace design with seedbeads, natural stones, and metal components. An old metal key paired with beautiful Swarovski crystals makes an intersting and eye-catching earring or focal piece. I like colors, textures, and unexpected elements in my pieces and I get that from mixing components. That's what is important to my designs.