Saturday, December 01, 2007

Resurrecting An Old Hobby

Once upon a time, when I seemed to have more "free" time, I took up beadwork. Mostly woven beaded earrings, like this. That was many years ago, back in the 80's. Over the years, I added to my bead collection and took a silversmithing class at a local rock shop (a small class of 6 students where we got one-on-one tutoring in the art of using a torch, to melt perfectly good pieces of silver). Then we went on a cleaning spree, clearing our basement of much junk. After the air cleared, I was no longer able to find my trunk of beads and accused my husband of burning it in the giant bonfire.

Two years later, my husband pulled a giant bin out of the storage room and ta-da...there are my beads! And my crayon shavings, sorted into baggies by color (what ever was I planning to do with those?!). And a few bags of assorted makings for holiday wreaths that had become nesting material for the local rodents...shudder. I was thrilled though to have the beads back. Ever since my friend, Jen, took up beading, I have been a bit envious and had even offered to send her some of my old beads if I ever found them since I seemed to have lost the time or inclination to do anything with them. It turns out most of my beads were only small seed and bugle beads which Jen doesn't need. She does wonderful work with individually beautiful beads. I do have a few strands of fresh water pearls that I purchased every time I visited Chinatown in San Francisco, but I'm not ready to give those away yet (sorry, Jen! :-). So with those as inspiration, I sat down with my beads and began playing. Then I went to Michaels and bought $121 worth of "pretty" beads and spent an entire day beading (over the Thanksgiving weekend):

From This

To This

It was very therapeutic and I'm thinking now about the possibility of turning this into a business that I could do while living on a boat out in the middle of the ocean. I may have to look into the whole Etsy thing. More to come, I'm sure.



At 10:52 PM, December 01, 2007, Blogger Janie said...

That's pretty! You did good!

At 3:38 PM, December 02, 2007, Blogger Jen said...

I love that bracelet - I have memory wire in stock, just haven't worked up the nerve to work with it yet.

Thanks for the compliments, too.

I have little doubt that you'll start to outsell me quickly. You make unique items - mine are pretty basic.

Also, I highly recommend that you not shop at Michaels again. High prices! Check out Fire Mountain Gems, Jewelry Supply, Nile Corp and other wholesalers for supplies.

At 4:48 PM, December 02, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Thanks for the websites. I knew better than to go into Michael's but just went in for one thing. Famous last words, right? ;-) I've bought lots from Fire Mountain in the past, and also Shipwreck Beads if you haven't shopped there before. I've been scouting out others and see there's a lot more mail order providers than there used to be. Wheeee! The hard part is trying to narrow the focus enough so as not to overspend on materials before even getting started. :-)

It will take me some time to figure out how to market and price things. You've been very disciplined and successful in your endeavors.

And you may call them "basic," but I am always impressed with the beauty of your pieces without overworking the materials. That takes a good eye for color, texture and design, as well as good fashion sense. You've obviously figured out a formula that works and have a good innate sense. I can only hope to achieve a fraction of your success.

Thanks for the tips!


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