…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist
by Warren S. Feld

Excerpts From This Ever-Evolving Tale.....

I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.|


The Bead Lover In You:
Addiction to Beads

Beads are both a passion and an addiction. Beads have many intrinsic values that attract people. It’s that interplay of light, reflection, refraction and shadow, enhanced with tactile sensations. It’s an endorphin in its own way. You get a bead-high from looking at beads. A bead-high from touching beads. A bead-high from playing with beads. A bead-high from wearing beads.

People are always saying how addicting beads were. They expressed surprise that the pull of beads was so strong. They couldn’t stop buying and accumulating beads. They couldn’t go anywhere without stopping at the local bead store for a bead fix. They found themselves intentionally fooling or deceiving themselves about how many beads they actually had, or how much money they had spent on them.

Yes, beads are very addicting. Even though your drawers are full, you never have enough. We asked our students, customers and colleagues to complete this sentence:

I never knew how addicting this was until….

…My car automatically turned into the parking lot in front of the bead store.

…I was laying in bed looking at my ceiling tiles and realized they were done in a “Peyote” stitch pattern!

…I made my beaded fish in progress into a screen-saver. It is all about the process, when will I finish? who cares... I have this beautiful thing to handle and see as I work. Such a pleasure!

… I began hiding a stash of money to buy beads: “It’s not like I’m sleeping around….I’m just buying beads.”

… I went shopping for clothes, but came back with only one bag – a bag of mixed beads.

…. I used 3 checks to pay for my order – one from a joint account with my husband, a second from an account in my name only, and a 3rd from my son’s account – luckily I had his checkbook in my purse. So now, my husband will think that I’m only spending a little bit, I can fool myself, and my son doesn’t care one way or the other.

… I converted my dining room to a bead room, and made my family eat in the den on TV trays.

... I found that despite my long and mostly constant love of fabric - I am afterall a lifetime seamstress, having been comforted by the smell and color of fabric stores and the chush,chush,chushing of my mom's Kenmore machine since first memories - could not resist the magnetic pull into the unknown. There, standing at the front door of my local craft store with nothing on my mind or agenda but 2 yards of multi-colored backing fabric for a client's project, I saw the front of my wobbly plastic basket steering to the Northwest (Fabric is definitely to the Southwest) with such abandon that the lovely glass shelves in the center front of the store were in danger!

...I turned to beads for solace and a quiet focus. I have been going through a very hard time trying to keep a very ailing relationship together and when I could have been stressed out and worrying, I spent the time quietly beading. When I just wanted to go to bed and stay there for days, I was able to sit in my living room with my son and do bead work. To him, I was being with him and calm; to me, I was hiding in my beadwork and being near him. Beads have been my refuge. I have even read where hand needle work is a stress reliever, I am a living testament to that!

...I saw seed beads in what I scooped out of my cat box! I took my bead work and worked in the car on vacation. Every time I vacuum the sound of beads is heard. It seems every purse I clean out has some beads in it. I find beads on the back porch, when I sweep. It is a really tough decision, when I come to the off ramp which leads to the bead store and I really need to get home! I have more beads than projects for them!

...I gave up a Shoe Addiction for better be worth it!

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage

A Marriage to beads and jewelry making requires a determination to learn about stitches and techniques, materials and forms, art and design. You know you want to make some pretty things. You may even want to sell your stuff. But, although you have some artistic goals, you somehow feel trapped by not knowing techniques, not understanding beads as a medium of art, not really understanding beads as retail merchandise – how and where to buy them. You don’t know what happens to this stuff over time. You are yet not very familiar with the bead world.



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