…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 Business of Beading – The Shady Side

It has always surprised me, over the years, how many bead- and jewelry-related companies take advantage or lie to their customers. They sell them “glass” and tell them it’s “gemstone.” They say a gemstone wasn’t “treated”, although it clearly was. They tell them fishing line won’t dry out and crack. They tell them threads are cords. They tell them 24-karate gold-plated beads are 100% real gold. They tell that that Chinese crystal is Swarovski Austrian crystal. They tell them that nickel silver is 100% real silver. They say that things that come from “China” were made in “Japan.” And on and on.

One of my students – Amanda – had signed up with a company called something like Luxury Jewels. This company took $2,000 from my student to train her to put on home jewelry-making shows. They provided here with a booklet that showed pictures of several necklaces and bracelets that her party-goers could make. For each piece, there was a simple set of instructions. The training consisted of learning how to make each piece.

Amanda was excited. She was yearning for the freedom a self-sustaining business could provide. She loved the creativity associated with making jewelry. She was up for it. She was pumped.

The time came for her first home party. She sent out the invitations. She was required to buy all her parts, plus instruction booklets, from Luxury Jewelry, for each party-goer. They sent her “parts,” but they were not the same parts as illustrated in the pictures in the booklet. In fact, for some pieces, there weren’t enough parts to make the whole thing. Many parts were similar but clearly of an inferior quality (such as Indian glass instead of Czech glass; glass instead of crystal; and the like). In one popular necklace style, the center pieces was a diamond frame within which you strung a bead. The frame that came was a different size than pictured, and the bead that was supposed to go within it did not fit.

Amanda was very disappointed. She lost $2,000. She felt taken by the company. She also thought that the company’s training should also have focused on How To Market Your Home Show. Amanda felt she had done a bad job marketing. She didn’t get the attendance she had hoped for.



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