Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Technicolor


My friend Merrilu (she of the beautiful large jar of beach glass) asked me a few weeks ago if she could come over with her stash of beads (which she recently dug out of storage and dusted off) to do a little design consultation. Now, I don't have many friends locally who are interested in beads, so I was quite interested to see her stash and spend a happy morning beading. She arrived this morning (after we'd dropped the Short Ones off at preschool) with more than ten cases of beads all of which looked more or less like the above (in various colors).

Are these not things of beauty? I can't stand how well-organized these beads are. My stash is all over my house (although not yet encroaching in teacups or hardly worn shoes, I've contemplated these spaces speculatively from time to time), and it's not unusual for me to be hunting for a particular strand for a project while mumbling to myself under my breath. Once I stopped drooling, I just found staring at these cases inspiring. Designing with the beads at my fingertips like this was incredibly easy - what a, uh, novel experience.

In the end, I decided on a water theme with a cute little fish dangle. Here's the bracelet I put together during our session, using my friend's beads (and just six seed beads from my own stash):


Cute, eh? I particularly like the oval shape of the toggle clasp here, which is quite sleek-looking. Anyway, I used freshwater pearls, faceted and unfaceted quartz, amazonite, aquamarine and, I believe, fluorite (the darker blue beads - if anyone else has other ideas as to what they could be, I'm all ears), along with small silver nugget spacers.

I often forget what a social activity beading can be, since I work almost exclusively on my projects alone and quite late at night, after the Short One has fallen asleep. So, I'm curious: how often do you get together with your friends for beading? Are you a member of a beading circle? How do you set up bead nights?

(And thanks, Merrilu - I had a lot of fun today! Let's do it again soon!)

19 comments:

Andrew Thornton said...

I need to recruit your friend to organize my studio. I got one tray done like her's. That's it. I would be worried that she might suffer a heart attack or something looking at my bead stash. You see, I have taken over the teacups and shoes and overturned lids and old boxes and cardboard tape rolls. And it's an uncontrollable beast that will sometimes explode out all over in all directions. Like right now... in front of me half the living room floor is coated thickly in projects in various states of completion.

Mel said...

I saw the picture of your friends' beads in a small size and thought it was a quilt! The colors are beautiful.

Love that bracelet, too.

Christina J. said...

I wish I had more friends who bead. Some women in my family bead and we get together every once in a while, maybe twice a year. My mom and I just got together to do a different craft, which was fun. A beading circle would be fun. Maybe I need to find some new friends and conver them. :)

Melissa J. Lee said...

I'm with you, Andrew. I used to have my projects spread out over the fireplace mantel (that being the one place the SO could reach). He's started moving one of the upholstered chairs to get up there, so I had to move them to a more discreet location.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks, Mel!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Christina! I was thinking about how popular knitting circles are. It's a good idea, right? As for converts go, Merrilu thinks she isn't very good at designing jewelry (which is totally untrue), so I'm working on her...

Leslie D. Moore said...

So, what kind of containers did she use? It's an awesome way to arrange beads. Thanks for sharing!
Leslie

lyounk09 said...

Oh how I wish I had a group of beading friends that got together on a regular basis. I have several beading friends but we do not get together on a regular basis and I find that my lack of organization with my stash has limited my ability to create. I spend more time trying to find something than actually working on a project and right now Im in a slump. Thanks for the picture which has inspired me to rework my many containers of beads. I have been searching for the right approach to organization and plastic bags aren't getting it.

sandi m said...

I have to admit that my beads are pretty organized - that is until they reach the bead board! I use those boxes for findings (Michaels has them cheap); my beads are in bags sorted by type - pearls, lampwork, czech, stones, african - stored in container store shoe sized containers. PMC stuff and fine silver stuff is separate in their own containers. My problem is not having a dedicated work room for all the containers.

It would be nice to form a group to meet on a regular basis to create. I've been meeting with some ladies recently whom I met through the NW Bead group. We share info, discuss work techniques, bounce ideas, etc. It's nice because we each have our 'niches' and are not beginners.

The bracelet turned our really nice. Hope this has inspired your friend.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Leslie, They are Store-It Organizers by Nicole Quality Value (I know this because she had a new one she gave to me - thanks, Merrilu!) Sandi, in the comment below yours says you can find them at Michaels.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi lyounk09, I completely understand. Hang in there! I'm sure you will work through your slump. We've all been there. I think it's a great idea to spend the time re-organizing now - I need to do that, too. Working with my friend's stash was so much easier than working with mine, because it was well-organized - it was eye-opening!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Sandi, I like your organization system. I start organized at the beginning of the year, but I'm not good about filing my new acquisitions, and I always end up with a mess, unfortunately...

amy said...

I have a bead buddy, and we meet every few months at each others' houses to bead, gossip & have lunch. We also trade beads then too, so it is a bead extravaganza!
Those bead boxes are gorgeous! I have mine in divided boxes like that, but the beads are in baggies because (a) you can fit LOTS more in the box and (b) spilling a box or two of beads onto the floor is no fun.

Jenny J-V said...

One of the most fun nights I've ever had was about two years ago when one of my bead buds came over, we opened a bottle (or two) of wine and beaded and gabbed all night! And then, after a short nap break, we kept on the next morning. It was soooo fun! Felt like a seventh grade slumber party with way cooler projects. :) I'm ready to move back to Virginia so we can do it again! Thanks for bringing that great memory back for me! Jen

Lorelei said...

I am still drooling over those boxes of beads! I love to see that color organization. I try to do that in my own studio but then as beads run out I just fill the empty spots with who knows what and it ends up being a big ol' fat mish mash of un-organization!
Thanks for sharing!

Jeannie said...

My beads are organized, but my art work is not. There is too much and no room for it. I paint large collage on canvas. I did the current painting on my website.
I have no bead friends or circles. My friends leave it all to me. I can't even get my daughter interested in beading. BOO HOO!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Oooh, great stories - thanks for sharing them!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Lorelei, I know exactly what you mean. Still, judging by the photos on your blog, your stash is still much more organized than mine - love those printers drawers you use!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Jeannie, We all have war stories about trying to get our relatives involved in beading! My son shows some interest in it at the moment (got to improve those fine motor skills at his age) - I hope it continues for at least a few years, if not longer.