I have a lot of beads. I love making my own fine silver beads to combine with beads made by others. I find stringing beads quite relaxing. I never sketch my necklaces or bracelets before I make them. Instead, I take some beads that inspire me, look for color combinations I like, and string them on some wire, starting from the middle of the necklace. Sometimes I use a specific pattern and sometimes I make them asymetric. The pieces come together by trial and error. Beads on the wire – beads off the wire. Different beads on the wire – then look for other beads to use in the combination.
Here’s where my ADD tendencies run wild. As I’m looking for different beads to try on the necklace I am stringing, I see other beads I want to use in my next necklace. I am designing the next necklace in my head, making a little pile of other beads, while still trying to find the right combination for the first necklace. I repeat this process many times before the necklace is finished. After a few hours of work my bench looks like this:
I’ve learned to accept that these piles are part of my process. As messy as they look, they are my path to discovery and design with beads. (Though when I work with metal clay, the sketchbook is a big part of my process and that work area never gets to this stage of disarray.)
Inevitably, I sort all this stuff out. Either when someone is coming over to visit my studio or when I want to start a new piece with beads of a different color.
The bead bench in mid clean up:
Ready for a fresh start and a new mess: