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Beading Blog - thebroadroom.net: 2006, the year in beading




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2006, the year in beading
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 1, 2007 at 3:41 PM (Pacific)

Technically I suppose my "year" should begin in September of 2005. That is when I began blogging about my beading exploits. But, it's easier to mark the beginning of a year now, so let's do that.

A lot happened in 2006. I went back...here is a sample of what I was doing one year ago:



I'm not doing anything remotely like that now. For one thing, I don't use premade earring forms. I'm not dissing it...there are some really good ones on the market, such as Balinese and Turkish filigree forms...it's just that I'm not interested in using them right now. Right now, I'd rather make my own forms.

Secondly, I seldom use readymade headpins anymore. I will use them as necessary (I had a design recently where the handmade ones didn't work, they kept sticking to my sweater, so I switched them out).

Thirdly, I don't use base metal wire. The best thing I ever bought was bulk jewelry wire online (good prices at Artbeads.com, Rings 'n' Things, Firemountaingems, etc.).

Fourthly, I don't often use glass. I still use some here and there but it's no longer a staple. I do use crystal.

Fifthly, I use niobium earring wires. I tossed the surgical stainless steel ones I had before; the niobium ones work better.

Other changes...usually, it takes me several days now, to come up with a single design. What I end up with, can be very different from what I started out with, or from what I thought the design would be.

I'm still "practicing" wrapping. Last night I was surfing the Net and discovered this: The Fixtures

There was a jewelrymaking.about.com article about these devices, but I can't seem to find it now. Anyhow it did cross my mind to buy one (the cheaper one obviously), but then--as beaders must--I had to pause and consider whether or not such a thing would be necessary. There are tons of tools available for beaders, and many of them are expensive. You have to consciously decide what you need and what you don't.

I decided against it and realized part of the problem I'd been having recently is that I need to replace my contact lenses. The toric one has become loose, so that eye loses its focus whenever the lens slides, which tends to be whenever I need to examine something up close. Really annoying but I need to replace it anyway.

And anyhow, I've come to change my philosophy about wrapping. Rather than seeing it as a chore, I see it as an opportunity to practice. I did that today and decided that even if I had to do the same wrap 100 times, I would just do it 100 times. Who cares? You're reusing the same beads over and over again; your sole loss is the wire itself, but I figured it's one of those things. Once you've done it often enough, it becomes a matter of all those many, tiny little things you do that make it easy.

I discovered I'd been tapping the wire tail down too hard. It's not necessary, in fact pressing the wire too hard only weakens it. Press it too hard and the entire wrap snaps off if you bend it slightly. So, what you want to do is gently, gently press it down, turning the link as you go. Just softly tap it down so the tail lies flat against the wire.

I also try to trim the tail as short as I can, before tucking it. Less tail to tuck, means less chance of error.

It's crossed my mind that dead soft wire might be better for this. I've gotten used to half hard so I'm not likely to switch, but it might be worth a try.

I also try to figure when to cut the tail...with my recent eye problem, I was cutting it too late, not leaving enough room to tuck it properly. Cut sooner.

I try to engineer all of my designs so that a wrapped loop is not connected to another wrapped loop. I mean you can connect two wrapped loops, but I've found that most designs work without ever having to do that. I go over the finished piece and examine each wrap and if I'm not happy with any one of them, I'll go ahead and redo it.

So far, so good. Out of all of these tips, I think the most important one is to be willing to do the same wrap 100 times. lol Once you relax, it's much easier to do the work.

I'll have some pics soon of what I've been doing recently.

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