Sunday, December 28, 2008

From Beading 101 to......

Making your own beads!

If that is the direction your beading life takes you, then you might want to take classes in how to do it. It requires some rather daunting equipment, none the likes that you will find at Michaels for $15. I got started in my beading career by buying a kit from Michaels that included beads, findings, tools, even a design tray all in a neat little package all for $15, actually only $9 with my 40% off coupon! But I never thought an ordinary preson could make their own beads!

While my sister and I were vacationing together in 2006, we went to Vancouver, BC. They have a lot of street artisans plying their wares on the streets of Vancouver, and we bought a few unique hand-made beads from various vendors. She made a necklace for me out of one of the beads I bought, it turned out lovely. I still never thought an ordinary person could actually make their own beads.

This fall, our Ladies Club sponsored a vendor's fair. If you are unfamiliar with these types of events, it is a chance for people with small businesses and cottage industries to display their products and sell a little to the folks who come in. It is like a craft fair, but it is not limited to crafts, because there are a variety of items for sale, Tupperware, different franchise jewelry businesses (such as Silpada Designs), cosmetics (Mary Kay) foodstuffs (Tastefully Simple), and local and regional crafters.

One crafter who brought her beautifuly made items was a lady who made her own beads. She had some beads made into beautiful items, such as bookmarks, knives for appetizers, simple necklaces, and she had a bowl full of "orhpan beads" as she called them, some matched in color, some in style, but each bead unique in its own way. I was drawn to that bowl, and found 17 @ $3 each that I had to purchase for three different sets of jewelry items. Then she turned on the blowtorch, and actually started to make beads right there at the show! That was totally fascinating to see how she took a rod of glass, melted it, shaped it, added colors, cooled it and then the finished product was there for all to see. It turned out so different than one might imagine when you saw it in the process of being formed. She was very instructive in her craft, and told me exactly what she was doing as she worked on the bead. I was totally fascinated by her products and the process she used to make them, and went back to the orphan bead bowl and bought $75 more. In case you want to check out her bead-making products, her website is
She told me she took lessons from a bead shop/workshop called Glasshopper in Creve Coeur, MO. This is the bead shop we ended up in Friday. In this glass workshop, the owner Leslie has stations for learning to making glass beads, with torches and materials all lined up in the back of the store, each station complete with fireproof walls. She holds classes in beadmaking, and that is what she was preparing for when we came to the store Friday. She gave us a very complete but short lesson in how it is done, what gases are used for the torches, and now we know enough to have our interest piqued to maybe try this part of jewelry making. Glasshopper Studio LLC has a website if you want to check it out.

Maybe a new hobby will be born from these experiences! Whew, when would I have time to do that?

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