I haven’t been painting this week, in spite of intending to paint or at least draw thumbnails for some new pieces.  I’ve been buzzing around getting wedding stuff ready (oh yeah, in case I hadn’t mentioned on here: I’m getting married in two weeks.  Now you know!).  But at work I’ve been working on another art form, one that I’ve just recently gotten back into: jewelry making.

Made today…this one is not for work, this is for me.  I love the colors of these beads.

I’ve experimented with beads for as long as I can remember.  Now I work at a jewelry design studio, but I usually just do the administrative work (marketing, webmastering, booking arts festivals, inventory), and occasionally help with design decisions when asked.  But this week I started getting a lot more into the design side of things, and my boss even booked us both a beading class today, so that we could learn how to finish necklaces better.

And in class I made this!

I didn’t pick these colors, it’s just what they had on hand – but I think it looks pretty nice!

It’s not that I didn’t know how to bead – beading is pretty easy – it’s stuff like putting crimp beads on to seal up the ends, putting crimp covers on neatly, using wire guards so your wire doesn’t fray, the little details of beading, which I knew nothing about.  And now I do!  Next I’m going to learn how to wrap wire and make pendants – a thing I also vaguely know how to do, but I don’t know how to do it and make it look pretty.  And with jewelry, well, it’s important that it be pretty. šŸ˜‰

It really turned out to be just a matter of having the right tools and materials – it’s not hard to make wire loops or crimp covers, you just have to have the right bits and pieces to do it with.  I had a similar revelation during art school – when I started sophomore year I had the same crappy set of brushes I’d used for four years, and they had gotten really frayed and gnarly…plus they were all a size 8 or bigger.  Not really good for painting.  The frayed ends on the brush were making all my edges come out blurry, and the paintings were…uh, not that good.  But after I bought new brushes, including sable brushes and, most importantly, small brushes for detail work, my paintings improved immensely!  So I wasn’t bad at painting, I was just using the wrong tools.

I think I’ll keep beading whenever I get a chance to – if nothing else, because I have a stockpile of beads I’ve been amassing since I was probably 13, and I need to keep using them!  Of course, you know how it’ll go…after I start designing a piece I think, “hmm, blue goldstone would go really well with this, and I don’t have any…I should get some!”  And then I go to the bead store to get blue goldstone, and while I’m in there I get ideas for ten other necklaces, and so I buy about three dozen more types of beads, and then I have another drawer full of beads in my studio and I’m like, “well, how the hell did that happen?”  This is the beader’s curse.