Friday, March 23, 2007

Dear Ms. Bead-It-All

Dear Ms. Bead-It-All,

Help! I have fallen in love with some beautiful art beads, but the hole is going the wrong way! The beads have cute little faces, but the holes go up and's all wrong! How can I string them on a necklace so they are in the center and facing upright?

signed, Lost my Direction

Dear Lost,

Firstly, let me point out that it is impolite to judge a bead based on your personal perception of where a hole should be. Please, think about the bead's feelings! Those poor beads didn't choose to be challenged with the burden of its confusing misdirectional piercing.

Seriously, there are many ways to work with a bead with a directional design whose holes are vertical that will make it the center of a necklace and still be facing the right way. I will show some examples using face beads from Earthenwood Studio

#1 (above) Use headpins to make vertically drilled beads into charms.

This is probably the most simple solution to the hole problem. A headpin with a wire wrapped loop attached to a jump ring or bail instantly turns your bead into a charm or pendant. You can use a single one as the focus of a necklace, or you can use several as charms on a bracelet or necklace like the example shown. This necklace detail uses moon and pixie face beads in porcelain with silk cord woven through copper chain, and a beautiful PMC and resin pendant by Zoa Art.

#2 (above) Use an eyepin to make a vertically drilled beads into a pendant with a dangle

A variation on the headpin charms theme is using an eyepin to make an elongated pendant. With an eyepin, you have the added bonus of linking another charm or bead as a dangle. You can use any sort of charm with a loop, such as a pewter or silver charm, or you can use another art bead/charm. Shown here is a porcelain fairy bead with a coordinating purple leaf charm, dangling from a 3-1 split pewter component. The pewter components used here can be found at Fusion Beads.

#3 (above) Use cording to to make a vertically drilled bead into a pendant with a dangle

You can also use thin cord as a base to create a pendant with a vertically drilled bead. this example uses thin, strong twisted waxed cotton cord to join the stained glass picture pendant by Vintage Faerie to the necklace, working its way through a kitty face bead along the way. The thin cord fits through the small holed kitty bead perfectly, and then above the bead, it is tied with heavier silk cord and ribbon to create a fuller and more textural look. Mixing the thin and thick cord works well, because you can use the thick cords for texture and use the thin cord for finer beads and details.

#4 (above) Use cord to to make a vertically drilled bead into a pendant with many dangles/fringe

Another variation of the thin cord dangle method of using vertically drilled beads uses a thin cord as the length of the necklace, knotted intermittently with small accent beads. For this necklace, all the excitement happens below the large fairy face art bead. It looks complex, but the fringe is just two lengths of the same cord used in the necklace, filled with beads, knotted on each end, and doubled over in the center to create the fringe. This is also a great way to use up the small piles of singular beads left over from other projects that every beader seems to have lying around.

I hope this has given you a few ideas about how to use those tricky "wrongly" drilled beads. One more suggestion...if you meet the artist of the beads at a show or online, ask them for ideas about how they envision a bead that you are having a hard time visualizing in a design. It is a great way to open up a conversation about design, and the bead maker would probably also like to hear your thoughts about how you are thinking about using their beads.

happy beading, everyone!...*Ms. Bead-It-All*

p.s. Ms Bead-It-All reluctantly admits to not knowing *every* solution to *every* beading problem...

If you can think of another solution to the question at hand, please share with us and your fellow beaders! We invite you to leave a comment here. Or write about it in your own blog...let us know about your post and we will link to it!


Andi said...

Great article. I look forward to the next installment. In the interim, I posted a [a href=""]solution of my own[/url] on my blog if you'd like to take a look.

Andrew Thornton said...

Uhmmm... you also don't have to have the head/face bead smack in the center of your necklace, which if weighted properly could still be oriented properly as well as provide an interesting solution.

Or depending on the size of the bead, you could use a bead holder. My family at Green Girl Studios has two varieties, one smooth and one bumpy. Perfect for re-directing the orientation of your bead and providing a nice visual frame to it. And if strung properly, you can change them out.

Rebecca said...

THanks for directing us back here Melanie! An interesting question. I am intrigued by Andrew Thornton's mention of a bead holder...What is such a thing?? My idea (if anyone else is reading these comments all these years later :-)) is that using wire, you could make a bail on either side and thus continue on the necklace from the two sides of the bead, if you didn't want to turn the bead into a pendant. I'm sure Lost has probably moved on by now, but just in case....;-)