Other times I'm a thoughtful curator. I go to shows or shop online for beads that make me gasp, squeal and sometimes they are little works of art that transcend me from the mundane to the sublime.
I would marvel at lampwork sets that were selling for over a $100 on Ebay auctions. Back in the day, before Etsy and Facebook, that's where you went to collect amazing art beads. Eventually I broke the invisible art bead ceiling and started investing in more precious pieces at shows like Bead & Button. I remember buying my first Anne Choi bead. I was giddy.
There are still art bead workhorses that are in my bead stash. My stash is my horde that I gleefully riffle through to create pieces that I will sell or for projects on my blog. The bead stash gets replenished frequently and I have my favorite beadmakers that I shop with at every show or seek them out online.
And then there is my bead collection. This is not a stash that I paw through carelessly. No, these are precious treasures that rarely see the light of day. Sometimes I will use one in a publication, quite a few of my favorites from my collection ended up in my first book. My collection is in a tray in my studio that I pull out every once in a while just to give them a little attention. But doesn't that seem wrong? Shouldn't a collection be on display somewhere? Like inside here:
I remember reading in one of the early issues of Bead & Button about collectors who made shadow boxes for their bead collections. That seemed crazy to me at the time, who would just collect beads and not use them? Now I know. I have a friend that had a necklace that she loved but wasn't able to wear so she framed it in a shadowbox, it's very large and quite an art piece. I know some designers have little bowls of there treasured beads in the studio out on display for inspiration.
(Erin Prais-Hintz's collection of Humblebeads she keeps on display in her studio.)
So if you have a bead collection, make peace with it. It's okay to have some amazing art beads that may never become jewelry or at least will take years to percolate until you are ready to transform them from bead to art jewelry. But let's make sure to keep those bead stashes rotating in and out and keep busy creating!