Do you dream in color?
Do you dream of beads in all their magnificent glory?
(Beads by Clayfulmingles)
Well then. Do you ever get stuck for an idea, even though you're surrounded by colorful beads? It's like the saying, "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink."
Sometimes I get tired of looking through my color inspiration books, full of photos of flowers and fabric patterns and the like. Sometimes I really do just want to be surrounded by colorful beads, even though it's the beads that are eluding my creativity. This is when I take a random trip through Etsy.
My favorite trick is to type in a search term (being careful to also type in "NOT jewelry" so I only get beads) and then randomly choose a page. Sometimes I'll start on page 50. Sometimes I'll sort prices high to low. You never know what you'll find that will cause that spark of creativity to turn into a blazing inferno of beading frenzy.
For instance, check out this ultra-cute peace bead by Cocobeads:
It makes me want to pull out a bunch of colorful seed beads -- or maybe some tiny pink, blue, and orange lampwork spacers? Maybe even find some more flower beads to add as an asymmetric accent along one side of a necklace?
How about Earthenwood Studio's lovely toggles? I always say the clasp of a piece of jewelry should be as beautiful as the rest of it. How can you go wrong with this? The bracelet can be made with a simple strand of beads, allowing this toggle to shine all on its own.
Or how about these gorgeous polymer clay beads by Stories They Tell? I imagine pulling out fiber and making something wildly three-dimensional with beads as exotic as these. Strips of kimono fabric, sari cloth, silk ribbon -- the possibilities are endless.
So what do you think? If a bead show doesn't happen to be in town the day your creativity plays hooky, take a visit to my personal favorite online store for handmade art beads -- Etsy.com. I guarantee you'll get lost in all the colors and designs and possibilities. And your creativity just might not be able to resist coming back to play.
Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and writes the blogs Pretty ThingsAn Artist's Year Off. She lives in Maryland.