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!
what i wouldn't give for a table like THAT! *swooon* =)
You are singing my siren song, Miss Heather! How funny that you have a picture of my Humblebeads bowl... that was a few years ago now, and it overfloweth even more! I have such a large collection that they don't even fit in my printer's cabinet (that drawer table, by the way, is dynamite and I have just the space for it right outside my studio...if I only had a few hundred dollars to spend on it!). I have not bought much of anything in the past year or two, but that doesn't mean that I have don't still have a hoard. I have started to make peace with it and believe that it needs to be let go, if for nothing more than to make room for new treasures, and to make someone happy in the world who will wear it and treasure it like I do! I find that it is a bit like those that adopt a pet, or even a child... I want to know who will be loving it and if they will see the beauty in each piece and cherish it. If only I could audition those that might wear them! Thank you for the thoughtful meanderings today. Something to think about indeed. Enjoy the day! Erin
I so relate to this article! What a lovely piece. I enjoyed it thoroughly :-)
I think I came to terms with my "collection" a long time ago... certainly much quicker than my husband has! LOL. I have embraced the idea that if I see something that I truly love and can swing the purchase price, to just do it. I don't have to know what I'm might do with it or when I might manage to work it into a creation. I know that if I love something, eventually it will speak to me and tell me what it wants to be. Until then, I open the drawers of my art bead storage and gaze fondly on my treasures! P.S. That table is totally amazing!!! I wants it!
Such a great post, Heather! I've been building my collection of lampwork focal beads over the last 15 years. They live in a magical drawer that gets opened whenever I need a little dose of happiness. Once in a while I'll bring one or two out to decorate my creative space for a while. I've never had any intention of using any of these beads, and I love it that way! My collection of other art beads is growing too. And speaking as an art bead maker.... I absolutely adore my collectors and couldn't do what I do without them! xo -- Julie
This is a great post. I do think I've made peace with my bead collection. Yes, I use some but not so many that would justify the amount I buy. However, like you said, they are providing all the beautiful services they are supposed to!
Ditto, Heather. I have a cherished collection as well.
I love that table with the glass top! That's such a great idea..a great place to keep all those little pieces of art! I would even use that table as a workplace so that I could be constantly inspired...tho it would be covered in beadworks-in-process!
What a great post! I love all the artists creations and can't part with any beads I buy, even my own! Lol!
Always plan to make a necklace, but that's just not ever going to happen unless I just string 'em and tie a knot. ;) OMG, That table would be an awesome wall display!
Loving those stick beads!!
Great post Heather!! That table is so fab. I too need a table like that!! Thanks for sharing your stash and your ideas!!
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