For those who don't know, I wandered off into another world of fabricating. I have always had a fascination with beads. Those sparkly, teensy pieces of glass originally made from sand quartz, soda ash, and limestone over 3500 years ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Many early civilizations treasure these small beauties. Remember the story of Manhattan Island being bought from the Indians for $24.00 worth of beads?
Today, most beads are made in Japan, the Czech Republic and Murano, Italy. Always choosing the most difficult path, I chose to begin teaching myself how to make earrings, necklaces, and bracelets by buying books and watching YouTube videos. (How did we ever live without YouTube how to videos!?). I followed directions and patterns created by others in the craft until I felt comfortable drifting off on my own. And I chose to use some of the smallest beads available from Japan. Known as delica beads, an 11/0 cylindrical bead is 1.6 mm x 1.5mm with a center hole of .8mm. It takes 19 of that size beads to make 1 inch. Of course, that is not the smallest bead available, so naturally I make use of the smaller sizes as well as larger sizes. Not to be too boring about bead sizes, I'll leave it at that. The beads are woven on good old microfused braided fishing line using a variety of stitches. It is a fiddly craft and takes a lot of time to complete a pair of small earrings. A necklace or bracelet can take weeks. Beaded jewelry can take some very light abuse, but should be handled with care. They need to be kept dry and stored away from constant sunlight and dust. If cared for gently they will last for centuries, just as the delicate beaded jewelry made years ago and now are considered museum worthy.
As a improvisational quilter, one day I thought why not try improvisational beading. And that was just as much fun as the improv quilting. The ideas and color combinations are endless. And, as you might guess after off and on beading for a couple of years I now have an great supply of beaded jewelry. And just like all the quilts that I have stacked up in boxes, they need to go to new homes. Here are few examples that I quickly and not too professionally photographed.