Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beading techniques

I remember making my first project. It was a wire-wrapped bracelet, and I made it in a class at a local bead store (now long since closed):

After that, I took a second class, where I made a necklace on Soft-Flex wire. I took a few more classes as well, where I learned more about wire-wrapping and stringing, but I never took a needle-and-thread class.

Eleven years later, and I still haven't figured out thread projects. Every time there's a new trend in beading, I look into it, but I often don't end up trying it. When it was all the rage to make stretch bracelets with Swarovski crystals, I bought Stretch Magic, but I never used it. When the silk string trend started, I made a few necklaces, but ultimately decided not to continue. I've seen ribbon necklaces, bracelets with fiber, everything under the sun--but I've never veered from Soft-Flex or sterling/goldfill wire.

Often I see these approaches, and I think them imaginative and interesting, but I can't bring myself to try.

When I was still in high school I spent my entire weekly allowance ($20) on a necklace at a Renaissance Festival. I put it on and absolutely adored it. I wore it for about an hour before it felt a little itchy and I adjusted the necklace with my finger--whereupon the entire necklace broke at a single point and several beads were lost.

Clearly this is a silly reason not to make something on thread, and it isn't the only reason; honestly, I just don't have the patience for threadwork. But it does pop up in my mind every so often. I would hate to have someone buy something from me, only to have it break within hours.

I really adore Soft-Flex and am working my way through my third 1000 foot spool at this point. It's a great product and I am very much impressed by how it holds up. I made one necklace eight years ago that I still wear today. It's been through a lot of wear and tear--a baby once played rather violently with it for hours--and yet it still looks great.

I also love working with sterling wire, though I rarely (if ever) use half-hard; I prefer dead soft for everything. Less wear and tear on the hands, I suppose. Also, it's easier to control. I buy a pound of dead soft 20 gauge at a time and it generally takes a year or so to go through it, especially when I'm doing a lot of shows.


Softflexgirl said...

Thank you for using our wire! :)

Sara Hardin

laurelmoon said...

Sara--I love Soft-Flex and use it all the time. ;)