The challenge with making jewellery of beads, is that you need a lot…. Because there is always something “missing”. Too few of the same kind, for example. Not the right colours – when you just got an idea of a colour combination or a special design. The wrong size…. Not enough metal beads, often used in between other beads to create a vintage look. And so on and so on… And right from the outset, you need basic tools. String, or wire and locks.
It’s easy to make a bracelet of string. You simply thread beads to a string – about 18 centimeter – and tie a knot…. The knot must be tied in the right way though; left over right, right over left… and a little glue. I have learnt it from YouTube!
Maybe it looks more proffessional with a wire and a lock. On the other hand – I’m never able to close a bracelet on myself. I take a shower every day, after bicycling to work and I almost always wear a bracelet. So I need a collegaue to get ready…. Another thing is that a bracelet made of string is very flexible, one size fits (almost) all….
Another very easy way to make bracelets, is to use memory wire. It goes round and round…. and you can cut it as short/long as you want. You must always start by securing the end with a special technique. Securing the other end, when you finish the bracelet, takes more patience. But it’s a quick method, and a fun one as well. And it always looks very good, and moreover – one size fit all!
So far, the best bead shop I’ve been in to, I found on the famous Magazine Street in New Orleans. Simply called The Bead Shop. We took the bus, almost to the far end of the very long street, and the bead shop was an old white house with many rooms. Alladins cave…. When you suddenly find yourself in a place like that, you must go hunting for treasures….
When I visited Mumbai a year back, my friend Joan took me to a Bhuleswar market to look for beads. I had been doing research, and I was sure to find Indian glass beads exactly here…. I even had the exact street. To look for special goods in a Mumbai market is very tiresome; you have to fight the heat and the crowds every little second. Joan was sweating, and I must say, being very patient. I was hanging on, thinking that my plane went to Europe that evening, so we didn’t have all the time in the world. And it all went of in a bad way as we struggled to find a taxi driver who would take us the crazy maze of Bhuleswar….
We went from shop to shop, Joan asking for glass beads…. going here and there – but I wasn’t all to happy with what we eventually found. Indeed we found cloisonne beads, which are expensive at home, but… no. I will have another go in November. The trouble with buying beads in India, is that it is very often based on wholesale. I still have “a million” metal beads bought in Jaipur a couple of years ago, I needed – say a tenth of what I had to buy… But I paid a fraction of what I’m paying at home.
The bracelet above is partly made from beads picked up at Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year. I made it for my colleague and friend Mansi from Bombay.
Another way of buying beads is going to flea markets and buy jewellery – which I then take apart. Last summer I found a long, beautiful necklace with heavy glass beads and metal beads, and the price was give away…. A treasure, – and I have already made one bracelet out of some of the beads. Another way of getting beads, is to look for jewellery 70 percent off ordinary price in shops like Indiska. I take them apart and reuse them. It’s much cheaper than buying beads piece by piece…
When I decide to make a bracelet, I always have an idea. But very often I end up with something different. It’s the same whne I’m making cards by lettering. The ideas change under way.
In early June I will travel to Chichester south of London and learn more… with a bag full of beads!