Sunday, February 19, 2017

B-Fashion Trends: How Fashion Design Helped Define my Handmade Bead Woven Earring Niche

Handmade Bead Woven Earrings with Czech Glass & Miyuki Beads

Early inspiration for my earring designs came from fashion shows, Pantone Color Trends reports, and inspired me to start B-Fashion Trends.

I'm certainly no earring designer by nature - even penned myself The Accidental Artist - selling beads and all things bead related was a more natural fit.

Anyway, there was a time, due to complications from injuries sustained in a very bad auto accident, that I thought I'd have to reconsider the bead business.The down-time in front of the computer was taking a serious toll on my bead business.

So, thought if I could use a different part of my brain while trying to figure things out it might help in the decision-making process.

The only thing I could think of was to learn to use the many beads that bead art jewelry designers were buying from me - especially, if I could figure out some of the stitches like peyote & brick- which always fascinated me but I just never had time to really figure them out;  so I started with learning all aspects of Brick Stitch.

Apparently, it was just the challenge I needed, because not only was it a terrific outlet, but it helped me learn so much more about the beads and their relationship with other beads, findings, jewelry components and bead stringing materials - I got hooked!

I totally understood how others just totally fell in love with seed beads, Delica beads, Charlotte cut beads, and bugle beads.  I started to understand how Czech glass fire polished beads, druk/pressed beads worked together with the various seed bead types I was experimenting with.

But I still was not an earring designer!

I wouldn't wear them, but when friends saw them they offered terrific feedback and made requests to purchase, but I refused,  I just didn't think they were good enough.

I always loved fashion, especially high end, even though I didn't wear I loved the craftsmanship and attention to detail, so I studied the fashion week via The New York Times fashion section paying close attention to the accessories.

Then I happened onto Pantone's bi-annual color trend report which helped me to better balance my colors (not sure if that's a fashion/jewelry term).

Seeing the long flowing gowns, sparsely accessorized - which I can understand as even on the runway you can have much of a good thing - so I started thinking of my earrings as a type of fashion design - shirt... waist/belt... skirt/dress.

And that's when I started liking my handmade earrings. even though I used the same basic stitch, the variation of beads made all the difference; which is why I like my tag-line:

... It's All About The Beads!

I made a pair for a special gala event and I immediately started getting orders!

I took them to my hair appointment and sold four pairs while waiting to get my hair done. The salon owner asked me to bring more and display them or set up a table to sell the earrings.

Most designs pictured are about four years old and I still not only get compliments but requests to purchase.

Still loving the bead business with all its challenges, but I'm so looking forward to getting back to creating new beaded earring designs!

KD_Bead The Bead Stylist

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bead Stringing Basics: Nymo Bead Thread for Bead Weaving Bead Stringing

Nymo Thread for Bead Stringing & Bead Weaving & Bead Art Jewelry
So earlier this week during a lovely phone conversation with an obviously seasoned bead artists, she mentioned that in all her years she has never used or even heard of Nymo thread for bead stringing and bead weaving.

Although her initial reason for calling was to locate an item she had purchased from me years ago, the conversation led me to kinda picking her brain about her beading preferences during her many years as a bead artist.

Both she and her sister are recently taking up bead looming, but it sounds like they specialize in wedding jewelry and sparing no expense use only Swarovski crystals and pearls and are fastidious with regard to the jewelry findings, spacer beads and bead stringing materials they use in their wedding jewelry.

The main concern they have, as most beaders do when using crystals or any sharp objects with thread, is the shredding and cutting of the thread by sharp edges on crystal beads.  Swarovski and most crystals, along with multi-pass throughs with needles when bead weaving, can cause even the toughest thread or cord to shred and even though it may not be visible it weakens the overall construction of the beaded piece thus making it come apart quite easily.

Nymo thread is not recommended for use with crystals.

But based on my customers level of experience and then commenting that she never heard of, or used Nymo thread I felt that I should pay homage to Nymo bead stringing, bead weaving thread; especially since the Nymo brand has staying power despite the advent of many other amazing bead stringing threads and cords.

So I started thinking, what could possibly be the reason why she had never heard of Nymo.  And I believe it may be tied to what bead instructions/patterns and beading instructors prefer thus passing on their preferences to the student; which understandably they do not have the exposure to the plethora of not only bead stringing materials, but beads and beading tools.

And of course, there's nothing wrong with that as kits are easier than searching for all the tools and supplies for a pattern. I personally prefer to follow a pattern with the exact supplies listed and then once I get a feel for the beading technique I will voyeur out into other options.

Too, with so many local bead stores (LBS) closing, it's getting to be quite the challenge to find someone to explain the differences and purpose for all the many offerings.

Here's some information about Nymo Thread:
  • Available in over 23 rich colors and 5 sizes - OO (thinnest), O, B, D, and F
  • The smaller bobbins offer the most variety of colors; while the larger bobbins and cones are available only in black & white - the most popular colors.
  • Know your needles (I think I'll have to do another post on that very important subject).  The needles used for threading size OO, O and maybe size B, will probably not accommodate the thickness of sizes D & F. The wrong size needle will cause your thread to shred and make it very difficult to pass-through your beaded project. 
  • TIP: When threading your needle cut your beading thread on an angle and then use a bit of beeswax or thread heaven to coat the end - just a touch you don't want to much to clog the needle hole.  And again, make sure you're using the correct needle size.
  • Stretch your Nymo before using in your project, especially if it's an item that because of use may loosen up over time.  Probably not needed so much for earrings or smaller objects,  but you'll want to stretch before using for bracelets and necklaces.
Some specifics:

Nymo Thread Slightly waxed and lightly twisted, this nylon thread is the thread of choice for bead working & bead weaving. Bobbins come in up to 5 thread sizes. Yardage varies by size:

  • Size OO = 140 Yards
  • Size O = 115 Yards
  • Size B = 72 Yards
  • Size D = 64 Yards
  • Size F = 43 Yards
Nymo Thread also available in Large Bobbins & Cones Yardage varies by size:
  • Large Bobbins available in only BLACK & WHITE; Sizes O, B & D
  • Large Bobbin Size B = 2502 Yards
  • Large Bobbin Size D = 1584 Yards
  • Large Bobbin Size O = 2894 Yards and only in WHITE
  • Large Bobbins available in only BLACK & WHITE; Sizes O, B & D
  • CONES Size OO = 4852 Yards WHITE ONLY
  • CONES Size O = 2894 Yards
  • CONES Size B = 2505 Yards
  • CONES Size D = 1584 Yards
  • CONES Size F = 1049 Yards
Well, I think that's it for now; if I think of anything else I will update the post. If you have any question feel free to contact me.

I hope you found this information useful...KD_Bead

Beads In Fashion Trends 2017: Stars

Star Beads & Pendants 2017 Fashion Trend

It's fun to see what's trending on the runway for the Seasons and watch how bead art jewelry designers are inspired to interpret into their own style. This Star trend was spotted on Pinterest Board name 2017 On Trend and is working its way onto jeans, studs in leather, and of course jewelry. The beads & pendants pictured are Swarovski crystal Star beads available size range 8mm - 12mm (#5714 & 5914 large hole, 14mm only) pendants (#6714) 20mm, 28mm & 40mm.  I don't currently carry on my website; but if your local or online bead store doesn't have what you need I'll be more than happy to order any Swarovski product for you ( minimums do apply).

Monday, February 6, 2017

Vintage Beads: How can I tell?

It may not matter to you much if just a hobbyist, but when reselling, especially filling a custom request, to include vintage beads, you might want to know what to look for.

Vintage is vintage which means an item 20 years old or older - not sure when it turns into an antique - anyway; manufacturing processes, packaging, raw materials change with time which is one of the best ways to tell time period.

Swarovski crystal is a good example. The packaging on their vintage beads tells whether or not their beads, crystals, rhinestones are vintage.

Packaging is not so much the tell for Czech glass beads, but it has more to do with color saturation and consistency in bead size.  The way Czech beads are strung also tell time period; for example some of the beads pictured are strung in a way that hasn't been practiced in decades.

Also when you have the beads in front of you you can clearly see the inconsistencies in color saturation and bead size. Some are just a tad bit bigger than the others coming from the same bead lot (production).

Many of the Czech beads were obviously made for sewing, bead embroidery and embellishing.  They have flat bottoms and dome shaped faceted tops - looks like the precursor to flat back crystals; and they're quite small too 3x2mm, 3mm some with 2 holes (not pictured, but available).

And the red and white striped ones (pictured) with a domed pebbled top must have been a nightmare to produce!

Even though it can be more challenging to authenticate a single bead or loose beads - it's easier if in original packaging, multi-strand hank or string - know that vintage beads can be authenticated in the sense that a bead seller in the know' (meaning that they will let you know if they have knowledge in this area) may be able to tell from the look and feel.

If purchasing from an estate sale or open market try to get some history about the seller or estate. Even if it's already a piece of jewelry depending on the condition you can always rework into a new piece.

Remember we're talking beads, and although vintage beads can have high resale value they're not fine, estate jewelry.

Many years ago there was a vintage only bead seller online and their website helped me identify and gain knowledge of the beads I have but the website seems to no longer be available.

I hope you find this information useful.

Oops almost forgot this important note.

Czech glass bead manufacturers have something they call Job Lots; I'm note sure why they make them but they are like one-time production bead runs and often in odd-sizes, odd-shapes and odd-types.  Because of this they can be confused for vintage beads.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Beading Basics: What I Learned From This 12 Year Old Peyote Stitch Test Strip

Why am I showing a picture of a 12 year old Peyote stitch test strip, which looks like it serves little or no purpose? 

Because there's actually quite a bit of education in this little project; especially since at the time I knew a little less that nothing about working with beads, I just sold them.

First, I wish I could remember where I saw the pattern because as basic as this looks it actually teaches quite few tips and techniques:

Peyote stitch, obviously, but also for the beginning beader, especially in bead weaving, tension is extremely important to learn which this Peyote test strip helps you get the hang of; also following a bead pattern and understanding different thread sizes and their uses ( Nymo B, D, F)

Too, it helped me understand, rather quickly, what I was doing wrong and that if you don't correct a mistake early on it will follow throughout the pattern - as you can see.

Second, there's still a learning in it for me today, especially about the importance of quality beading tools and supplies.

As mentioned, this test strip is about 12 years old, still flexible with no indication of thread rot - when you spend all that time and effort on a bead art jewelry design project that you love you want it to last forever. I used Nymo beading thread, which I also coated with beeswax per the instruction, clearly lives up to it's reputation for a quality beading supply and Nymo is still a strong seller for me today.

Miyuki 11/0 Delica seed beads were used - although I didn't sell them at the time I was receiving so many request for Miyuki seed beads and delica's, that I just picked some up to see if it was a bead brand that I should carry - again, the finish on this basic black delica bead hasn't faded one bit and still has that patent-leather shine; despite being handled after all these years.

However, please note that although the quality bead is a quality bead, finishes can vary as some are applied to the beads after-market which may not adhere to the bead the same way as being part of the production process.

Finally, it helped me understand why people loved creating with these beads as they create a smooth tile like finish and to this day I just love the feel of this little Peyote test strip; it's really kind of soothing.

The Cost of Free Shipping

The cost of free shipping isn’t a topic I would have originally thought of to write about; especially since we all pretty much realize th...