Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Peak Into My Stash


I had a bit of an adventure this week as I accomplished a "first" for me.  I subscribe to a newsletter called Jewelry Making Journal by the fabulous Rena Klingenberg and she wrote about this Bead Drive for refugee women here in the U.S. who are beading to make a living for themselves.  There  were photos of other subscribers' donations and I was like WOW!!!  They were donating tons of supplies... and I thought "I know I have beads I don't use, don't particularly inspire me, or other supplies I have ordered in bulk that I could spare some of..." so off I went to my beads and dove right in!

So.... you could say I have a lot of beads.....
 This is a picture of my bookshelf which holds most of my beads... yes I did say most, not all!  I really like my organization system, the labels help to keep me sane, but I am a bit obsessive, and each shelf is its own section.  That's not as far as it goes though... each type of section is written in a different color of marker too.  This seems to help me separate the categories of my supplies better...someday I may post a photo of my beading table (not nearly as organized as the bookshelf)

The top one is for Freshwater Pearls, Mother of Pearl, Mussel Shell and Czech seed beads, though I have five organizers on my kitchen/beading table at the moment.  They seem to stay there mostly, I use them for my bead crochet, but as you can tell they sneak into all types of my pieces!  The next shelf is mainly my findings (jump rings, headpins, eye-pins, clasps etc) all separated by metal finishes (gold, antiqued gold, silver, antiqued silver, copper etc) and a few organizers with  Czech glass and other glass beads.  The third shelf holds my Gemstone beads, the best way I figured to be able to find everything was to alphabetize, this is a section as an example.  If there are various types of stones such as Jasper, they are alphabetized as well.
The very bottom shelf is a place for my larger organizers which hold many different things including wire, tools, leather, silk, chain, Gemstone chips, Czech Preciosa glass beads and a few other supplies.  My feathers I keep in zip-lock bags that I punched holes in and placed in large binders, arranged by color, that are in the closet simply because I ran out of room! 

So back to the Bead Drive.... I dove in and spent about 3 hours going through my stash, and I have to admit even though I was inspired to give I just could not part with my Gemstones.  Yes I have SO many of them, but I find them all so beautiful and inspiring that I could not let them go since they seem to design themselves into beautiful pieces, I know each and every one will be used to create a unique piece  in the future.

I thought the easiest process was to start from the top, I got into my Mussel Shell and Baroque style Freshwater Pearls and found some that I have had for years but never seem to be drawn to.  Also some Mother of Pearl beads that came with an AB finish that I was not fond of at all, it seemed to take away the natural beauty and I could never bring myself to use them.

Next I went to the findings & components shelf and had read that they needed all sorts of things, so I filled little bags with headpins and eye-pins that I had ordered in bulk when I started making Chandelier Earrings...I have so many I'm not sure if I will ever run out so I thought why not spare some to people who need them and could use them?  Along with some silver and gold plated slide bar clasps that I use for my Wire Knitted Pearl Cuffs, since I had so many, I thought the ladies might like them for multi-strand bracelets.

On I went to my Czech glass beads and found some I had even forgot that I had.. now that does not happen very often but these were some of the first ones I had ordered in a "mix" and some of them were just huge and I didn't like the heaviness of them, so I put all of them into bags as well as some colors of smaller Fire-Polished rounds that I had ordered in bulk to make rosaries for my family and were left over.  A few strands of glass beads I had bought at Micheal's years ago that were still on the fishing line they were packaged on seemed to me just belonged in the pile too.

Then I was onto the wire, there are different types of wire, bead "stringing" wire that is made up of numerous strands of very fine stainless steel wire finished with a clear nylon coating, and wire for wire wrapping are the two types that I have.  I had ordered a few extra of specific strengths for specific pieces I make (long continuous Gemstone chip necklaces) and thought I could send some along since I did not remember seeing a lot in the other donation photos.  I also added some aluminum wire that I bought at Hobby Lobby that I was not fond of since it was very weak in comparison to the copper core wire I liked.  When I first started ordering wire many years ago I wanted colored wire...I can't seem to remember why... but I find it difficult to pair with my Gemstones and beads to achieve a "classy" look you could say, so I put those in the pile as well.  I didn't include my red and black wire, since they are my favorite colors I still have some hope for them!  I found some elastic cord that I bought a few years ago as well that was just too flimsy to hold my Gemstone beads for stretch bracelets, into the pile they went!

I also came across these silver-plated curved tube beads I bought many years option was a package of 10 or 100....I'm sure you can guess which I I could definitely spare some of those!  And then I looked in my "hoops" organizer and saw that I still had a lot of beading frames in many different shapes.  I originally bought these for earrings (the smaller ones) not realizing they were stainless steel and too heavy, but did make a few wire wrapped pendants out of them and really liked the result...more of those to come in the future... but I thought maybe the ladies would enjoy all the possibilities these could bring used with all of those other wonderful bead donations.

Lastly since I had donated some wire, I thought why not add in some of these Gemstones undrilled nuggets that I had for years but never used?  I left a few for myself in case I would ever be inclined to wrap them as pendants but donated most of them.   Also I had a spool of almost untouched Pearl Cotton crochet thread that came with my "Learn Bead Crochet From Scratch" kit from the wonderful Lydia (aka the Beadwrangler) and since I don't need it, I put it in the pile as well, another donation was all yarn and threads so I figured maybe they could use this too.

Well there it is! My little donation to the Bead Drive...
I know it doesn't seem like much compared to the photos of my stash, but trust me that box was full and heavy!  I thought it was a good start for my first bead donation.  It felt really great knowing that I was helping in a way that these ladies would be able to benefit from, appreciate and allow their creativity to come forward!  Even though some of these beads and supplies were not inspiring to me, I thought they might be to someone else.  We each see beauty differently and I know whatever they create from my and all the other donations will be beautiful.  I look forward to the next Bead Drive and being able to help some fellow artists provide for themselves while bringing their creative visions into reality.

Is there a cause you donate to? I would love to hear about it!

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