Okay. I admit it. I am procrastinating. I’m supposed to be cleaning up a scanned manuscript that I ran through OCR conversion. Not a fun job, and given that it’s for my own book, not an especially urgent job either. Buckle down and work, I order myself, but then…
My sister went to an auction and purchased a vintage cigar box filled with beads. She sent the box to me. Some beads were in bags, but most of those bags were so degraded they’d split apart. So most of the beads were loose in the box.
To some that might be awful. It is heaven to me. I love sorting beads and discovering treasures.
This is nothing new. I’ve been a bead artist, jewelry maker and hoarder for a long, long time. I have a huge stash. Not just of beads either. I also collect findings, buttons, cabochons, and vintage jewelry–much of it broken. I have drawers full of components. Shiny bits to use…someday.
Along with the old components, I have my regular bead stash: seed beads, Delicas, bugles, cubes, pillows, pressed glass, lampwork, stone, wood, vintage Lucite, Czech, Japanese, German, crystals, pearls, sequins, and more in almost every color you can think of and a vast array of shapes.
For those of the beady persuasion, you know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? It’s shiny, it sparkles, it’s pretty, it’s odd–it might be fixable, usable, repurposed into something gloriously new. Beads and bead hoards are all about potential. They are the stuff from which dreams are made.
Beading is a good hobby for a writer. My preferred beading techniques are peyote and brick stitch using Delicas or 15/0 seed beads. (off-loom weaving techniques using very small beads and hair-thin needles). Beading requires patience. Things get done one bead at a time, much as books get written one word at a time. It can’t be rushed. Repetitive motions are very good for thinking. With the hands soothingly occupied (except when a needle is jammed accidentally into flesh or a sliver of Nymo works it way under my nail bed) my mind is free to wander. Some of my best story ideas come when I’m playing with beads.
They’re also a great way to procrastinate. Hey, I’m allowed. That big pile of seed beads and bugles and miniature glass pearls won’t get sorted by themselves.