Distracted By Shiny Things

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.


4 responses

  1. I agree. Beading and jewelry making is fun, but distracting. What I like most about it is that you end up with something decorative. But for me, my mind wanders, but not usually toward story ideas. Those come when I run, bike or walk. Still, a very soothing hobby.

  2. Pretty! I do love old beads, buttons, pins, jewelry. Who cares if you’re distracted? Everyone needs down time.

  3. Jaye, as I continue to read more of your posts and learn more about e-book production, I also stumble ibto a post like this.

    Eileen would have loved to talk with you. She was a beader, a jewelry-maker, a polymer clay artist. We had hoped, many years ago, to form “Two Heart Studios” to sell things we both made. What was my contribution? I worked with Precious Metal Clay; I even became a Certified PMC Instructor.

    Sadly, after making countless beaded earrings, bracelets, and necklaces — many of which Eileen repurposed as “Corgi Crafts” to support out rescue work — her health began to fail. And now, I have boxes and boxes and boxes of beads, supplies, tools, and completed projects, and I have no idea what to do with them.

    Reading of the joy you derived from sorting through a box of beads sounded so much like hearing Eileen “ooh”ing and “aah”ing over a bag of beads she’d acquired through Craig’s List. It brought a warm, familiar feeling to my heart that I haven’t felt in a long time.


  4. Sounds like either ebay or Craigslist is your friend, Jon. Beaders will love boxes and boxes and boxes of beads. Eileen sounds like a cool lady. We most definitely would have been friends. Bead nuts always have stuff to talk about. My favorite thing of all is to cover things with beads–mostly vessels, but I’ve done Barbie dolls and boxes and haven’t gotten around to shoes, but have seriously considered it. Heh.

    I haven’t done much with poly-clay except make messes, but it’s tons of fun to play with. I’ve never done anything with PMC. It’s on my list of cool stuff to learn how to do.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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