We had a woman in the store this week who said she was “just getting started in this beading stuff” and wanted help picking out some beads to go with some she already had. She pulled out a ziplock bag with 8 or 10 large glass beads, that had three colors on each.
I go through the “what kind of beads” litany. Do you want to emphasize any of the colors in particular? No… Do you want to add some sparkle or tone it down? I don’t know… Is there a particular outfit you plan to wear it with?
And then she drops the bomb: “I don’t really like them, they’re from a broken necklace I bought for a quarter at a garage sale. I don’t know what I”m doing, so it makes no sense to spend any money on it.”
Wait just a minute!!! Let’s think this through carefully. If you don’t like the main components, you aren’t going to like or enjoy the finished piece, are you? If you ever do wear it, and somebody notices it, you’re likely to say “I made it, but it’s not any good.” And you decide that you can’t make jewelry, because the first thing you made wasn’t anything you could be proud of.
WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!
Everybody’s heard the computer adage “Garbage in, garbage out” right? And you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as Granny used to say. These are cliches because they’re nearly always true. The final product is still what the ingredients were.
So what if you’re just learning? If you want to make something you’ll be proud of and want to wear, do it with materials that you like! You don’t have to spend $300 on sapphires to make something beautiful, we have plenty of beads that are absolutely wonderful for any budget. Yes, ANY budget!
How about a $20 necklace? Or $5 earrings? You’d pay that much in any store, or even more. And for that much, you can pick out beads that you like, spacers and accents to make it pop, and all the rest. And then when somebody compliments it, you can say “Thanks! I made it!” with pride!
So what if the finishing isn’t quite perfect? Nobody but you will ever notice that the crimping isn’t exactly straight. Nobody will care that the clasp is a bit boring. Have you looked at store-bought jewelry? Those crimps are a mess! The clasps are always the cheapest thing they could find!
And if you decide later that you made some critical mistake, or that it needs something else, cut it apart and use those beads you love all over again. Those beads can be used over and over, you know. The holes are still there!