Beaded craft can be easy, fun and practical
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Editor’s note: The News-Herald continues its new regular feature, &uot;How to…,&uot; in which staff writers provide you with information on a wide variety of topics. Today, Allison T. Williams shows how easy and fun it can be to make beaded jewelry. If you have an idea for a feature, please contact Stephen H. Cowles, managing editor, at 934-9613 or via e-mail: email@example.com.
By Allison T. Williams
Email newsletter signup
It can be bright, chunky and funky.
Or it can be demure, delicate and elegant.
Whatever your preference, it’s amazingly easy to design and create a piece of beaded jewelry that reflects your style and taste.
&uot;Beading is hot these days,&uot; said Sandy Hubbard, manager of The Bead Store in Newport News’ Hilton Village.
A specific how-to article is hard because of the endless variety of beads available – stone, metal, glass, wood, ceramic, semi-precious – and styles that are as individual as the people who craft the jewelry.
Learning from a friend or taking a class from one of the handful of bead shops in Hampton Roads is the easiest way – and least costly – for newcomers to explore the art, Hubbard said.
Most bead shops, including The Bead Store and the newly opened Beadworkz, off Harbourview Boulevard, offer a plethora of beading classes.
Far and away, the gold bangle class offered several times monthly is The Bead Store’s most popular, said Hubbard.
Teens are attracted to hemp-and-bead bracelet classes.
Mothers and daughters come together, maybe to buy beads or Austrian crystals to make a necklace to go with that hard-to-match dress.
Others come to take classes in wire-wrap jewelry, making beaded rosaries or beaded necklaces and earring sets, Hubbard said.
&uot;We have something for everyone,&uot; she said, adding the store has about 15 types of classes being offered several times a month.
Another benefit of taking classes is that people don’t have to worry about buying tools, she said.
&uot;Getting all the tools needed to make jewelry can cost between $100 and $200,&uot; Hubbard said. &uot;After taking a class, people can decide whether they like it enough to make that investment.&uot;
People bead for a variety of reasons – to make money, to save money by making their own items or as for a creative outlet.
&uot;I find it meditative,&uot; said Hubbard. &uot;Beading is calming to me.&uot;
Wendy Spain, a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy teacher who sells her beaded creations at Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy, agrees.
&uot;This is relaxing. It’s a stress-reliever for me,&uot; she said. &uot;I love it! It’s fun and I love seeing the finished product.&uot;
Because she makes a large volume of jewelry, Spain orders her beads and supplies off the Internet.
Although she recommends that first-timers go to bead shops, she suggested that people go in knowing basically what they want to buy.
&uot;It’s easy to spend a lot of money in bead stores without even realizing it,&uot; she said. &uot;It adds up fast.&uot;
Hubbard and Spain offered up these beading tips:
&uot;Stick with single-strand bracelets and necklaces until you get the hang of it,&uot; Spain said. &uot;You’ve got to learn how to put the beads together. A lot of times, if you have practiced with the single strands, it’s hard to go on to more challenging projects.&uot;
nSteal ideas from other people!
&uot;I look at magazines and television shows and try to copy what I see people wearing,&uot; Spain said. &uot;I’ve made several pieces with pottery pendants similar to one I’ve seen Jennifer Anniston and Katie Couric wear.&uot;
Hubbard agreed, saying her customers often come in with pictures of jewelry they had seen in catalogs.
&uot;You can make jewelry for about 1/3 of the price it sells for in a catalog,&uot; she added.
nGive your jewelry a focal point. In other words, build the necklace around a large centerpiece, such as a pendant, Hubbard said.
nDon’t be afraid to experiment with texture, size, color and composition of beads, she said.