Learn To Bead

At Land of Odds / Be Dazzled Beads – Beads, Jewelry Findings, and More

Archive for October, 2013


Posted by learntobead on October 27, 2013


How do you handle the challenges of doing custom work?
What lessons have you learned, that you might share with others?


When I began my jewelry making career, one of the smartest things I did was take on repairs.    I learned so much.   With each repair, I was able to re-construct in my mind the steps the jewelry designer made when creating this piece of jewelry – choices about stringing materials, clasps, beads, and how to connect everything up.    And at the same time, I could see where these choices were inadequate.   I could see where the piece broke or wore down.   I could question the customer about how the piece was worn, and what happened when it broke.

And with each repair, I gained more knowledge from yet another jewelry designer’s attempt to fashion a piece of jewelry.

All these repairs resulted in more self-confidence about designing jewelry and designing jewelry for others.   And it led to more custom work.

When you do custom work, I think you need an especially steeled personality to deal with everything that can go awry.

First comes the fitting.   You take some initial measurements, but after the piece is made, the perspective changes, and so do the desired measurements.

Then comes a lot of customer indecision – colors, lengths, beads, silhouettes, overall design.

Or they want to use several gemstones, but want them all to have the exact same markings and coloration.

Not to mention the sometimes questionable taste.

Or the possibilities of infringement of other jeweler’s designs, when the customer wants you to re-produce something they saw in a magazine or on-line.     Identically.

And then time-frame.   Can I finish the piece by the time the customer wants it done?

We discuss pricing, where many customers seem resistant to paying anything for my time.

And last, payment.     It’s not so easy to get some people to pay.


I still do a lot of custom work.    But I delay a bit, sitting down and actually constructing the piece.    I have a lot of discussions with the client.   If there are color or materials questions, I usually present the client for 3 colors or materials at a time, and ask them to choose which they prefer.   Then another 3-at-a-time forced-choice exercise, until things get narrowed down.

I photo-shop a lot of images – different colors, designs, beads – with the client, and get a lot of feedback.     As I assemble all the information, I sketch/photo-shop what a final piece might look like.   I superimpose this image on a mannequin to show the customer what it might look like.     I have the customer formally sign-off on a final design.    And only then, do I begin to construct the piece.

I require a 50% deposit up front.

I agree to make some adjustments for 6 months after the customer has the piece in hand.




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Fri, Oct 18th is Flat Cathy Day – Win A Prize!

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2013



Friday, October 18, 2013 is Flat Cathy Day! 
Sponsored by Bead & Button and Kalmbach Press
Come Visit Be Dazzled Beads to take your pictures!

It’s your opportunity to share Flat Cathy’s adventures at your favorite bead shop, and reveal exciting tips you’ve learned with the beading community. Plus, you’ll have a
chance to win prizes!

Cathy Jakicic is the author of the new book Jewelry Projects from a Beading Insider. Cathy knows firsthand what stumps beaders, what they’re curious about, and what excites them. She generously shares 200+ tips, tricks, and secrets to creating fun and wearable jewelry in this all-new collection of 30 original designs. She offers beaders lots of options with project alternatives, matching accessories, and budget-friendly choices.

Print out a copy of Flat Cathy (there are 2 versions) and take her to your favorite bead shop on October 18th to help celebrate Visit Your Local Bead Shop Month.
GO HERE: http://links.mkt746.com/servlet/MailView?ms=MTc5NjE4MjkS1&r=NjY2MDQ5NjkzNDcS1&j=MjMzNjE1MjU1S0&mt=1&rt=0


Snap a photo of Flat Cathy with your favorite bead shop employee, your favorite section of beads, attending a class, or just enjoying the store, and we will post it on our Facebook page and our Pinterest page!

We would like to post images of Flat Cathy’s fun travels to bead shops across the U.S., so make sure that your favorite bead shop is represented! Flat Cathy is also a fun way to share fun tips from the “Beading Insider.”

Creative photos along with a fun tip and the bead shop name should be emailed to
jzimdars@kalmbach.com .

Along with submitting your pictures comes a drawing for a chance to win prizes!


Deadline: 11/1/13

in Nashville, TN
to take your pictures
for this contest!

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Posted by learntobead on October 13, 2013



I recently read an article about Paul Klee, a prominent modern artist in the early 1900’s.     In 1914, in an interview, Klee noted that as the world became a scarier, less organized place, art became more and more abstract.

That got me thinking.   To what extent does the outside world affect my jewelry design decisions?    Has it changed my choice of materials?  Colors?  Patterns?  Silhouettes?

My initial thought, frankly, was not that much.

Except that I began to think of the image I had of the “woman” wearing my jewelry and I definitely have a very feminist view of that “woman”.   She’s empowered and self-assured.   She plays both gender-specific as well as gender-neutral roles.

And when I picture the contexts in which this “woman” will be wearing my piece, I picture the kinds of places an assured business woman would be, and how that woman would present herself.

I also want most of my pieces to transition well between formal and informal settings, and with the woman wearing informal and more formal attire.

I have difficulty designing for the traditional Southern woman.   Or the woman who only wants something blue for a blue dress.   Or the woman for whom jewelry plays a supplemental function, rather than a supporting role.

My jewelry tends to be very architectural, yet my color palette and its application is very impressionistic.     An urban vs. rural Or modern vs. vintage tension always resonant in my pieces.   I feel this thrust towards modernity that needs to be tempered by some kind of emotion, the roots of which I often find in vintage and ancient designs.

So, there might be some of this outside world influence seeping into my design process.    But I think for me, this jewelry design process is more often an escape from the realities of our world today.   My pieces need to be powerful enough to allow my “woman” to escape these realities, as well.


How about you?   Does today’s world affect your designs in any way?


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