Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bead Storage and Organization, Workspace And WIP

I got comments from Aleta on how I had a lot of beads stored in a relatively small space. 

This is true. What I like about the storage system I settled on is that it's amenable to expansion as needed, without major investment. It also keeps the maximum number of beads visible at once. This is what I see when I open a couple of drawers in the rolling units.  I try to keep the smaller plastic boxes 1 or 2 deep as much as I can. If too much of the drawer gets 3 deep, things start getting forgotten and ignored.

But yes, there are a lot of beads in there. Some drawers are much more full. Many are sparse, like the drawers with clear beads, and the one with white beads. I may have less than a dozen selections in each of those color drawers.

You can see the numbers on the boxes. Those are the inventory numbers that tell me in the software what size, shape and color the beads are, as well as material and cost (and when and where purchased). So when I use twelve of #102 in a work, I know how much each bead cost me. 

I've been investing heavily this year. Perhaps it's just the first flush of beading fever. Now I try to buy staples, like carnelian rounds, or unique items, like focals, cabochons, or materials I haven't seen before. Other than that, and seed beads, stringing materials and findings, I'm trying to limit my purchases. Use what I have.

Often the limitations imposed by budget, availability or time lead to the most creative work. Total freedom often leads to lack of focus. Today I went to two stores, mostly to look for amber-hued seed beads. 

One was JJ Bead, on Edinger in Huntington Beach.  It's a small storefront in a strip mall. They are awash in Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls. They have a large selection of each, and a fair number of seed beads and findings. They are friendly and helpful and the store has been rearranged since my last visit to provide wider aisles for those in chairs. Very roomy now.  They have a lot of Miyuki seed beads, and a fair selection of kumihimo supplies. Near the back of the retail floor is a medium sized work-table for beaders to come and work at. 

Right across Goldenwest, the cross street with Edinger, is Beadology. The focus of their store is glass beads, one whole wall worth. They have vintage glass in small tray containers, and a small selection of stone beads & semi-precious. The floor space is generous here, surrounding a large work table in the center, once again open for beaders when classes aren't being held there. They also have a reasonable selection of Toho seed beads, most widely in 11/0 size. These people are also kind and friendly, and give out purchase cards so that after you buy a certain amount, you get $25 off your next purchase. I like those kinds of encouragement, don't you?

I found a reasonable selection, mostly at Beadology, of the colors of seed beads I wanted.  I'll get all my purchases entered into my inventory software tomorrow, so I can start using them. I want to do a companion piece to my amber and carnelian neckace. Not a duplicate, but a logical development from that starting point. 

I also took another picture of my workspace. You can see a bit more of the actual space here. Everything is handy, nothing is too far away, and I have room to the side to set things that are being glued or in a waiting stage. You can see the pile of project boxes at the right rear there. 

And this is the current project I've picked up. A medallion to go with a kumihimo braid, and lots of fringe with glass fruit beads. Very fun. The purple border is the base ultrasuede, and will disappear after I've trimmed it off and sewed a beaded edge around the border. The cabochon is actually a dichroic bead. It's got a pin back glued on now, to help control the necklace, as it's meant to hang off-center, and that never works without some securing, as the weight isn't distributed evenly. I'm going to try to get the border started tonight. After I post this.

Keep those comments coming! I love them. 

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