Saturday, August 7, 2010

Scrounging for Findings, More Bead Stores

Why does it always seem that just as I finish the construction of a piece, I bang my nose on the need for findings? I don't mean the clasp...I generally know which one I want to use when I begin. I mean the bits and bobs you need to attach the whole shebang together. The crimp beads, the crimp covers, cones, or what have you that mostly live behind the neck, and so must be sturdy, comfortable to wear, easy to manipulate, and above all, match the piece and/or the clasp.

I'm always either out of or low on those items. I finished my second amber necklace, and wanted to use the wonderful bronze clasp I'd acquired in Pasadena. Are there bronze findings? No. The best I could do in visiting 2 bead stores and calling another, is antique brass. And for some reason, when you choose that finish, the designers seem to think you want ornate and decorated items. 

I ended up getting a substitute clasp that will accommodate the triple strands of the new amber piece. I will not be using the intended puzzle clasp and will save it for something else. 

Aside from special clasps, though, I wonder how other people go about having enough of what they need on hand as they need it. There are so many types of "finishing bits" that can be used. Do you all just shop as needed for each piece? 

This is really dangerous - to the budget. I spent some time at Pudgy Beads, and got some things I needed. Today I visited Beads Beads and got the rest. But, ahem. I was very good and only bought four inexpensive quartz strands (for the current project, I swear!), and some wire-wrapping wire, other than the findings, and I still spent more than I intended.

Pudgy has a great selection of vintage glass & lucite beads. Their store has wide aisles, and it's easy to maneuver. Not so great in the findings area, but their prices on the wide range of semi-precious are good, and they generally have a nice section of African beads.

Beads Beads is a great big bead store crammed into a tiny space. Much of it, including the back room where they have a large half-price rack, is very difficult to get to for someone in a wheelchair. Luckily, what I needed today was up front. They have an amazing selection of findings in all finishes. I noticed their prices and selection on wire are also great.  And the service couldn't be beat.  I shared part of my visit with a teenage girl, there with her (very patient) father. You could see she was in the first throes of bead fever, and on a seriously restricted budget. Oh, has any decision been agonized over so much?

I suspect she'll be back. So will I.

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