My Discovery of Art Beads

I started making jewelry about six years ago.  I distinctly remember discovering Ebay for the first time, and then discovering the phenomenon of artisan-made lampwork beads.  And then along came Etsy.

My wallet has never recovered.

beads by Michou P Anderson
For the longest time, I made the majority of my jewelry with lampwork beads and gemstones, never venturing much further from this world of glass art beads.  I was hooked, fascinated, mesmerized.  I even set up a lampwork studio of my own this year to begin to learn the trade.
And then, one night when I couldn’t sleep, I typed in “beads, handmade” into Etsy and oh wow — my world opened up!
Polymer clay, a medium I’d just had the barest acquaintance with, took on new meaning.
beads by Humble Beads

beads by Rolyz Creations

Then I discovered ceramic.  Wow, the options!  I was particularly drawn to the pendants.  SO many styles!
Pendant by Clay Designs by Glee
pendant by Winchell Clay Works
There’s so much more for me to discover, but these are the things that have attacked my senses (and my wallet).  Using new mediums has also expanded my creativity and given me new directions to take my designs.  What I’d like to challenge you with is to explore a style you’ve never used before — glass, ceramic, polymer clay — and try it out.  You might be surprised at what you end up creating!
Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site lorianderson.netShe writes the blogs Pretty Things and An Artist’s Year Off.  She lives in Maryland.

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13 Comment

  1. Nicki
    October 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I just tried to make some plastic beads for the first time. I love how every single pendant comes out different from my small kiln. So much fun and so many opportunities. Hope I find some customers out in the bead world, because I can never use all those pendants myself :).

  2. JeannieK
    October 15, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    What a beautiful display of beads. My mouth is watering.

  3. Gerry
    October 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    WOW!!!! A friend just emailed me and said a pendant of mine made it on your blog. Thanks so much for including my Heart Pendant in your article. Gerry

  4. Alice
    October 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I don't remember how I found out about lampwork beads, but once I saw them I was hooked! And like you, I stumbled onto polymer beads, and then the wonderful ceramic beads. I can't seem to get enough of them, and I love how they make my pieces different from everyone elses.

    Unfortunately I might need a 12 step program to keep me in check before I break the bank with these beauties.

  5. Desert Wind Designs
    October 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    What a lovely collection of beads!

  6. rosebud101
    October 16, 2010 at 12:55 am

    As winter comes upon us, I plan to explore the world of polymer clay and metals. Those should be an interesting combination! Thanks for the challenge.

  7. Dale
    October 16, 2010 at 4:59 am

    i also totally love working with ceramic pendants. That one featured here with the leaf and circle shape is really fab.

  8. Eileen Bergen
    October 16, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Beautiful examples! I love them all. I'm pretty new to the concept of art beads. I hope you don't mind my lurking about. I'm learning a lot here. Thank you.

  9. RolyzCreations
    October 16, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Thank you so much for featuring my retro beads 🙂

  10. Cindy
    October 17, 2010 at 4:06 am

    I'm crazy about handmade beads as well…but my problem is hoarding them. Once I get these beautiful art beads in my hands, I appreciate them as little pieces of art in themselves and often have a hard time letting them go.

  11. Copper Diem
    October 17, 2010 at 4:34 am

    You've listed some great bead artists!

  12. ViviBijoux
    October 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Couldn't agree with you more, we all should expand our creativity. Especially when you think that polymer clay beads are generally cheaper than lampwork beads. Wallets would probably be happy with the change too 🙂 Virginie

  13. Rebecca
    October 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey of discovery with us here! I too started off with a lampwork obsessions (which has not dwindled) but have recently being enamoured with ceramic beads. And I always thought I wasn't a polymer fan but your Can of Bead Soup with Floridity changed all that – I love her work!

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