Here is the next in a series of tips that were left out of Textured Bead Embroidery in the interest of space. I hope you enjoy them.
My initial attempts at shopping for beads were major disappointments a very important reasons: I did not know enough about beads to make intelligent choices and I did not have a plan.
After a 20 year hiatus from beading, I signed up for a class at the local community center in 2000, and the teacher took us on a field trip to a downtown jewelry supply store. Every possible inch of every wall, floor, counter and shelf was covered with strands, piles and bags of beads and findings. I was completely overwhelmed and after more than an hour walked out without making a purchase. Unfortunately, I no longer suffer from that condition.
After that ill-fated shopping trip I made a plan and turned to the Rio Grande catalog I borrowed from the teacher. That first purchase seemed outrageously expensive at the time, but the resulting projects launched me on my current path.
Shopping for beads is itself an art. Here are some tips on maximizing your experience:
Go with a plan but be open-minded.
If you see something that speaks to you, buy it and make sure you purchase enough because you don’t know whether you’ll find it again.
If you find a bead shape that seems to work for you and your budget allows, buy it in a small selection of the colors you use most often. That way, you have a back-up stash to go to when the specific elements you chose for a piece fail to achieve the effect you envisioned.
Take advantage of internet sales and promotions to stock up on the things you use most often.
Maximize your purchasing power. The more you buy, the cheaper it is. Order as a group and take advantage of the savings.
Support your local bead store so it stays open. You never know when you need to pop in for an emergency tube of beads.