So, I’ve got some things planned. Most involve the jewellery shop (of which, more soon), but there are some changes I mean to make to the bead shop. There are a number of designs that are made-to-order. In time, once I’ve got stock levels up, I’m aiming to shift over to having listings just for beads that are in stock (although I’d still be happy to do custom orders of out-of-stock beads). There are several pluses to this, I think. It will mean that there is more variety, more new and different beads for returning customers. It should – I very much hope! – give me a greater push to keep working on new designs. I also wonder whether people are less inclined to buy made-to-order beads. I’d be very interested to hear what anyone else thinks on this. Do you prefer to order something that you know is already made and ready to ship? Also, do you put off buying made-to-order beads, thinking, ‘I can get that another day’? I’m being quite frank in asking this, I realise, but I would be interested to know. Some of my made-to-order beads are more popular than others. The ombre owl has been very popular – like all owls! I’ve had fewer takers for these.
It may just be that my lovely bead buyers don’t share my love of vintage ceramics. I say ceramics, but that sounds a little grand. It’s really the kind of mass-produced kitchenware that has now become very popular with collectors and vintage enthusiasts (and has, of late, regrettably, been Alsop-ed too). I have quite a lot of it. I am a terrible cook so I don’t have that excuse for buying it, and I’m running out of places to display it. I’ve always had an attachment to it. When my grandparents passed away and the house had to be cleared, it was a box of plates and bowls and mugs I took away – things I remembered using everyday as a kid. I started making these beads after a weekend visiting a close friend, Pech, who is also a vintage crockery lover. We managed to spend a good part of my stay looking at the stuff, in one form or another – in some pop-up cafe, whilst browsing around numerous second-hand and vintage shops, and during a lazy hungover sunday, when we looked at more of it online and in books. This is starting to sound rather nerdy, yes? Had I anticipated writing this post, I’d have taken some photos. Instead I’m borrowing some from one of the collections on hoarder-chic site, Obsessionistas, which looks like a good place to lose a few hours, should you need to.
All of these designs are by Jessie Tait. It was her work, in particular, that I had in mind, when I started making what I’ve called, naturally enough, Tait beads.
They are all quite large beads. I hadn’t realised until recently that I often seem to make larger beads, without really planning to. I’ve started to work on smaller versions of some designs, but I quite like the size of the Tait beads. They sit nicely in your palm, with a pleasing thing-ness. One other thing I’ve found myself doing is forgetting to use my own beads in my jewellery. So, as I was making up several of these beads, I made an extra one that I used in a necklace yesterday. I kept to the typical 1950s Tait colours and mixed in some fabulous vintage glass.
The photo isn’t great, but I like the necklace. Which is just as well because there was a lot of knotting, cursing, chopping up and staring again. I stayed with the vintage homewares feel when making my second pair of earrings for the AJE earring challenge, although these remind me of a later decade.
The lampwork beads are wonderful – just right. When I signed up for the AJE challenge, I had a bit of a hunt around Etsy for bead pairs, and came across Journey Beads (also genschi). I got a couple of pairs there, and, getting ahead of things, I’ve made my third lot of earrings with the other pair of beads. The embossed blanks are available from Claire Braunbarth at Smitten Beads.
These just make me think of cherry blossom. I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to seeing some cherry blossom.