Twelve years ago, when I began my journey with jewelry making, when I was a young stay-at-home mother of two, who had moved to a new state with my new husband and struggled to make my way, I was, to be frank, quite alone with my thoughts and stress.
Now, don't worry. I wont let this get too weepy, I promise. This isn't a sob story but one, instead, of hope and the power of the creative spirit.
So yeah. Beads.
Glorious beautiful beads. The local craft store was awash with them. And they were pretty and sparkled and, despite a relatively low price tag, allowed me ample opportunity to test the waters of this new creative endeavor.... and, along the way, offer my anxiety a little reprieve. $2 bought me 16 beads. 16 awesome opportunities to create. And yes, even $2was sometimes a stretch for our budget, so I learned to allow the wire (mostly free and fairly prevalent) to represent my vision and used the beads to accent that vision.
And to this day, I am an advocate for the use of beads in wire and metal work. I was recently offered a spread in an un-named prolific magazine on the condition the work submitted utilized no beads. "Beads", they said "are not representative of the quality of our aesthetic".
Well, okay then.
Needless to say, I declined their offer. Because I love beads. Beads were my gateway drug. They were the snowball before the avalanche. They were the tiny balls of beauty in a life that once couldn't afford much else.
So to those who say beads are not for "artists", I say who are you to define for me what art is? Art is a salve for the soul. And for every strand of beads, I had a palm full of remedies.
Use your beads, my friends. Go and create.