An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dots, dyes and durability in Delica beads: getting organised to avoid disappointment

After yet another foray onto Miyuki’s website to check the durability of the finish of some Delicas I want to use in my latest project I’ve finally decided it’s time to get better oragnised on this front. I’m off buy some sticky coloured dots that I can use to mark the containers of the Delicas in my stash that have less durable finishes because after a couple of disasters with Delica finishes ‘wearing off’ I seem to spend as much time on Miyuki’s website checking out the durability of finishes as I do beading.

My first durability disaster hit with the first Delica project I ever did (see photo) back in the late 1990s. It was an amulet purse I designed inspired by a piece of gold threaded Thai silk I had seen on holiday in Thailand. The silk was worn by a Thai classical dancer wear during a delightful dance performance I had seen. I was so delighted with the finished piece that I wore it daily and within a week or two the bright tumeric coloured Delica beads began to loose their colour. So, I learnt the hard way to avoid dyed Delica beads.

Other hard lessons followed as I learnt through experience that several seed bead finishes are not durable. The lack of durability of several seed bead finishes is not a secret – for instance, Miyuki’s website allows you to check durability by bead number and many bead sellers keep a chart of bead finish durability. However, my disappointments with durability arose because not all sellers do this and not all bead labelling includes information about finishes. Unfortunately, this means that impulse bead buying when this information is lacking can bring diasters in their wake. I have quite a stash of beads bought this way that I now need to be very wary of using.

There are several ways to avoid the durability disappointments I've had.
  • Be particularly alert to beads that have a very vibrant or unusual color especially if they tones of purple and pink.
  • Learn the language of seed bead finishes so you can make a judgement before you buy.
  1. Ceylon (clear beads that have been lustred that have a shiny pearly finish ) – may sometimes fade in sunlight
  2. Dyed (often very bright colours) – friction and skin acids bring them back to white beads
  3. Galvinized (metallic finishes) – can rub off with friction from wear or other beads and with chemical reactions to skin oils and acids
  4. Inside colour or painted linings – can rub off the inside over time
  5. Plated (metallic finishes) – relatively permanent but can rub off with friction
  6. Silver lined (very sparkly) – these can go black overtime
  • Test beads before you work with them by either spraying window cleaner on them or sitting them on a dampened paper towel for a while – the colour on dyed beads is vulnerable to this test.
  • Create your own durability labelling system for your bead stash. My hope is to have a simple dot system for those that I already own that I can remember easily:
  1. Ceylon – yellow to remind me that they might fade in the sun
  2. Dyed – white to remind me they fade back to white
  3. Galvinized – green cos it starts with G too
  4. Painted linings – pink cos it starts with P too
  5. Plated – silver because silver is often plated
  6. Silver lined – black to remind me that they turn black
Mind you I may need to rethink my system after I visit my local newsagency. I suspect their line of colored dots is rather limited.

If you really want to use non-durable finishes – or like me – have a stash of them bought in ignorance you can apparently produce a more durable finish if coat them with clear acrylic spray paint before using them or dip the finished work into clear acrylic floor wax. I haven’t tried either of these methods but I’d be curious to know if anyone else has and what you think works best. What other tricks and tips do you have to avoid the disappointments non-durable seed bead finishes can bring?

Delica durability charts

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Creativity, gemstones and you

I have just listed a Red Tiger Iron gemstone cabochon in my Etsy Destash shop (see photo and link to for more information). In reading about this gemstone I met its folklore as a stone that could aid creativity. Ah, I thought, a perfect stone for beaders. Whoever works with this cabochon could produce a wonderfully creative design. Mind you it is not the only gemstone believed to enhance our creativity. For instance:

  • Amber builds creative confidence
  • Carnelian gives us creative energy
  • Citrine generates positive new thoughts and ideas
  • Dioptase energises creative insights
  • Garnet sparks us to act on our creativity
  • Iolite unlocks our creativity
  • Jade stimulates spontaneity in our creativity
  • Rhodochroisite encourages playful creativity

Beliefs about the magical properties of gemstones have a long and varied history. Over time in different cultures gemstones have been attributed with many magical and healing properties. In researching this history for her novel A Rumour of Gems, author Ellen Steiber found that just about any gemstone was capable of anything. The magical and/or healing properties a particular gemstone is believed to have can shift from culture to culture and time to time. For instance, it was claimed in times past that if you put your hand in boiling water after a topaz had been thrown into it the water would not harm you. So, it is with that caution in mind you might turn to my creative gemstone list when you need a boost to your creativity. Mind you, I still believe that my Red Tiger Iron gemstone cabachon will stimulate who ever uses it to create a wonderful design. What stimulates you to be creative? Do gemstones have a place in that for you?


Friday, May 14, 2010

Etsy Treasuries featuring Dax Designs Bead Art - the latest news

Two treasuries this week with Dax Designs work featured. Thanks to the curators for including my work. 'Glorious Sunrise' featured Giraffes at Sunset cuff bracelet and 'Yes or No?' featured my latest hairstick - Abstract Artz. I love learning about the work of other Etsians through these treasuries.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The 6th Photo Game

Cindy Caraway of Artful Living on the Bluff has invited her readers to play along in the 6th Photo Game with her. The fun begins when you search through your earliest blog posts and find the sixth photo that you ever uploaded to share with your readers. The next task is to critique your own photo, and explain what you would do differently, then pass on the challenge to ten bloggers.

I was invited to join the game by Inspirational Beading to join the challenge. My 6th photo was my photo of a bracelet I am very fond of called Kimberly Lizard - here it is. It is much better than many of the photos i was taking at this time but I can see that it would have benefited by some tinkering to make it brighter and sharper. I've had a go to see what happens if I try to do. I have used my Image Preview program to sharpen and brighten the image and then increased the contrast slightly. The original photo needed to be more in focus but I think overall the tinkering has worked to produce a better photo - what do you think? What else would you do?

I’m passing on the 6th Photo Challenge to:
  1. Beaded extravagence -
  2. Beading fantasy -
  3. Bead bugs boutique -
  4. Beadwork by Amanda -
  5. Beadazzled of Oregon -
  6. Enchanted beads -
  7. Good Quill Hunting -
  8. Peter Sewell -
  9. Smadar's Treasure -
  10. Time2cre8 -

Etsy Artisans supporting each other - Aunt Jane and her feature of Dax Designs Bead Art

Since opening an online shop on Etsy I have had lots of support from other artisans with Etsy shops. Support behind the scenes has included helpful tips and advice on setting up my shop and managing life on Etsy. More public support in has included being featured by other artisans in their Etsy Treasuries. Etsy Treasuries are are themed handpicked selections of Etsy items for sale that are published online as part of Etsy's website. My work has also been featured on the blogs of other Etsians. It's very exciting when this happens as the interest and affirmation of other artisans is wonderful to have as part my day. Aunt Jane is the latest Etsian to do this. She has just featured my work on her blog -

If you have a chance do pop by her blog and have a read. You can also see her wonderful work on her Etsy website. She sells Original Fantasy Art on sculptures, paintings, jewelry, greeting cards and prints. I just love the shapes and colours on her greeting cards - one is featured here. Could be great inspiration for beading designs. Support artisans, supporting other Etsians by popping by her shop.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dax's Friday Followers earrings offer and FREE shipping

Friday Fans and Followers special offers are a way to say thanks to my blog Followers and Facebook Fans. This Friday I'm in a mood to create some earrings with a difference so I've decided Dax's Friday Facebook Fans and Followers special offer will be earrings - I am offering a two for one special on my Etsy shop earrings for this weekend (7th - 9th May). It's for Dax's Facebook fans and blog followers only. Just send me a message in the message to Seller with the code - EARFFandF in it once you have made your earring purchases and I'll refund the price of one pair of earrings.

Also to celebrate reaching 200 shop hearts on Etsy I've introduced FREE shipping on all items.

If you are in the mood for browsing pop by and see what's new in Dax's Etsy shop.

Butterflies, Rainbows and Bead Challenges

It's the monthly Etsy Beadweaver's Challenge time again. It's part of our team membership requirements that we participate in the challenges. This month I've created a bracelet - The Butterfly Rainbows - for the Etsy Beadweaver's "Colour Embedded in the World of Insects" Challenge! Please visit the EBW blog between May 9th and 15th, choose your favorite challenge piece and vote for it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eye of the Tiger and Eye of the Zebra in favourites on Etsy treasuries

Just catching up with posting on two treasuries two of my recent cuffs in my 'Wild Side' series. I've offered patterns for each of them on my Etsy destash site ( as well as listed the beaded cuffs for sale in my Etsy shop. Working on finishing my next in the series - Eye of the Snow Leopard. Just waiting on the right grey Delica beads to arrive from my latest bead order. Hope you enjoy the Wild Side of my current work.

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op