An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Monday, June 3, 2013

Findings about findings: a beader's creation and a beader's puzzle

Today I was asked what a finding was by a non-jewellery person. It seemed a simple question to answer – I made a list of all the things I called findings and confidently said, ‘Findings are the bits and pieces of metal that hold jewellery together – chain, clasps, links, bead caps, earring bits, etc.’

Ironically, I had just taken a photo of my latest creation that had findings in abundance.

Then I wondered – was I right? So, off to Google Search. Some dictionaries define findings as the small tools and materials used by artisans – not just jewellers. Others link them specifically to jewellers by defining them as small parts used to join jewellery components together.

Either way, it struck me what a strange word it was to apply to a group of objects or to small tools and materials. I wondered - why are findings called findings? Answering this ‘why?’ question was certainly trickier than answering the ‘what’ question.

Deep amongst various definitions of findings possibilities emerged. In legalese a synonym for ‘finding’ is a holding – could it be that they all ‘hold’ things together.
Finding in Olde English means to come upon, alight on and there is some surmising that this come from a German would that means to go, pass, path, bridge. Were they seen as bridges between components.

In an article trying to answer my question I found this:
Every jeweler, his or her apprentices, and /or journeymen and women had to be able to make all their own components. Each project required the jeweler or apprentice to hammer out a sheet of gold or silver and draw lengths of wire. Being cautious, they generally hammered or drew a little more metal than was needed.

The leftover bits would be set aside for later use on small projects or to modify an existing piece of jewelry. These bits came to be called findings. They were used to make eye pins, jump rings, or other small components. A small piece of wire could be used to replace a missing earwire. A leftover piece of metal might be folded to form a catch for a necklace. No scrap would be thrown away, even the filings were kept, remelted, and used again. This practice remained common until jewelers began to specialize.

I still didn’t feel I had my answer – still the question ‘why’ findings persisted. Another site focusing on the history of jewellery surmised this”

The etymology is uncertain but it might relate to the old use of the word "findan" to indicate things obtained through research and study; in some cultures artisans would be given their first set of professional tools as a recognition that they had learned their trade.

So, what do you think? What do you know? Can you help me grow my findings about findings? 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A beading studio, teaching and a beading book in the making

It's been a busy time lately organising my studio, teaching beading classes and this week proofing pages  for my first publication in a beadwork book. (Photos of the studio coming next).

I'm thrilled to be one of the guest designers in Jane Lock's fab new book The Beader’s Handbook (UK)/The Art of Beadweaving (US) due out in August/September 2013.

My project Rosetta bracelet project will be included alongwith projects from Jane, Kerry Slade, Nancy Dale, Carol Dean Sharpe, Heather Collin.  The graphic designer has done a fab job at making the diagrams really clear.

Copies can be pre-ordered"

Monday, March 11, 2013

Revisiting tips for reducing beaders' WIPs, UFOs and PhD

There must be something about this time of year - its just over 12 months ago I posted my tips for reducing a beader's UFOs (Unfinished objects) WIPs (Work in Progress) or PHDs (Pieces Half Done) because they seemed to be multiplying apace. Well, its happened again and so its time for some concentrated time to reduce them.  Here's my tips from last year's post and some reflections on what's working for me this year and what's not.

From 2012...

  1. Carry your UFOs in a special ‘tote’ whenever you go out to places you might need to wait – for doctors, friends, etc. and take the opportunity to spend 5 minutes on completing your project. Well, its just too hot for this one to work right now. Five minutes in the car and the beads will be melting and the Fireline fusing... perhaps, this is tip best left to winter.
  2. Promise yourself 5 mins a day on a project until its finished.  Okay, this is a good idea but with the size of my UFO pile it could take until next century!
  3. Keep UFOs in their own separate container with all the beads, thread, etc needed to complete it. You can then more readily work on it when the desire takes you.  Yep, I've done this but I've found myself rifling through them and stealing beads for new projects! Just a little counterproductive me thinks.
  4. Pick four or five UFOs and work on them in a rotation system until one is finished. Then add another to the rotation group (if you need to). Rotating which UFOs you work can stop you getting bored or frustrated with one and never returning to it. Tried this last week - the downside was the dogs protested that there was no space left for them in the loungeroom (my beading space of preference at present!)
  5. Take a good hard look at your UFOs be honest about those you will never finish. Put these in a ‘won’t ever do’ box and donate them to the local charity shop. This is today's job - my plan is to undo any that I think I really won't ever finish cos I really don't like them. The upside to the unbeading them is that the beads get a second life.
  6. Swap them with a beading buddy.  Haven't tried this one yet - has anyone else?
  7. Try learning a new technique for making findings or finishing a piece – this might just inspire you to use on an UFO. Hoorah - this one worked - I turned a 'just begun' herringbone bracelet into a basket weave herringbone bracelet that used some bugles that have been longing to be used - see what you think?
  8. Have a UFO ‘bead in’ with some beading buddies or your local beading group. Not quite there with this but I did take my UFO to my wonderful Crafty Women's group last week and lo and behold I finished that night. I'm delighted with the result. 
No longer a UFO - from herringbone bit to a basket weave bracelet
2013's additions that are working for me just now...
  1. Sort the UFOs into those that are waiting on some more beads and those that are not. Order the beads today!!!!
  2. Turn the UFO into a something dramatic - a piece that you can't wait to finish rather one that you are finishing for finishing's sake. Embellish it, try out a new clasp, create a new closure method, try a new stitch and in doing so create something that you'll love. Focus on innovation rather than just ticking it off the list.
  3. Give some dedicated time to your UFOs - they won't disappear with out it!
So, off to bead now...

But, just before I do - I have hosting a GIVEAWAY - a free beading pattern from my online pattern shop to the best TIP on reducing UFOs. Winner announced in next week's blog post on Monday 18th March.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Faberge Eggs, beading and some free tutorials

I have just listed Emeralda, a beaded bead necklace that was created for the Etsy Beadweavers Team March challenge on the theme Faberge Egg. It is playing further with the netted beaded beads in Summerberie.  I felt these beaded beads strongly evoked the trellis patterns common to many Faberge eggs and feature the vibrant jewelled tones seen in many Faberge eggs (for example, see

To see the other wonderful entries in the challenge please visit the Etsy Beadweavers team blog, between the 9th and 15th March and vote for your favorite entry.

If you feel inspired to play with Faberge you might find these tutorials of interest.
Free beading tutorials for Faberge eggs
You can also buy some great beadweaving tutorials inspired by Faberge eggs
Emeralda - my entry into the Etsy Beadweavers March challenge, Faberge Egg

Monday, February 25, 2013

Berry beading patterns, Summerberie and a surprise

Summerberie by Glenda Mac Naughton, Feb 2013
Summer time is a time here in southern Australia when a wondrous array of berry fruits are available.

Summer berries are not only luscious but apparently wonderfully good for us fighting aging, cancer, memory loss and much more. Their shapes and colours inspired a recent beading creation I called Summerberie (adapted from the Old English spelling) which I entered in the Festival of Glass Wearable Glass Art competition (Feb 17th 2013).

I was delightfully surprised to gain 3rd prize for the piece. So, here she is in all her berrie glory.  Of course, I am not the only beader to be inspired by summer berries and their wonderful colours and shapes. Here's some beading berries to explore and enjoy. They might not fight cancer but they are inspiring and who knows what comes from being inspired.

Love to hear about or see any of your beading berry inspirations.

Berry bracelet pattern by Deb Moffett-Hall

For purchase
Summer berries - 2 drop peyote.
Summer berry bracelet

For enjoying
Berry Jewelry by Alexandra Matveenko
Berry Patch Necklace by Karen Trade

For developing berry colour schemes
Colour schemer
Fashions in berry shades -

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A very beady beginning to 2013 - how New Zealand helped!

Happy New Year to all. I hope its a safe and fulfulling year for all.

Proud owner of The Bead Gallery in Picton.
2013 has had a very happy and beady beginning for me. I've already taken to lampwork bead making classes with two very different glass bead artists and visited two bead shops full of delight. These beady beginnings to the New Year have been whilst I've been on holiday in New Zealand in an area called Nelson at the very top of the South Island.

There is a bead shop in the city of Nelson - The Bead Gallery - that is one of the first bead shops here in Australiasia. It opened in 1991 and not only has a huge diversity of beads but is full of bead treasures from around the world. You can spend time looking at absolutely gigantic glass beads from East Java, wonder about the meanings of the symbols on the beaded baby carrier from Sabah and delight in seeing tiny size 16/0 Toho seed beads in wonderful metallic colours. There are beautiful wooden buckets brimming with glass beads from India, seed beads from everywhere and findings galore. When you walk into the shop the metaphor of an 'Aladdin's cave' comes to mind. Delightful enough you might think but to find its 'sister' shop in Picton (just down a beautiful road from Nelson) next to a bead glass artist's gallery made my beading heart zing.

The great bead umbrella, The Bead Gallery, Picton.
Did temptation to buy win out - of course it did. I'll be coming home with some of those wonderful size 16/0 Toho beads, the beads I made in my lampwork classes and a wonderful bead made by Andrew Firth who I took a class with.
A not so good photo of a very shiny bead I made at The Bead Gallery in Nelson under the expert tuition of Michelle
So, if you are in New Zealand do think about visiting the Nelson area - there's plenty to delight a beading traveller. 

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