Yesterday and the day before, I spent a lot of time at the bead shop, twisting tiny wires and stringing bitty beads and nearly putting my eye out with the wire cutter, because it’s never too early to be in the pursuit of holiday presents, making a holly, and a jolly, and a merry merry.

Except my hands were sweaty and I had started to go blind in one eye and blood was slowly trickling out an ear and it occurred to me, as the piece of jewelry I was laboring over so sweatily and laboriously sprung violently out of my hand and exploded in the air, showering the store’s work table with shards of hate and severing the many important major arteries of many of the store’s customers, that maybe I need a hobby that doesn’t fill me with rage.

I am not even really sure why the fuck I suddenly and without warning
took up earring making in the first place, and why I ever even
considered the possibility of setting foot inside a store called
Beadissimo. But suddenly I was there three times in one week. I took a
class. I paid someone to show me how to wire wrap. I returned and with great consideration purchased beads and spent three hours sitting at a table,
arduously constructing disappointingly Spartan-looking earrings that
are just a couple steps up from, like, macaronies on a string. With
extra glitters.

For three hours, I sweated and made frustrated, howly rage noises, and
then they shooed us out of the store because it was closing. I shut
down a bead store, man. I am hard core. And then I got out of work
early the next afternoon, and I made a beeline back to the place. Or
should that be bead line? No. No, it shouldn’t. Sorry.

It is intensely and deeply dorky and twee, this bead thing. It’s like
half a hop away from bedazzling, only way fucking more expensive. But
despite the rage and the heart pounding and the way I am not a super
genius with my hands—which are comprised of four thumbs and another
thumb—doing that wrapping stuff, and the stringing and the bending
and the twisting, it takes a lot of concentration. It forces an immense
amount of focus, of zeroing in and narrowing down.

I cup beads in my palm and hunch over the table, turning them over and
sliding them along the bend of a wire, and it is a strange sort of
break from the inside of my head. Nothing at all depends on the
assembly of an earring, and rage is aerobic.

10 Replies to “beadecked”

  1. I get that (although, I must admit, you in a store called Beadissimo…I never thought I’d hear such a thing…). But as long as you stay away from Bedazzler guns, I think I can handle it.

    What I get is the break it gives you from your head, what with all the toiling and sweating and whatnot. Your mind can go blank. Running does that for me. Or drinking heavily (but in a totally different way, you know? Hmmm).

    Working with your hands also provides you with some hours of unable-to-eat time. (Which, based on some of my latest behaviors, might suggest that maybe ’tis I who should make a beeline to Beadissimo….)

    May we see photos of the finished products? Preferably on your very own ears?? :)

  2. My daughter actually had a Bedazzler. I don’t think we bought it off the tv though, I think we got it at a craft store “As seen on TV!”. Now she bedazzled stuff and it actually looked good!I was never crafty… But I collected collectible Barbie dolls for a few years…1999-2005. (I can hear the groans, but I can’t help it, I loooooove fashion dolls. I know they’re as welcome to my peers as say, Global Warming.)
    Only I couldn’t get them out of the boxes. It took me 45 minutes of back-breaking labor to get Tango Barbie out of a box with all the tape, staples, styrofoam, plastic holders, twisty ties, plastic hair protector, string and wire. It took glasses, scissors, an X-acto knife and a magnifying glass to do it. My entire bed was littered with debris, I was sweating and aching all over, my legs were asleep. So I stopped “deboxing.” In collecting terms, this makes your stuff more valuable. But it’s boring as hell.
    Even the ones I got out of the box I can’t dress anymore. I can’t get my clumsy fingers into those little hooks, eyes, zippers and buttons. Heck, I can’t even see the hooks and eyes! I still love those damn dolls though. I dream at night lately that I’m playing with them, setting up couture shops for them, little french cosmetic boutiques…love is a bizarre thing. So is rage. I totally get it, Anne.

  3. I bead a lot, in fact I was thinking about starting an etsy business. but anyway I get my beads from thrift stores and big traveling jewelry shows (like this one, much better prices I did notice that Michael’s and JoAnn’s (don’t know if you have these stores..They are general craft stores) has recently improved their beading supplies and the cost savings can be huge compared to the small business owner. But I like to reuse and disassemble jewelry to make my own and it does save money on supplies. Of course it means I have limited supplies and most of my necklaces are one of a kind and can’t be made into production pieces…. It is very therapeutic for me, I can get sucked in and come out hours later thinking “were did the day go?” and “did I miss lunch?” I also like to listen to audio books, my hands and mind get so totally busy that the rest of the world cannot bother me….which for me is a good thing…I worry far too much and everything. I do have to say though that wiring can be very tricky and that the only thing that can make you better, more comfortable and more confident is just doing it a lot. I don’t’ make loads of earrings but when it has been awhile and I have plans to use wire I tend to do a few practice pieces to get me back into the swing of things…a better rhythm, it just takes time. I used to make earrings for a women who sells at craft shows and she would give me her sample production piece and all the supplies i would need, and I would just make them for hours over and over again….I got very good, I am not that good anymore…but I could easily pick it back up after few goes.

  4. Oh, and I am not endorsing that show, they come through my town and look like they are in northern CA, but it was really just an example of the type of show I’m talking about. There are others and many regional groups, that is just one I know is national…

  5. Ok – so you’ll love this. When I moved to the fair city of Atlanta, my first job was at my aunt’s bead store: “Bazillions of Beads.” Oh yeah, baby. I priced the beads, I sold the beads, I taught the infuriating bead classes. I have wrapped more miles of sterling silver wire than I care to imagine, and if you have any questions about Tiger Tail, just ask me. I departed after a few months to start my corporate life, but the experience lives on in my soul.


  6. Hee hee heeee! ‘Shards of hate’! Gasp! Hee hee!

    As a former beading addict, I’m all too familiar with what you just described.

  7. I used to make beaded bobby pins compulsively. I had that Klutz book, and I would spend hours twisting wires to make little swirly beady hair things, or dragonflies if I felt ambitious. Every once in a while now, I will find the plastic box full of beads and wire and nail clippers for cutting the wire, and I’ll pull the stuff out and make myself another bobby pin that I won’t wear. I never moved on from that, though, even though I’d love to make necklaces or something. I just don’t have the patience. The bobby pins, they take ten minutes or so, they use a dozen beads, and then you’re done. Necklaces, bracelets? I start them and never finish. Kind of like the 9800 scarves I’ve started knitting and never finished. Long projects freak me out.
    If I was in San Fran, though, I’d come bead with you. It’s nice to have a buddy for your dorky projects.

  8. I prefer just to buy the beads and bead stuff and put it in a closet never to be touched again. I do the same with yarn and knitting stuff. That is my kind of craft.

  9. sasha- that’s the same crafting I do! Mine are embroidery, but the “closet never to be touched again” exactly the same.

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