After I discovered that those little bitty seed beads were not a thing that I (or my then husband) had the patience to work with, I turned my hand to stones… sorta. I bought a travel case that I still have to this day, once spent more than four hours in a bead shop across town, just because I could, bought beads just because they felt interesting and I thought I might be able to use them someday…. for something…. maybe.

It was a time of self-discovery. Anything went. I had in my kit beads of stone and glass and shell, and strung where my muse took me. Quite by accident, I discovered stones. Over the next few months, I found stones I loved to work with (hello, amethyst) and ones that I charge extra for if a customer insists on them (I’m looking at you, pearls!) Glass is always fun to work with, if for no other reason than you’ve got it made if you can find a local glass-blower.

But I didn’t have a style… not really. I wrote before about thinking I needed a focal point on necklaces in particular, and so I made some pieces whose components just didn’t work together. The focal-point idea turned out to be more limiting than freeing. It took ages to discover that I work best with silver-toned findings (earring posts, clasps, crimps, etc.), and figuring out that stretch cord isn’t just for kiddy jewelry. Some designs turned out unexpectedly hilarious – like the time I made a piece exclusively out of shells and coral, which ended up looking frighteningly like a candy cane). Other times my designs turned out better than I hoped (like the time I decided to try out a woven look with probably a couple hundred chip beads on a stretch cord that still gets compliments today).

Today, I have a bit more of a style, but sometimes I get stuck in a trut and just need to try some new things. But that means I’m somewhat skilled in some things and a master of none. The nice thing – and maybe a frustrating thing – about beading is that you can go in so many different directions. The possibilities are literally endless

I’ve gotten some of the most amazing ideas from repairing broken pieces, or having someone ask me to make them something special – either for a special occasion or just because they want to support a local artist. Sometimes those requests push me out of my comfort zone, and that’s always a good thing.

What do you, dear reader, want to read about over the next few days? Are you interested in how-tos? More personal stories? How my blindness informs and hampers my artistry? Photos of pieces? All of the above? Let me know in the comments!