Tuesday 31 July 2007

Must be the Virgo in me . . . . .

I get many an email asking me how I do my stringerwork. My answer is always the same. It's just practice and patience. I know that sounds like a terrible cop-out kind of answer but it is totally true. When I started making beads my stringer control was virtually non-existent. I wanted to be able to create lines, scrolls, stripes and zig-zags but I just couldn't do it. My stringer went all globby and it always seemed to snap or melt when I didn't want it to.

So I left it for a while and stuck with dots - I made many dotty beads! Every now and again I'd go back to the stringer and try again. Then I'd leave it for another few weeks and I'd try again. And again. I had piles of crappy stringer beads. Then one day it clicked. My stringer was thick (like 2mm thick) but I managed to get spirals and scrolls on a bead. Over the years I've pulled my stringer finer and finer and now it is about the same thickness (or thin-ness, depending on your point of view) as dental floss. Actually, I don't think I could pull it any finer.

But, and here's the bit that you may be pleased to hear, I STILL make crappy stringer beads. Lots of them. And I have evidence of this to show you. The picture above shows the water jug that sits next to my torch. Inside it are over thirty mandrels with 'bad' beads on them. By 'bad' I mean that I've made mistakes on them - either dots aren't aligned properly, scrolls aren't 'scrolly' enough or my stringer simply snapped while I was applying it. On the right hand side of the jug are fifteen beads. The water jug was empty when I started making them and that is how the jug looked by the time I'd finished. Now, maths never was (and still isn't) my strong point but by my reckoning that works out that for every three beads I make only one of them is good.

That photo illustrates a typical beadmaking day for me. Two out of three beads die a fizzly-crackly death in the Pyrex jug and never see the light of day. People say I'm over-critical of my work. I say that I'm a perfectionist. Heck, I am a Virgoan after all!

So my water jug picture is surely proof to you that stringerwork (and all other elements of beadmaking) is indeed practice and patience and now you know that I'm not just fobbing you off with a terrible cop-out answer!


  1. Thanks for this advice Laura.
    Im going to be practising now till domesday lol.
    Love the beads im soooo envious:)
    keep up the exellent work!!!

  2. Oh yes..you are soooo a Virgo, Laura...!

    Beautiful, envy enducing beads...as ever.

    Shari xx

  3. Wow, 3 to 1 ratio. That makes me feel so much better about my own 4 or 5 to 1 ratio.


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