You Can Buy Anything From China

10:25 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
In the past few months, I have been engaged in a very frustrating search for beads to keep making my gorgeous Fairy Drop earrings.  I love briolettes, I love the drop and dangle of the pretty beads that I found to make the Fairy Drop earrings.  I love that these earrings are sooo sparkley and elegant and big.  Glass would be too heavy but I found some wonderful packages of acrylic Blue Moon beads from their Manor House line about a year ago that were perfect.  All the earrings I made with those beads are sold.  I have customers who want more.  My beads are gone.  Blue Moon no longer sells them.  I have hunted high and low for a source for them or for beads that are similar.  I can find plenty of teeeneency little glass and acrylic droplets.  I can find West German crystal drops that are huge and gorgeous and weigh about three pounds each.  I have found one or two  Etsy sellers who have similar sized beads but are selling them for between 1 and 2 dollars per bead.   I have not been able to find a wholesale distributer of acrylic beads in this size and shape - until last week. 

I stumbled upon a Chinese manufacturer's website where they have gazillions of acrylic beads in every imaginable size, shape and color - including the droplet beads I have been searching for.  They are insanely affordable.  Until you calculate the shipping.

This discovery presents me with a few dilemmas.

First - do I by plastic stuff directly from China?  I have such a big problem with China - lack of democracy, horrible human rights abuses, poor working conditions, bad environmental record - etc, etc . . .     But they do plastic well.   That's their thing, right?

Second - do I use plastic in my designs?  I've been leaning more and more toward glass in recent years - it is more ecologically sound as a design component than either plastic or gemstone.  There's a little less "rape of the earth" going on to produce spectacular glass.

I ordered a "small" quantity of the beads.  Only about 1,800 of them in 8 different colors.  I'll see how they work for me and how I feel about them when I hold them in my hands.  If they are less than wonderful or if they 'feel' bad then I will not purchase any more.

BUT the biggest frustration I've uncovered here is related to other suppliers' dishonesty.  For several years, I've been ordering small quantities of spectacular "vintage" acrylic and lucite beads from other Etsy suppliers to use in my designs.  I was feeling O.K. about using plastic in these cases because the beads were vintage, right?  I was not contributing to the plastic mania or using up more fossil fuels to design with these beads - in fact, I was saving them from going into landfills or into the great Pacific Gyre, right?

Ummm.  No.  Just about all of those fabulous "vintage" faceted transparent acrylic and lucite beads that I'm in love with over on Etsy are produced & sold right at this big huge massive Chinese plastic place.  There are a few designs that I haven't been able to locate yet but this website is so huge, I'm quite sure that I will find them at some point if I keep looking.  Gah.  I'm pretty sure that my favorite Etsy sellers are not deliberately lying to me.  I think they get their wares through some middle man who is peddling these beads as "vintage" bt it doesn't make me any less frustrated.

I guess the lesson here is - if it looks too new to be old, it is.

Anticipation Gratified

9:57 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
This is what I did today.

There is room for all of my bead canisters on these shelves.  More will go along the last column between the window and counter top later on and even more on another wall.  Sometime we will prime and paint the shelves and put a facing on them so that they look more like finished furniture and less like a bunch of boards screwed between wall studs. 

But they're functional.

And I'll be able to see all of my beads and organize them easily by color.  (At least - all of my beads that can be stored in these little barrels.  There are others . . . .)

 . .  . . . .


8:55 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
We really are about to move.  Really.  All the good new photos are on the camera, hanging on a nail over at the Beorningstead.  But here are a couple of shots of the progress on my studio sink area and a breif overview of what we've accomplished in the past few days.

The upstairs bedrooms are ready to prime and paint.  (Molly and Meemo primed her room last week!)  There are lights in each bedroom, though none in the hall or stairway yet.  (Again, thanks goes to Bry's mom for her patience and skill in wiring lights and decoding those jumbles of wire in junction boxes.)

I set up my brand new computer desk yesterday (it took nearly all stinking day).

Bryan finished installing my studio sink last night.  (Thanks go to Greg who helped with a few minor issues and consulted with us about the roof over the back of the house.)  Hot and cold water come in and go out of my new studio without leaks!  We can now wash dishes and scrub paintbrushes (and eventually dye scarves and threads and fabulous fiber!)

The shower and Potty have been operable for some time now - no door on the bathroom, just a sliding board for privacy.  That causes Molly a great deal of anxiety but she can cope for a little while until we figure out the door solution.

Things are still very rustic.  It will feel like camping - in my own bed! - for a while.  Which is fine.  Even nice.  I spent a good part of my childhood living in the basement of my parent's home while the log house was being built.  My grandfather ran a saw mill.  I really don't mind the sound of power tools and I actually like the smells associated with construction.  Dust, though.  There will be lots of that.  Have to remember to cover the computer and furniture all the time.

Maxx is having a blast.  And not watching TV when we are there.  Another bonus - he plays with his little cousin, Truman, daily.  They are becoming good friends, which is something Maxx needs.  Truman loves to run and play with him - they have squirt gun fights with lots of hilarious laughter, play Star Wars using big bubble wands as light sabers and just generally run amok.  Truman is no longer afraid to tell Max where to get off, he holds his own and is very straightforward about what he does and doesn't like. 

Goblin's Market and Luna's Baublebilities are very much on hold right now.  I fulfilled two wholesale orders this week.  One was for a bunch of dragonflies to New Zeland and one for a handful of gorgeous earrings to a customer who makes her own jewelry but also does several trunk shows a summer and fills out her inventory with work from other artists, like me.  Other wise things have been quiet, allowing me to focus on construction.   The break is nice but I've really been itching to be playing at something creative - especially since my old studio is clean for walk throughs.  That empty table makes my fingers itch.

Hopefully, this will help with that itch.  I just got a copy of India Flint's Ecocolor in the mail.  Velma brought some gorgeous fabric into the Arts Council a couple of weeks ago and I was just smitten with what she was doing.   I've played with rust dyeing before and have seen several of Velma's earlier experiments with composted cloth but never felt compelled to try anything this slow before.  The work she brought in on silk was just incredible - whole leaves and plant parts bundled in cloth and steeped for weeks left rich impressions reminiscent of solarized photography or x rays of flowers.  I hope to bundle up a few things myself later this week.  I have a nice sunny spot on my studio floor for batching bundles of slow cloth.  The timing is good for such an experiment, too.  I can't really do any other dyeing the way things are right now and this will drive me outdoors with the beast and the children to collect some goodies and walk away from the construction for a few minutes now and then. 

It's time to get ready for work.  I'm exhausted from insomnia and I'm hoping that I make it through the day happily.  I'll try to put up some new photos this weekend.
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