by MaryAnn Carroll
The other day I needed some wire to complete a project so I ran off to a local chain supply store. I got what I needed, but while there, I decided to browse the bead aisles and check out the latest commercial supplies and the prices. I'll be honest, my main focus was ceramic.
I came upon some new styles that I hadn't seen before. I then checked out the price.... YUP! less than mine. Not as much as I expected though.... I looked at where they were made..... YUP! looks like it must be a factory that mass produces. I wanted to take a picture with my phone, but thought that might be
My guess is that there is a good chance that they were created under less than satisfactory conditions and that they would not be held to the standard that the majority of handmade bead artists hold themselves to.
For example, is there lead?
You certainly do not see a list of ingredients when you are buying beads. There are certain chemicals that have been proven to be dangerous to your health. Another great part about buying handmade is that you not only have a right to ask artists who create handmade if they are creating their product with that in mind, but that you can easily contact the artist as well. It would be pretty difficult to trace down the products that I was looking at and find the answers to those kinds of questions.
...there is quality. I don't know about you, but if I'm making a piece, I want it to look like the Queen of England would wear it to the royal wedding.... hmmmmmm......
Well.... okay.... that is a
...maybe just the young granddaughter of the Queen when she wants to be sportin' some style in her casual attire.
Back before I learned the differences in beads, I purchased many, many, many, many, many and even many more commercial beads than any one person should have. I went into my studio and dug through my stash. I thought that putting them side by side might be the best way to ask,
"What differences are so obvious that they just knocked you in the face, dropping you from your chair, leaving you to crawl painfully back up to the computer and say,
"Where the heck have I been?"
As for where they originated.....
....The commercial beads on the left are from unknown places.
Those on the right, however, are from (top to bottom)
Once you have recovered from your fall..... You know.... the one that you had just a couple of minutes ago..... feel free to add your thoughts about the beauty of handmade.
....and what kind of person would I be if I didn't say.......
~thank-you for creating/buying handmade with handmade~