Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How Long Does it Take to Make a Bead?

How long does it take to make a bead?
This is a question I am asked often when I am selling my work at a show. It is difficult to answer simply. It depends on the style and the amount of detail in a particular bead.

However, at a recent show I had a customer, who has just begun to learn the process of lampworking. She called her husband over and explained in detail how I make one of my bejeweled beads.

She and I began talking and she brought up the point of how people often ask how long it takes to make a bead. She informed me that this is the wrong question to ask. The question should be, "How many YEARS did it take to get to the point that you can make this bead?"

I have been thinking about that statement and have come to realize how absolutely right on topic this statement is. I have been lampworking for more than 5 years now. It took me four years to develop the stringer control necessary to place so many dots in just the right spot to create the bejeweled beads that I consider good enough to sell. I continue to work on my stringer control because I love to draw on beads, as in my OM beads, enameled hearts, or my butterfly beads. Some days the control is better than others, so the skill is still developing.

My Fire Diva friend, Lauren of Maybeads wrote a blog which inspired me to write my story. Stop by Lauren's blog to see some of her very first beads.


  1. I think that's an excellent point that gets overlooked. I used to be consumed with how long it took me to make a bead, but that isn't the point at all. Some are fairly quick because I've practiced that technique over and over. And some take a lot longer because the style could be new to me, but also because of the attention to detail that's involved. But every bead you make has been affected by the previous beads and how much practice you've put into those. It's a really interesting way to look at it, Ema. And wow - you use stringer to make all those tiny dots? That is some amazing control!

  2. Thanks Lauren. This is something I hadn't given a whole lot of thought to until it was pointed out to me. A very good point indeed!! Although we wouldn't want to charge a customer for our learning curve we do have a great deal of time (among other things) invested in this process.

  3. You are soo right! It can annoy me, this question about time to make a bead as I feel the answer I'm giving seems to make the art less worth. But all the beads I've done for practice, they should be counted into the bead in front of you. The sellable one!

    And the beads I make a lot. I can be pretty quick now, but when I started out...!

    I always contemplate this while trying to set a price for a bead. It's hard to know how to count!

  4. Well your stringer technique must be pretty good the dots on that first pictured Bead are so neat and precise wow :-)


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