Have you ever heard the saying that beading and beads are addictive? I wasn’t really warned when I got into the bead business, so the bead bug bit me as it has done to many others. (Read our About Us blog post to learn more about exactly how that happened...) As I’ve learned more about this world of beading, I’ve seen the obsession take many forms. One person may specialize in making beads via lampwork (the sample shown here is lampwork by DSG beads on Etsy.com) or carving; another will learn all types of beading: bead weaving, pearl weaving, beaded bags, beaded clothes, earrings, necklaces, and chakra pieces. Many discover the big bead shows such as those in Tucson, Chicago and elsewhere. Some live in remote towns and villages and have to depend on ordering through the mail and over the internet, in order to expand their inventory. Many collect with no intent to sell or even make jewelry. Here are some of the signs that you may be a bead addict:
1. You bead or collect or organize or write about beads every day.
2. You buy beads in bulk and by the gross.
3. You’ve chosen your favorite organizers – plastic stackable ones, rolling cases, or tall cabinets with skinny drawers, and you own several.
4. You spend more on beads than on clothes.
5. You point to volume discount sales as justification for all you spend on beads.
6. You start fantasizing about making your own beads.
7. You read everything you can get your hands on about beads and beading.
8. You spend hours searching multiple stores trying to find either new types or your old favorite types, and when you’re done you don’t know where the time went.
9. You buy chain and bead wire by the spool or cone.
10. You start thinking about owning your own bead shop.
Why is it that beads and beading are addictive to so many? I believe the answer is serious and complex. Civilization has a long history of making and using beads, for art, decoration, ceremony, currency, and more – so you’re in good company if this obsession suits you. And there is no lack of inspiration to keep you intrigued; artists from around the world continually make and share their stunning work with beaders, collectors, jewelers, and all who admire fine workmanship. In The Illustrated Bead Bible, Theresa Geary makes the observation that as addictions go, this is a fairly non-destructive one – and one that can be treated by rationalizing that one needs to acquire more beads for one’s health and well-being, for one’s family, and one’s friends. Geary also advises those who feel they may suffer from this condition to consult with their local bead store, where they will likely be reassured that they have come to the right place. What do you think the reason for this addiction is? Please share your own addiction theories and/or stories with us here by commenting below, as we continue our obsessive discussions on this beautiful subject.