I have often heard/read discussions about selling beadwork. Since many of these conversations are from beaders who do bead embroidery, invariably the discussion leads to comments that the large complicated collar style pieces are slow to sell and smaller pieces are needed in a booth. Those large pieces bring in the “eyes” but the smaller pieces (typically pendants) are the ones with much more sales velocity. This isn’t surprising, the cost is less and the style is more familiar to everyone.
Then this leads to several people complaining that they don’t like doing these smaller pieces, they are bored, not challenged, or it is not legitimate artist expression.
Recently I came into a situation where I needed to make approximately 30 pendants, on a chain. My reaction? Thrilled! I have found that one of the best ways to test (and best) your skills as a designer is to challenge yourself. Working on a limited scale is a fabulous test. I’m not spending hours and hours on one design. I get to explore color schemes. I get to work with different materials. Get an idea while working on one piece? Great! Let it flow to the next. Keep it interesting by exploring lots of different techniques.
One thing I’ve observed is that all beaders have tendencies to do the same thing in their designs. That is human nature, to do what you are comfortable with. However, this does limit you as a designer (always a peyote bezel, always a sunshine-raw-brickstitch edge). Instead, I like to have many different techniques to choose from so that I’m challenged in my execution and I get the best design suited for that particular focal. For example, so many people who do bead embroidery ALWAYS do a peyote bezel. I find this boring. And, it actually annoys me when I see that bezel used when it is clearly a bad choice (used on a cameo and covers the hair or other parts of the design). Or, when the focal is soooo gorgeous (and expensive) and it is half covered. The edge is another area of interest for me. The edge treatment can be just there, or you can use it as an integral part of the design.
So, here are some I’ve done. It includes lots of different edge treatments, and different bezels. I do have a tendency to choose the plain/standard bezel technique. But I don’t use it by rote, it is after reviewing all of my possibilities. However, when I have a focal that I love and don’t want to cover but want to simply and beautifully frame, then that is my choice.