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Be honest, we’ve all had a fascination with beady things at some point. From the age of 2 when we tried desperately to insert one up our nose, to that precious age pebble-hunting on the beach (see article on the valuable ‘sea-glass’), to the rattle of marbles in pockets as the boys set out to school, there’s something alluring about things small and glinting, smooth and shining, or boldly bright, winking and round in our hands.
Beads are the most versatile of all craft materials, rattling satisfyingly in our hand as we string them on delicate structures of wire, hang them on twine round the necks of our children, or embroider them onto bright tunics or sultry satin curtains. And you really can make a bead out of anything: an exceptionally valuable material for beads is sea glass, made by the sea grinding rocks against the shards of glass dumped there by centuries of inappropriate waste disposal.
It’s perhaps the one saving grace from an unpleasant and environmentally reprehensible practice, and one of the things that is so beautiful about this craft. Whether they’re made from glass, plastic, wood, or more exotic materials such as tagua (a kind of nut), precious and semi-precious stone, metal, acrylic, anything you care to name, you can turn it into a bead. Through beading, you can turn an old tire into a piece of jewellery.
It is the most creative and accessible form of recycling around. It’s easy to see why editor and founder of Bead magazine, Jean Power, brims with such enthusiasm for her craft. And that enthusiasm is what makes Bead magazine not only informative and inspiring, but a real pleasure to read.