Over the years, I have found that people who bead and make jewelry have not necessarily learned how to make the best choices, when it comes to deciding what beads, clasps, other findings and stringing materials to include, and what not to include, in a piece. Typically, they have learned by following patterns in magazines, books or online, taking classes following step-by-step instructions, or purchasing kits. Here, all the choices have been made for them.
So, they have not learned what materials go together, and which do not. What techniques work well when, and which do not. How to buy something, and not. How to make smart, clear, workable choices about things which enhance appeal, things which enhance functionality, and the necessary trade-offs we need to make when trying to achieve both goals. They have an incomplete understanding of the creative marketplace, as they try to sell the pieces they make.
As a result, most jewelry makers all too often do not understand the intricacy of quality issues. They have not picked up enough information in the course of their learning, their doing, and their selling. Many people are uninformed about workable materials and strategies to make their pieces more durable, more drape-able, appropriately finished, and better able to move with the person, as the jewelry is worn over time.
I created this extensive Orientation to Beads & Jewelry Making course for all my students. I want my students to learn what questions to ask about the materials and techniques they are using, and to recognize the implications and consequences for they various answers they find.
-- Warren Feld, Jewelry Designer