Wednesday 3 December 2014

End-of-day Beads

I have long been fascinated by the idea of end-of-day beads. 

"End of day" glass was any item made by the glassworkers in their own time at the end of the day using up the remaining molten glass in the pots. It therefore tended to be a mixture of all sorts of colours."

Glass Encyclopaedia

I love the idea of these serendipitous items - of inviting chance to take an active role in one's designs. Accidental beauty. I also like the idea of a quiet ritual; taking time at the end of the day to create something a little different - not without direction exactly, but with certain choices already made for you. And of course, at the core is an ethos of economy - making use of the scraps that your day's work has produced. Economical and practical as well as artistic. Upcycling has been around for longer than we imagine! 

Since starting to make my own handwoven beads, the idea of end-of-day beads has been on my mind. It's safe to say that I am NOT a tidy worker. Or a tidy anything for that matter! I often always end up with a colourful pile of mixed seed beads  - different colours, finishes and even sizes - when I've been stitching with beads. Not only messy, but also not the most economical way to work. I have little piles on pretty much every surface that I ever work on. 

So the other day, I decided to put the end-of-day idea into practice. I have a regular bead soup going on my current most-used bead tray, and the idea of sorting and separating all the different colours and finishes really didn't, taking a little time to create for its own sake, I made a pair of beads with my end-of-day soup. 

I am really quite pleased with how these turned out. Of course, whilst it would be a lovely idea that whatever was created in this manner would turn out to be full of beauty, the truth is that they very easily could turn out to be very ugly and unusable! But these handwoven beads, created from days' worth of left-overs, are like tiny, handmade carnivals. Maybe it's because the beads are so small and the stitches so regular, but the colours work together, creating the right atmosphere, somehow. 

These stunning handmade beads from Donna Millard are examples of how a contemporary lampwork artist has interpreted this old glass--working tradition

...and some more traditional end-of-day beads, from Big Bead Little Bead:

What do you think of this glass-working tradition? Does it appeal to you? 


swisssidejewelleryetc said...

I LOVE your end of day beads - they are fab and so colourful, they would brighten up any outfit and go with a lot of things too. Waste not want not!!

swisssidejewelleryetc said...
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Mary Harding said...

What a great post Rebecca!! I had not heard of this concept!! But I have often used the end of the glazing day colors to glaze my tiny hearts or other small pieces that I have. And sometimes pendants as well. Some of my most exciting color combos have been "end of the day" creations. I like knowing a name for this. Thanks so much for this idea sharing your lovely and brightly colored beads and those of others as well.

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

These are very pretty, Rebecca :) Polymer clay artists often do this with "scrap" clay... one well-known method is the Natasha bead :)

Unknown said...

I am a huge supporter of Beads of Courage, an organization that gives very sick kids a bead to honor every needle stick, every x-ray, every milestone in their courageous journeys. I make Beads of Courage with all of my scrap clay. I often add bits of magenta or lime to jazz it up if the beads are going to be "dull". I have sent in 24 pounds of BOC already and have four pounds in my punch bowl. I'll mail them off when it is full. Any bead artist can contribute beads. Go to and click on "artists". Your end of day beads would bring joy to very sick kids!

Claire Lockwood said...

I have some of those BBLB end-of-day tubes!; they came to mind as soon as I saw your title. I LOVE your end-of-day beaded beads - me wants!

Unknown said...

I love this concept. Your end of the day beaded beads turned out beautifully!

lynsey said...

They have come out beautifully Rebecca, I love the colours, and as you say they work so well together. It is definitely an interesting concept. I work in a very ordered way when I'm beading, If I am using multiple colours I tend to keep them very separated, (in fact it drives the control freak in crazy if a rogue bead strays into another pile ha ha), but perhaps I should be more open to it, I'm always saying you just never know where inspiration will come from, perhaps I will stumble upon a happy accident.


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