I don’t use as many beads in my work these days as I once did, but I suspect that I’ll start using more in the near future. These things go in cycles and the effect of beads is something that I use when I need the three dimensional sparkle and shimmer. I’m not one for all-over glitziness, so I don’t tend to put hours of beading into everything I do.
That said, I *do* use them and have a small, but growing collection.
Most of my beads I get locally, because, frankly, I hate ordering supplies online and I find that colours aren’t always a good match on the screen for the real-life objects. Plus shipping to Newfoundland is often just not worth it, unless the items in question are exactly what is called for.
My beads come from:
$$ (but good quality) Fashionable Fabrics – Located in Mount Pearl, they have a great selection of Japanese seed beads. For those of you who don’t know beads, the Japanese ones are generally more regular and the holes are more consistent in size. What this means is that you don’t have to throw as many out because the needle won’t go through. FF also has a fabulous selection of metalic embroidery threads.
$ (quality variable)Walmart – Yes, believe it or not, I do buy from Walmart (located everywhere). Not only do they have a pretty good selection, but their prices are reasonable for lower and middle quality stuff. If you know what you’re looking for and at, they’re not half bad. They also have really good white cotton sheeting for fabric painting and are open until 10. Don’t bother with their sewing machine needles, though!
$$$ (quality highly variable) Michael’s – Located in St. John’s in the Aberdeen Avenue Power Centre (who comes up with these names???), Michael’s has a lot of beads, reasonable selection and silly prices. I only shop there when I can’t get what I need elsewhere, as they overcharge for just about everything (except for those few cheap things that they use as customer draws, to lure you in). Prepare to spend at least $7-8 for a package of so-so beads. They do have lots of other stuff, too, for those looking for crafting supplies from other fields that might be useful. Selection in other areas highly variable. Lots of scrapbooking stuff, but mediocre doll and dollhouse making stuff (for instance). No fabric to speak of.