Monday, January 4, 2010

Pre-New Years Bead Celebration

Glass beads haven't been my "thing" for a few years now, so I haven't had much reason to go to 37th Street to buy beads, but since I started on the kumihimo, I've found a need for certain types of glass - drops and larger seed-type beads, and 37th Stree is really the best place for these. Not only are they cheaper, but the selection is head and shoulders above anything that I'd find in a retail store or on line, because I can buy in quantity.

Since it was a holiday week, I elected - despite the consternantion of MDF Val - to drive in. Thanks to the coupons at CentralParking.Com ($20 for 6 hours, including tax), it was actually cheaper for the two instead of taking the train. I parked on 38th, between Broadway and 7th, and it was a short walk to bead paradise.

Although the ever wonderful Crafts & Creations (a/k/a Amola, a/k/a Crafts and Cretins) has been gone for nearly half a decade, there are still treasure to be found - and in the old stores (the ones run by 3rd and 4th generation Jews) it's definitely like digging for buried treasure. There are a bunch of newer stores, run mostly by Chinese - legitimately wholesale outfits (as opposed to the dreck-filled retail outfits on 6th Avenue, close to Bryant Park, north of M&J), and while quality and price are reasonable, the shops are too clean, too bright, almost too homogeneous to be fun.

Val and I did spend some time in Stone International - mostly perusing the pearls. She was looking for really great silver/gray coin pearls, and found some good ones that didn't look "gloppy", while I bought mostly copper beads, some interesting carved quartz crystal, smallish pyrite coins, and of course, some pearls.

From there, we went into Margola. They were packing up for Tucson, so the place was even more of a wreak. V got a lot of bigger beads - interesting color Czech fire polish, while I concentrated on the seeds. I ended up buying some duplicates of beads I bought last October, when we made a flying visit after the Whole Bead Show (that will teach me to put beads away in the wrong places), but I also found 11 and 15 Czech charlottes in great iris colors. It seemed to take forever to check out (no pun intended), and when we finally walked out, it was close to 1pm and V was starving and my headache was back with a vengence.

We had lunch at a very expensive steakhouse ($7.50 for 2 glasses of fountain-dispensed club soda), and then it was on to York Beads.

I haven't been in York since before the turn of the last decade - I made a trip there just before my eBay selling days crashed and burned and I packed it all away for nearly 7 years. The store has changed quite a bit - it's nearly tripled in size (they took space from the first floor storage), a much greater emphasis on direct sales, and the basement's all cleaned up. But you still have to buy most stuff in quantity - quarter-masses and the like, but there's also bins of strands for $1-$3 on the floor. Although if you looked at the loot I brought home, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of self restraint - I actually did hold back. No round glass beads (although there were many luscious pink opal glass strands I could have bought), no flower beads, no leaf beads. Just drops and daggers and farfalle beads.

Now, I've got to get some projects going - especially the one commissioned - a kumi-rope of hematite, which I'll use the hematite-like glass drops to create a square rope.

And something in orange and perhaps some pink. Just to bring a little sunshine into the depths of winter.

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