Hi there!

I'm Eni Oken, artist and author of hundreds of articles, tutorials and books in print and online. For over 30 years I've explored art, color theory, fantasy and ornamental design.

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Organizing projects and beads

I received the following email from M.D.:
"I remember clearly that I read somewhere you had back problems and had to stay in bed because of that. Nevertheless it didn't keep you from making jewelry. I am facing the same situation. I am not looking forward to it but the worst thing is ... I can't do without making jewelry! Do you have any ANY suggestions for me concerning how you organized your stuff so you could keep working? "

Here is an excerpt of my answer:
This is how I organize my beads: I have hundreds of tiny plastic containers to stash my beads (about 1 to 2 inches wide). Each type of bead goes into one little box. Then I organize all the boxes by bead color into shallow drawers.

This helped me when I was ill because it allowed me to select a bunch of tiny bead boxes I needed for a specific project, and put them with wire and pliers in a small plastic flat tray or tool box. This box went with me to bed. I literally made jewelry flat on my back.

After I recovered, I kept the habit: before starting a project, I place a few pliers, cutter, a few rolls of wire and bunch of tiny boxes of beads in a small plastic tool box. I can then take this with to the beach or to a coffee shop, or even to a waiting room, at a doctor's appt or car wash. It's a type of portability that I like very much.

Any tiny pieces of wire or leftover beads go straight into the tool box. When I'm ready to start a new project, just use the leftover wires from the previous project and switch the little tiny boxes for different ones. After two or three projects, I clean up the tool box, removing any wires too small to be used again.

As you can see, I also label each box with a sticker including the cost of each strand, the cost of an individual bead, day of purchase and supplier. That makes it also very easy to calculate the cost of a piece of jewelry.
You can find these tiny boxes at Gary Packaging.

Light and Shadow

Inside the tent during Burning Man