Seeing as I'm doing so much bezelling of the same component at the moment it's giving me lots of opportunity to let my mind wander and to think about what I'm doing.
Ever since I first bezelled something (an agate slice back in 2002 or so) I have done them basically the same way, even if the stitch or beads have changed.
I always start in the middle, at the widest point, and decrease down the front and back to hold the piece in.
This has worked fine for me, and I know I'll continue to use it for certain pieces where it's more appropriate, but having now bezelled at least 50 chatons in the last few weeks I now do them a different way.
As I have taught bezelling over the years I have sometimes found students who have struggled to decrease down (even though it's usually just the bead size that's decreasing and not any actual decreasing stitches) and not been able to easily get the tension tight enough to hold the precious centre-piece in securely.
At the back of the work I personally never really worry as you can hide all sorts of decreasing and thread weaving there if needs be, but at the front you want it tight, secure and exact.
As I've been beading I got to pondering about maybe changing up how I do it and, instead of beginning in the centre, maybe starting right at the smallest part at the front, the piece I really want to be tight and secure.
So, whereas my usual method of bezelling these SS39 Swarovski chatons would be:
- Pick up 24 x size 15 Delicas and join into a circle
- Add 1 round using the same beads
- Using the tail add 1 round using size 15 seeds and pull tight
- Insert the crystal and bead 2 rounds of seed beads at the back to secure
- Weave extra around the front and back to secure if needed making sure to pull tight
I've now been doing this:
- Pick up 1 x size 15 Delica and 1 x size 15 seed. Repeat this pattern until I have 12 of each
- Join into a circle and thread all the way around pulling tight and finishing by exiting a Delica
- Add 2 rounds using Delicas
- Insert the crystal and add 2 rounds using seeds
What I've found is that rather than trying to decrease, weave around and pull tight towards the end, when all the beads are in place and it's harder to weave up and down through them and between them, I'm setting the tension, the smallest size I need and the tightness, right at the start when it's really easy to simply weave around that circle.
This is working perfectly for me as I keep on with the chatons and my beading them is much quicker and they're secured right from the start with no having to guess if they'll stay in and I know the beginning circle is the right size.
It might not sound much but I'm looking forward to using this slight difference when I myself bead and especially when I teach and see how much of a difference it makes to others.
So, if you've got some bezelling to do why not try starting right at the front and let me know how you get on and if it makes a difference to you and your work.