The Disorganized Crafter

The Disorganized Crafter: Bead Shopping

There are other sites with comprehensive listings of bead stores and such, so why does this site need it's own? Because, due to the nature of big comprehensive lists, it is nearly impossible to make a logical grouping of stores by location other than by province/state and city/town. I have tried (as a tourist) to plan vacations using the internet and it can be exceedingly difficult to figure out what is actually in range of your destination: is Cupertino near LA or SF? is Olympia somewhere I can go and return from during the duration of a baseball game in Seattle? etc.

Thus, our list of shopping destinations is sorted by major metropolitan centres because that's usually how people travel (eg. While the actual destination may be Redwood City or Nepean, people will tell you that they are going to San Francisco or Ottawa because that's where the airport is and that's the most efficient way of communicating). This will, of course, cause some overlap, but that's how it is in life too. The range of locations should be limited to regular commuting distances which can be on the order of 1 - 1 1/2 hrs driving time. The farther a destination is from the stated nexus, the more special it should be, but these lists will also be different from the usual in that customers (not retailers) will be giving their opinion on the stores.

Lastly, a word about categorization:

Bead Stores
Bead stores sell, primarily, beads (of course), but also stringing supplies, findings and some tools.
Jewelry and Lapidary Supply Stores
Jewelry and lapidary supply stores tend to be one and the same. They usually sell the bigger, more specialized tools and findings that hobbyists and artisans past the beginning stage may want. They also should have precious metals (silver, gold, etc.) in wire, sheet, tube, casting grain, etc. Additionally, they should have stones (precious, semi-precious, and otherwise) in a greater variety of shapes and sizes than generally found in a bead store.
Button Stores
If you're thinking little white plastic disks, then you haven't been to a button store. Even a well stocked fabric store will have buttons that can begin to give you ideas. Buttons can be used for clasps, pendants, embellishments and centrepieces. Plus most of them have at least one hole in them, just like beads...
Lampworked Bead Supply Stores
Actually, I don't think I've ever seen a lampworked bead supply store, but teachers often sell supplies and the gas, torches, glass, and other paraphernalia are available in various shops. Also, stained glass stores have clued in to the sideline business they can do with lampworkers.
Non-Standard Supply Stores
The best bead containers are found in hardware stores? I should look for stringing material in a fish tackle store? I should ask my dentist for what? That's right, get off the beaded path for better bargains and just the right tools.
Book Stores
Bookstores with a decent craft section are not always easy to find, but we like to point out the good ones.




British Columbia

United States