View Full Version : What size focal beads do you like?

04-01-2004, 12:12 PM
Holy smokes. I stay away for a couple weeks and you've already gotten your own forum! Yee Haw!

I have a question for you designers out there...what is the smallest focal you use? I know that focal can be a relative term but I've branched out to a new style that screams for focals to be made and I have no idea what that even means. Ha!

I've bought focals from Jen Geldard, Michael Barley, Sharon Peters and Tom Boylan and theirs just seem so substantial to me! Mine pales in size comparison and I don't know how I'd ever be able to support that much glass for that long without making my carpal tunnel come back!

I'll make what I love but I'm interested to know too if smaller focals are used. The first one I made is 1-1/2" x 3/4" and about 3/8" thick.

04-01-2004, 12:19 PM
Small focals have their place! Not everyone likes a bit focal. I make some pieces with tiny gemstone beads and a delicate looking focal. Often teenagers and smaller women love a petite looking necklace.

04-01-2004, 12:41 PM
I use small(ish) focals as well. I will see if I can post pix tonight or tomorrow (the start of my 4 day weekend). I might even torch this weekend - wooooohooooo!!!!!

04-01-2004, 12:46 PM
smaller focals are great for bracelets too :)

Wire Mania
04-01-2004, 12:52 PM
With the type of Bracelet that I make - I prefer smaller focals. I tend to use 2 focals and several spacers in a piece. (If your talking about the beads that you had in the show N tell a couple of days ago - I LOVED them...) Vicki

04-01-2004, 12:56 PM
Hi Lori!

I don't know if my answer will help. Maybe it will.

All the sizes I am interested in equally.

I have made and sold many delicate lampwork necklaces, with a single focal bead as small as 10mm. (pic below of delicate lampwork necklace with 12mm focal)

I also love the huge ones.

I think though, hot sellers for focals, might be in the 17-18mm range. Those are affordable, and large enough to have great interesting detail and versitality! (sp?)

TurtleBay Jewelry
04-01-2004, 01:52 PM
I use a variety of focal sizes; it all depends on how much wire work I'm doing around it. If it's a smaller focal, I can use some expansive free flowing wire around it to showcase it. If it's larger, I tend to let it speak for itself and minimalize the busy-ness of my wire around it. I agree. In my designs, all sizes have their place. I've used itty bitty beads as focals for my "Mini-Bangles" that I make for petite/small boned women.



04-01-2004, 06:34 PM
That's very interesting about the petite women's mini bangles you make Danielle! Do you have a pic of a mini-bangle? I will also go look on your website for them, I am just interested in seeing.

The necklace I posted above, the woman I made that for is very petite. (It's 16", and it lies well below her neckline) I think petite women like a tiny lampwork bead to wear sometimes. (OTOH, I have sold this style to full-figured women as well, same tiny focal, but longer cord: 18-20".)

TurtleBay Jewelry
04-01-2004, 07:27 PM
Bah, I only have one mini done atm. I sold most of them at Christmas time.

And the focal isn't a bead at all, it's a wire wrap. But, the other beads on here are tiny vintage German glass.

It's a cutie bangle

04-01-2004, 10:27 PM
Danielle, it's wonderful. That is perfect. (I did go find it on your website, and thanks for posting it here.)

04-02-2004, 01:20 AM
Thank you for your replies, everyone! You would think that if one (ME) makes the beads that one (ME) would know how they could be used. I just don't see the design possibilities and that's probably a good thing because I do NOT need another medium to spread into!

The reason I asked in the first place is because in the past I had called a bead a 'focal' in a set because I, personally, thought it could be and it was larger than the other beads. I had an eBay buyer tell me that they didn't think it was a focal because it wasn't big enough.

Now I see that the beads I listed in the show and tell could ALL be used as small focals, Vikki! I did make one that is larger though and haven't shown it yet. I much prefer making the size I showed. Thank you for the nice comment. I hope they go over well in sales too!

Alan Cross
04-02-2004, 02:54 AM
I started out small but seem to be getting bigger and bigger...I will need a bigger torch soon lol...
Alan :)

04-02-2004, 06:54 AM
Lori- you are making some really interesting beads! I just grabbed a buy it now because I'm infatuated with lentils at the moment, but am loving the different shapes. Stuck you on my favorites and I'll be lurking..... :)

04-02-2004, 10:14 AM
Lori- you are making some really interesting beads!

Wow, I will second that. I just went and peeked. Lori, your beads are very appealing as well as unique and well-executed!

04-02-2004, 10:29 AM
Thanks Susan and Donna!

You should see the new ones in person! I'm even surprising myself and that is such a great feeling!

04-04-2004, 05:14 AM
Lori, I wouldn't worry about what one or two customers say. To me, a focal bead isn't define by it's size, but's its ability to be the focal point of a design. I visited your eBay auctions; your Turquoise Trails drop focal is certain capable of carrying the design of neclace. If I had not just spent my money replenishing supplies, I'd be "Buying It Now."

I also see several of the individual beads in either the "Southwestern Dreaming" or "Rippling Plum Set" being focal beads. I'm so tempted to bid on them, because I can deconstruct the set and use the individual beads as focal beads for bracelets!


BTW, for someone who claims to have no design sense, you did a great job of putting those sets together with the silver beads!

04-04-2004, 01:35 PM
You should see the new ones in person! I'm even surprising myself and that is such a great feeling!

Good for you! Just took a peek at your auctions and am drooling over the Southwest Dreaming Set!! I love the freeform style and the colors and - well, everything!

As for focal size, I'm all over the place - just depends on what I'm making. I have a humongous CorinaBead (a Barley tribute) that's about 35mm x 32mm. She sent it wrapped as a pendant and I haven't done anything with it - other than fondle it. :evil: It would be perfect on a chain alone, either short or very long. I think this is probably as big as I'd want to go. ;)


edited to say: UGH wretched scanner glare! I'll be glad when I can afford a decent digital camera! :mad:

04-05-2004, 04:34 PM
I also like different sizes of focals. If I am making a bracelet, I like the focal to be a bit larger than the spacer beads, but not a whole lot. For those, I like medium small beads. I probablyb use a medium-large focal for necklaces. I want it to 'pop', but not to be so large that it looks strange with 8-10mm beads that will be the basis for the necklace. The gallery that sells most of my jewelry likes bigger things as many of the women that come in are apparently on the bigger side (that's HIM speaking, not me!) For bracelets, he wants the finished size 8-81/2 inches so I figure that the necklaces are a bit larger also and he has never complained.


04-05-2004, 10:38 PM
Thanks for asking this question Lori. I've been making more focals, but they too are just swollowed up by my Kim Affleck, Micheal Barley, Lori Copland, etc focals. I just keep telling myself, they need different sizes.


04-06-2004, 01:48 AM
Thank you again, everyone. I'm going to hit on multiple posts in this one reply here.

As for deconstructing my new sets, that is kind of what I was thinking as I put them together. I think they'd overwhelm someone if they were all in one bracelet...maybe a necklace but still, it wouldn't really need ALL of them to make the statement. Maybe I *do* have some design sense in there somewhere....what is happening to me !?! Thanks for the nice compliment, Amaris...the silver just kinda did itself. If I had to arrange more than one bead between my glass ones, forget it!

The artist focals that I bought are hanging together on my wall. They're so big that I can't imagine wearing them....I don't wear much jewelry anyway. I just like to look at them. I like the way you think, Lara. ;)