Neat vs Not Neat Beading
As you may or may not know, I'm a rather neat beader. When I'm working, I tend to keep all my bead shapes and colors in neat little piles on my bead mat. A typical example of my bead mat can be seen in the left portion of the photo below, which is what it looked like when I was weaving the third colorway of the Water Lily Windows bracelet. (For contrast, at the time, a rather famous beader was working from a bead soup on the tray to the right):
I have been known to bead messy on occasion though. The only photographic evidence of this is seen in the photo below. This is from when I wove a beaded version of an Arixtra molecule.
Saving Leftover Beads
Why am I talking about neat vs. not neat beading? Well, as a neat beader, it's relatively easy for me to sort out all of my leftover beads back into their little tubes and baggies. If I didn't naturally bead so neatly, I probably wouldn't take the time to sort them all out. I'd likely still save these beads though, perhaps as a "bead soup" for later reference into my colorway and bead choice habits.
I realized that, just because I'm a neat beader, that shouldn't stop me from saving a gram or two of leftover beads on my tray (unless the beads are too expensive, like crystals). I started doing this a few weeks ago, and I saved them in a narrow tube so that they would settle into thin, discrete layers for each project that I worked on, like an ice core. This way, I could return to this "bead core" later and see what kinds of beads and colors I was using at that time, the same way that scientists analyze ice cores from Antarctica to see what the climate looked like thousands of years ago.
This experiment has already yielded some preliminary results! In my current Bead Core, I can identify the beads that I used for that third colorway of the Water Lily Windows bracelet, two colorways of the Half Tila Technocluster beaded beads, and the beads I used for the basic dodecahedron beaded bead that accompanies the Half Tila Technocluster pattern. The latest beads that I added to the core are from a project that I just finished, and I hope to show pictures of it soon.
After I finish this bead core, I hope to start my next one in a longer tube such as a serological or titration pipette, as if my background in science wasn't clear enough already ;)