Evolving the “Round” Bead

After many months of making pressed button beads, I began to find interest in the standard round bead again. Although seemingly simplistic in it’s form, I found the shape to be one of the most intimidating as I had always struggled with consistency in size and party perfect bead holes.


If I were to work in rounds, I knew that it would take a huge commitment on my part. Finding creative ways to express myself via a round bead wasn’t the only challenge that I was up against. My main focus was being able to get a PERFECTLY sized round bead without effort. I wanted to nail the size down to a fraction of a millimeter and I knew that the only way to do so would be to practice. . Practice. . .PRACTICE!!



While I have yet to achieve my goal, I have found that my bead sizes are becoming much more consistent within a set. . .Nice and round with smooth bead holes. I won’t use the word “puckered” as a description of the holes because really that concept doesn’t fly in my round bead work. Due to all of the surface décor that I pack on to my beads, I must start off with somewhat of an oval shape. The oval is followed by series of dots, plunges and draped stringers of reactive glasses and goldstone.


Somewhere along the line, my little round beads began to evolve into something a bit more intricate. All of my bead sets looked similar, even though the color combinations varied. I suppose for some that’s a good thing, but it put me into a state of boredom and that’s when I knew that I needed to evolve the designs again. Sometimes I am amazed by the amount of pressure that we allow ourselves to endure for the sake of our tiny little pieces of glass art.



This week, I started working on some of my ideas in how to achieve a new look for my rounds. Days of frustration would follow because I had several new glasses that I hadn’t used before. Playing “get to know ya” with the new colors slowed me down a bit but by mid week, I had made two new sets that I really liked. . . “Marie Antoinette” and “Terrflora”. While they are still similar to their not so distant relatives, they do have a bit of a fresh look thanks to the tiny plunged flowers and fresh new color combinations.


Thursday afternoon found me working with yet another new glass. A color very similar to ivory, but more yellowish in tone and much stiffer than standard ivory. The color is Vetrofond “Yellow Ice” and I am absolutely excited by this new color, not only for it’s rigidness but also for it’s more gentle reaction to silvered glasses. Standard ivory tends to “muck up” my base glass with black lines and webbing that I don’t want. “Yellow Ice” offers a more subtle reaction. For example, when worked very hot as a base glass with Terra applied to the surface, the end result is a look similar to that of aged porcelain.


As I was making the set “Jewels of the Nile”, I decided to add a couple of little snakes to two of the beads to give them more of an Egyptian flavor. . . Although I ended up spinning this idea into something a bit different, I really like the cultural feel of this set of experimental rounds!!

Lydia Muell is a glass bead maker who blogs in her studio from Lexington, NC. For more information please visit here website at ashtonjewels.com.

2 Responses to “Evolving the “Round” Bead”

  1. nancysellsglass Says:

    They’re beautiful Lydia!!!

  2. Ellen Says:

    I’d say you’ve gotten the hang of the round bead, Lydia.

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