Please click on the image above to find out more about the SRA program!
So, you may have seen the SRA logo shown above cropping up all over the place recently and wondered what the heck it's all about. If you click on the logo you'll get just about the best explanation you can find and even better than what I can give you so I recommend you check it out there first and if you still have questions I'd be more than happy to answer them for you!
Over the last several months (maybe even longer!) there has been a huge controversy brewing in the land of lampworkers over the misrepresentation by one vendor of the type and quality of beads being sold. I'm writing about this because I feel that it is important for you, as a potential buyer of lampworked beads, to understand what there is out there and what you should be on the lookout for.
First, let me say that I do believe there is a market for lampwork beads of all qualities and prices. Let's face it....not everyone out there is creating works of art with one-of-a-kind beads that cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. What is of crucial importance for me, as a seller, is to ensure that you, as a buyer, are aware of what it is you're buying.
Having said that, let's consider what you're getting when you buy beads from a self-representing artist:
- handmade beads made by one individual
- beads that are properly annealed for strength and durability
- bead holes that are smooth without any rough edges
- bead holes that are clean and free of bead release
- an unconditional guarantee from the artist regarding breakage
When you buy from a seller who is selling mass produced/imported beads you're probably getting:
- beads that are made overseas by workers working in less than ideal conditions
- beads that are most likely NOT annealed and very likely to break
- beads that do NOT have the bead release cleaned out of them
- no guarantee from the seller as to the quality of the beads
- no guarantee that you will get your money back if the beads DO break
These are just a few of the major points I think are important for you to know as a consumer. I'm not saying that you should only buy beads made by self-representing artists (well...that would be nice!) but simply be educated about what you're getting and who you're getting it from.
Without naming names there is a seller on Ebay who has hundreds and hundreds of listings for lampworked beads claiming that they are not mass produced but rather quality artisan made beads. I urge you to look at the feedback for this seller and use your own good judgement to determine whether or not these are indeed artisan beads that meet some of the basic criteria I listed above.
This seller, I know for a fact, has/is used/using images stolen from many reputable, self-representing artists to falsely advertise and represent their own beads. Consider that you may be doing business with a vendor who knowingly misrepresents the origin and quality of the products he/she sells using images stolen from other hardworking, honest, self-representing artists.
There is a place for all types of beads and sellers of beads and as always, caveat emptor! Know what you're buying and who you're buying it from. It's like if you go to the boutique and buy a genuine Louis Vuitton you KNOW you're getting the real deal....if you're really on the ball and know your Louis you might still get the real thing somewhere else BUT, if you take your chances and don't do your homework beforehand you may think you're getting a real Louis but most likely you're getting a dud. Do your homework and get the real deal!
My $0.02 worth :)