Does this book spark joy?

Spring and summer travels have kept me away from my studio and this blog space for way too long! On one of my many trips, I picked up Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, to read on a five-hour flight. I was itching to try her approach to organizing, but had to wait a full month until I was home more than 48 hours to put her ideas to work.

Kondo’s theory, in a nutshell, is that if we keep only those things that "spark joy," we’ll declutter our lives and maybe even find our true passions. Her book is a quick and engaging read, and, after kondo-ing (this book is so popular that might actually be a word now!) all our closets, the pantry, the kitchen and laundry, I took a day to marvel at the difference I’d made on the first floor. Now it was time to head upstairs to my studio.

If you’re a beader, you know we can take simple disorganization to a whole new level of chaos!  Keeping a tidy beadroom is way lower on our priority scale than learning a new stitch or incorporating a new bead shape into an old pattern. And who wants to move things about the studio when there are new color combinations to try and a bead challenge looms on the calendar?

I turned the calendar to the wall and started with my books. Kondo advises grabbing them all off their shelves and putting them on the floor.

Five years worth of accumulated beading and metalworking books

Plus all my magazines, notebooks and binders of inspiration

Once the books are piled, you take each one in your hand and decide whether it will be kept or discarded. The criterion for keeping is whether it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it. Flipping through the book, in Kondo's judgment, leads to unnecessary questions and second guessing. Kondo keeps her own library to about 30 volumes, so the challenge I gave myself was to pare my collection down to 30 (or fewer) beading books that not only sparked joy, but also fit my current design aesthetic. And here is my now-tidy bookshelf:

For the study of Design:
The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, Margie Deeb

Jewelry Designs from Nature, Heather Powers
The Jewelry Maker’s Design Book: an Alchemy of Objects, Deryn Mentock
Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel                                                             

For technique:

Creative Designs Using Shaped Beads, Anna Elizabeth Draeger

Shaped Beadwork, by Diane Fitzgerald
Contemporary Geometric Beadwork by Kate McKinnon
Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher (if I could only have one beading book, this would be it.)
Micro-Macrame Jewelry by Joan Babcock
Woven Bead and Wire Jewelry by Dallas Lovett
Dimensional Bead Embroidery by Jamie Cloud Eakin
The Beaded Sphere by Judy Walker

For inspiration and because I never tire of reading and rereading them:

Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance; Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery; 
Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence; Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs and Seed Bead Fusion; 
Maggie Roschyk’s Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry; The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli 
and Sherry Serafini;  Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork & Beyond; 
and Embroidered Jewellery by Shirley Anne Sherris (this book never fails to inspire).

Now, to work this same magic on my bead stash!