Bead fairies (AKA bead angles) are often the life line of a designer. They are eager, willing, and a good bead fairy is worth her weight in gold.
But bead fairies can be bead ghouls in disguise.
For me, the first time I used bead fairies was with Masterpieces for Beadwork. Oh how I agonized over it. I so much preferred doing my own work, catching my own mistakes! How could I rely on someone else to my decisions as to whether or not the pattern was right? I had no worries if the ladies I chose were competent, talented beaders, their work showed that talent without a doubt. But to make decisions on my behalf such as a color not working, was a big leap. How could I expect them to know what I intended?
So with a big deep breath and a major leap of faith, I farmed out some of the patterns in this book for them to do. And what a job they did!! I was so THRILLED!!! I could not have done better myself! They did a job much better than I hoped for!
A few years later, I once again made this huge leap of faith. This time the job was HUGE! It was for the first of my Tapestry series Knights in Shining Armor. I chose 4 ladies to help. They would make both the tapestry and the accompanying piece. In exchange, I paid them cash, a bunch of books that they could sell or give away, and some extra gifts for their help. The project took 3-4 months to do. And once again, these ladies blew me away with their talent. They caught mistakes, and their own personal touches added so much to the pieces.
I set out to do more tapestries, several of my fairies jumped at the chance to do more, and some saw me through all 5 of my tapestry series. They enjoyed the task, and seemed to be happy with my “payment”. I am forever grateful for the help and talent they offered me.
But not all goes well with bead fairies. Sometimes, there are bead ghouls. Luckily for me, I have had only one such experience. But I have heard of many others.
Bead Ghouls often just do not uphold their side of the “deal”. They have their pattern, they agreed to the project, and the project is never done. Life does happen, and things do get in the way, and change the best of intentions. If the would be fairy would be honest, we could understand, and make adjustments. But when she makes no attempt at letting the designer know that she can no longer meet her obligation, then it can be a huge problem for a designer who has to meet a deadline.
In my case, I doubt my ghoul ever began the project. She got upset that I never sent her gifts or cards in the mail to thank her for beading for me (every week, before the project was even finished). Never mind the fact that I probably paid more for beading this project than any designer ever offered her fairies (once the project was finished). She sent me several emails stating that I was terrible to work for because I didn’t send her weekly emails thanking her, or some other communication (I am a hands-off kind of “manager” and do no like micromanaging).
I asked to see her progress (send me a jpg of how its coming along). None was forthcoming. Long story short, I “fired” her.
There are many different arrangements that designers have with their fairies. Some just ask for the fairy to do the project and all the fairy gets is a free pattern. Some provide the beads for the fairies to work with, and some provide a copy of the publication that the project is in.
I have always felt that since the fairy has helped me to create something that I would profit from, she too should be “paid” for her efforts. The payment varies with the size of the project, and can take various forms, not necessarily in dollars. But a good fairy is indispensable, and hopefully is a treat, and not a trick!!
PS. To all the ladies who were my fairies, I am STILL in awe of the work you did for me, I am STILL so grateful for all the hard work you did. You are the best there is!!