Yes, I have noticed beads have been in vogue this century; in fact probably for over a decade now. And I understand neither you nor I are in the income bracket that allows/requires wearing jewel-encrusted silk/satin gowns, so I agree with you that beadwork, along with hand-embroidery and handmade lace, is at the high end of luxurious garment embellishments. You would like beads in your handwoven shawl, you say...
The problem, for me, is, I have an ethical dilemma when it comes to beads. For one thing, for me, they have to be glass beads to withstand the chemical wear and tear of modern laundry. But glass beads break. So as a responsible 'manufacturer' of your cloud-soft shawl, I hesitate to embellish the selvedge with glass beads lest a tiny one breaks and caresses your face. I take great pains to make the shawl as lovely as your baby's cheeks so if you couldn't enjoy its feel against your face, my efforts will have been in vein.
None on the selvedge, then, but in the fringes? You can still get those fringes caught in the bedroom door as you rush downstairs to greet the babysitter, and crush a few beads. Your daughter can rush up to you, calling, "Mommy, Mommy, please, can we have ice cream tonight?" and again, that rogue broken bead in the fringe might brush against your daughter's face. What then?
What, you don't have a daughter, and you're extra careful with crushed beads, and you gently handwash your shawl as per my instructions, but when you squeeze the water after the final rinse, and if there is a broken bead, I don't want to be responsible.
Ah, you bring up the sparkle factor.
When you catch your own reflection in window at the Opera House and you see your shawl mysteriously sparkle, it can take your breath away just for a moment, and if you happen to catch your husband looking at your reflection, too, it makes the evening a bit more special, I know.
And when your eyes meet those of a tall stranger, three times, and on the third he raises his finger as if to tip an imaginary hat, you would like the last glimpse he has of you to be the starlight reflected in your shawl.
I concede; I like the sparkles, too. But please, please, be extra careful, because the shawls I weave are meant to make you glow, not cry.
Bead Gallery, Nelson, New Zealand, www.beads.co.nz - a real Aladdin's Cave.