My first exposure to beads was last April, when Dan’s wonderfully creative sister, Kathy, invited her sisters and sisters-in-law to help celebrate her birthday with a week’s vacation in Florida. After dinner on our second night, she brought out a curiously large plastic container, and opened it on the dining room table. I didn’t have a word for it then, but it was, I now know, her bead stash. She generously shared the entire contents with everyone, encouraging us to dig in and create.
To say that I was out of my element is an understatement. At the time, I owned a handful of necklaces, two bracelets and one pair of French earwires my sister had given me ten years ago that I held onto in case I ever discovered how to convert them to clips. Jewelry was just not on my radar screen.
While pliers were passed from hand to hand and wrapped loops were being formed around the table, I found myself drawn to the beads themselves. I loved the textures and the colors – the feel of those beads in my hands. I spent the first few nights organizing Kathy’s stash by size and color while everyone else assembled small piles of wearable treasures. By the end of our vacation, I did manage to string together a small strand of tiger eye chips, Picasso beads and 3mm rounds.
Within a week of returning home, I headed to my local bead store to add some additional strands to the bracelet I started in Florida. Although I enjoyed my first attempt at stringing beads, I really fell in love with seed beads, those tiny, round glass beads in thousands of colors and finishes, and a passion for off-loom weaving was born.
I started with a simple peyote piece and am working through Carol Cypher’s amazing volume, Mastering Beadwork. Right angle weave, netting, herringbone, dutch spiral...I have yet to meet a stitch I don’t love. My latest project was Melanie Doerman’s Reversible Bracelet, an embellished variation of RAW.
As we start a new year, I encourage you to learn something brand new. Something you've always been interested in or something totally out of your comfort zone. You never know, maybe a new passion is on the horizon.