Vanishing Treasures

I could become seriously addicted to wireworking if I could put my beads down long enough. Swirling wire around a mandrel can be just as meditative as hours lost to peyote or herringbone. This sterling silver wrapped cabachon is a beautiful dark amazonite, accented with paler stones, hollow silver beads, and freshwater pearls. These stones were a real find, normally much too expensive, but acquired from Bead Happy’s recent going out of business sale.

Although not a regular customer (Bead Happy catered to stringers, not beadweavers), I hate to see this small, independent bead store close its doors. Normally, my quest for beads takes me an hour’s drive north through Atlanta traffic, but if I was embarking on a stringing project, or just looking for loose beads, I would take the back roads south, (where every house had an awning, and yard signs promised fresh brown eggs or free puppies to good homes), to the small town of Carrollton, and the historic town square Bead Happy called home. The owner, Jackie Smith, was never too busy to cite the history of the stones I was interested in and offer spot on creative advice.

As I drive through the streets of my town, it’s sad to see all the empty storefronts. Even our local Barnes and Noble will be closing its doors later this spring. Both stores are closing because their buildings went into foreclosure, seriously impacting my ability to linger (okay, loiter!) over beads and books, my two passions. Yes, I can always stock up on both by purchasing online, but I usually find myself willing to pay a little more for the experience of walking the aisles, and browsing the stacks or taking the beads over to the window to appreciate their color. With each store lost, we’re losing a piece of our community.

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