Behold my first effort in bead craft. It's river jasper, and the pendant is a real carob leaf plated with copper. OK, it's not the crown jewels, but it's a beginning.
The bead shop is in an old house, and the windows are filled with colorful and exotic things. The rooms are bursting with every kind of stone, glass, wooden and bone bead, along with everything needed to turn them into wearable whatevers. Cards above the bins tell the lore of each stone in hand-done calligraphy. (This is trouble, as I am a complete sucker for a story.) Interspersed with the beads are intriguing, New-Age-y items like singing bowls and crystals.
My first time in the shop was a week ago, a rare day off that was all mine to spend. I sorted and sifted the goodies for a half hour or so, striking up an acquaintance with Doug, the owner. Doug is about 60, I'd say, with laugh lines, twinkly eyes and sparse grey hair. He sits under a sign put up by his wife: "Doug is hard of hearing. Feel free to yell at him. I do it all the time." I like her already.
Before long, Doug had me seated in a sunny room stringing a bowlful of beads and wondering why I never tried this before. The process is strangely relaxing. There is the beauty of the material, the smoothness of the beads and wire. The work falls quickly into a rhythm, hypnotic and calming. Doug says that ancient words for beading were synonymous with meditation. All I know is that it was the best morning I've had in years. And when it was done, I wore something that spoke to me of that fine, clear autumn day.
Next time: jade. I love jade.