June 20th, 2009


My Grandmother's Beads

It's time to take out the beads again.

I have a collection of antique beads dating from the 19th century through the 1930's.

My grandmother had a jewelry store in Greenwich Village and she made jewelry from antique materials.  She had bought them mostly from an old man named Abe Brown who had been a bead wholesaler in the 20's and 30's.  She closed her store, The Waverly Shop, on Christopher St. in the Village when she was in her eighties and gave the beads to me.  (She was just a few doors away from the bar where Stonewall happened.)

When I first started out making jewelry, I worked with the beads a lot, then I started doing lost wax casting and packed them carefully away.  A year or so ago I decided to make an occasional necklace with them.  When I go through them, there is Victorian jet, handmade 19th century Chinese glass, swirly deco beads, lapis colored ceramics and endlessly more.  They definitely bring out the dragon in me.

Anyway tomorrow I'll take down some of my bead containers and make a necklace.  I like to start by choosing one kind of bead as a central theme, and then using others to make a color and shape flow.  I definitely gloat over them.

Old beads not only have color and texture but also a smell, and when I work with them I always vividly remember my grandmother and her shop.

Mood: Dragonish and Remembering