When I moved into my neighborhood seven years ago I knew it was going to take extreme measures to break the ice with my neighbors. At first meeting, it seemed like we had nothing in common. From politics and religion to level of household cleanliness and meal planning it seemed like we lived in different universes. An illustration: Shortly after we’d moved into our house a bunch of the neighbors invited me to a holiday cookie-baking party. I envisioned a gathering long on chatter, music, and vino and short on anything involving flour. What I walked into was extreme busyness, absolute silence, and lots of hot mitts, aprons, and yes, a fine mist of flour hovering in the air. One of them was even wearing a hairnet!
We laugh now about the deer-in-the-headlights look I had on my face when I walked in the door. And I’ll have to say, it’s great fun to still tease them about how intense they were with their mad baking. I’m grateful, because despite our extreme differences we’ve become quite a posse.
How did I finally break the ice? Well, beads of course! After the scary cookie-baking episode, I waited a few months and invited them to my place for a bead party. I set up work stations at my kitchen table. Each station included some beading wire, crimps, and a clasp, and I spread a bunch of my beads out in the center of the table for them to pick from. I quickly taught them how to crimp, then I let them have at it. There’s really nothing like a table full of beads to get people chattering.
Bead parties are just one way to spread the love with beads. Here are four more:
Subscribe: Buy a friend who’s new to beading a subscription to your favorite bead magazine. This way, each issue you can share ideas on how you’re going to tackle the projects, talk about the profiled artists, kibitz about featured products, and plan which bead show you are going to sneak to next. There are lots of great beading magazines out there, but I’ll say I’m partial to Beadwork, since I’m the founding editor. If you’re looking for a rich, in-depth beading magazine with all the bells and whistles, subscribe to Beadwork magazine.
BIP: Bead in Public! You can’t believe how many people I’ve turned onto beading this way.
Volunteer: Bring in a bucket of cheap plastic and wood beads and pipe cleaners to a local preschool, and let the kids go wild. They’ll build all types of jewelry, but will also surprise you with their comments and questions. For older kids, bring needle and thread and seed beads. Equally cheap, equally satisfying for all.
Give beaded gifts: When you give a beaded gift, you not only thrill the receiver, but feel the love inside, too. Bracelets, necklaces, and earrings are always favorites, but don’t forget home décor! The holidays are coming up, so why not try one of these cute projects from the Beading Daily store?
How do you share your love of beading? Share your stories and tips right here.
Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!