Do Your Beads Tell a Story?

Oct 6, 2011

As a writer, I love a good story, and my latest beading project has a great one behind it.

There are many stories behind the Storyteller Beaded necklace I created with a resin pendant I made myself and my favorite beading stitches.
When my sister and I were in junior high, one of our best friends was a girl named Gisella. We weren't in any of the same classes, and I'm even a little bit fuzzy on how we actually met, but Gisella and my sister and I were close friends for several years. We had sleepovers at her house where we told ghost stories and stayed up late watching MTV. We even tried to form a music group together with my sister playing guitar, me on the keyboards and Gisella's fabulous voice. Gisella and I snuck into New York City together to see my very first rock concert - a George Michael concert, with special guest B.B. King! (Even though we were some of the youngest people at the concert, we felt certain that we were probably the only ones there who were familiar with B.B. King and Lucille!)

As we grew up, we lost touch with Gisella and her brother. Then we re-connected again through Facebook in 2008 right after I had my son. Gisella was happy and working in New York City and around the world as a dancer, singer and entertainer. We chatted a few times, and during one conversation she asked for my address. Since it was so close to Christmas, I thought she was probably just going to send us a Christmas card.

I forgot all about that conversation until a few weeks later when there was a box waiting for me in my post office box. Opening the box with the unfamiliar return address, I was delighted to discover that it was packed full of beads from Gisella! Apparently, she had held on to these beads since our high school days, and when she saw that I was making beaded jewelry, she thought I could use the beads.

I was so touched that she took the time to send me these beads. The beautiful blue, violet and yellow beads were such a fabulous and unexpected Christmas present from a long-lost friend! I held on to them for a few years until I started playing with resin and making resin pendants, and when I created this pendant with a traditional hamsa symbol, I knew I had found the perfect beads to create this necklace.

Apart from the story behind the beads, there are other stories in this necklace. The hamsa is an ancient symbol that represents protection and peace among friends in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The eye in the center of the pendant represents protection against the evil eye or evil spirits. The spirals on the pewter pendants represent continuity - in this case, the continuing of a friendship. And the Hebrew character Shin on the back of the pendants is also a symbol for God. (Five points to the person who can tell me which character from an old science fiction show popularized the hand gesture for this symbol!)

Telling stories through your beaded jewelry projects can be a wonderful creative exercise. If you need some inspiration for more beautiful bead and mixed media jewelry projects, check out Cynthia Thornton's Enchanted Adornments. With beautiful instructions, creative bead and jewelry projects and inspiring stories, you're sure to find something to spark your creativity. And now, you can get this fabulous jewelry-making book as a digital eBook and download it to your desktop or laptop computer in just minutes. (I think that's about as close as you can get to instant gratification with your jewelry-making, don't you?) It's all the same great projects, instructions and inspiration as the hard copy, but in digital form!

Have you ever used your beadwork to tell a story? Share it here on the blog! Or better yet, post a picture of your beaded story in the Reader Photo Gallery. And if you like the beading project pictured here, you can find the pattern for the Storyteller Beaded necklace on the Beading Instructions blog!

Bead Happy,


P.S. The character who popularized the Shin hand gesture was Dr. Spock from Star Trek with his "Live Long and Prosper" Vulcan salute!

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fiberbead wrote
on Oct 7, 2011 8:17 AM

In my full time occupation, I am a librarian.  Of course, I had to respond to this wonderful article!  Rarely do we slow down to determine the story behind the object in our hands. Every piece created with a story is richer for the story we can tell! Thanks for such an enjoyable, well presented article.

SusanR@152 wrote
on Oct 7, 2011 5:18 PM

I really enjoyed this article. I read many of them, but this is the first I've responded to. I'm a member of the Bead Journal Project, so each month my project is a journaling of what that month has meant to me. Here are a couple of links to my blog where you can see and read how the beads tell a story:


The second, my July one, is particularly informative, mainly due to the colors I used. I have it posted on my blog. I hope what I've just done is appropriate, I don't know how to post a photo here, which is why I've put in links.

Happy beading.

tmagnani wrote
on Oct 7, 2011 9:41 PM

Beautiful necklace! I have beads that take me back at least 30 years.

Is the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still?

judi125 wrote
on Oct 8, 2011 9:04 AM

I love the necklace and the story!  Were you able to send a pic to Giselle?  And BTW, the character in Star Trek is Mr. Spock from Vulcan. Live long and prosper!

alicia.m wrote
on Oct 8, 2011 8:14 PM

Yes, my pieces always tell a story - I can't actually make anything unless I have something to say. I have just started a blog where I tell those stories too :)

I love both your necklace and the story - isn't it wonderful to find a lost friend?

chrissi@3 wrote
on Oct 9, 2011 12:02 PM

somehow I thought it was as a young teen I had a crush on him, just as sometimes now I fall in love with beads and designs with them

murielsbrew wrote
on Oct 9, 2011 11:43 PM

Posted to facebook