Hi, my name is Lita and I am a beadaholic.
I've been beading for nearly twenty years (argh!!!!!!). I started with stone and crystal in the late 1980's, then discovered vintage glass. Although I occassionally sold pieces at shows and small craft stores, most of my work was either commissions from friends and family members, or pieces I created for myself.
I stopped beading in the mid-1990s as my career (I am an attorney) took precedence over my hobbies, and my stash sat dormant for nearly a decade. But a few years ago, during a career slowdown (I was laid off), I needed something to fill the time between job hunting and resume reviews, so I decided to reorganize my stash - mostly with the intention of selling it. Luck would have it, I landed a new job just as the last loose bead was sorted.
The new job was nowhere a demanding as the old one. It also had the dubious benefit of keeping me away from home two nights a week. My time spent with the stash was not in vain - it rekindled my interest in beads and in making. I often used the empty evenings in my hotel room time to work on simple projects. A few weeks into the job, an Interweave show was held at the Fort Washington Convention Center (one of the last). My client (the one who kept me from home a few nights a week) was in the area, and I took advantage of the proximity to go to the show - my first bead show in about a decade.
Boy, how things had changed. The last ones I had gone to (1995 or so) were dominated by new and vintage Czech glass and very little in the way of stone and pearls. Now, all I saw were stone and pearls and crystal. I was also fortunate enough to reconnect with dear friends, including Mike and Marie from East of OZ, who had amazing and unbelievable stuff (as well as warm and welcoming arms).
In a heartbeat, I fell in love with the rare minerals and gems I saw before me. These were nothing like the drab and uniform round beads or the inferior quality stuff I had started with way back when. Lucious agates and jaspers, charioite, tektite, rough quartz crystal, big simple cut Peruvian opal and Amazonite and Labradorite and Sunstone and Wonderstone and on and one. Stones I never heard of.
And the pearls - yummy, yummy pearls in all the colors and sizes I could imagine. Keishi and chickenfoot and coin pearls, long Biwa, plump round potato pearls. Peacocks blues and greens, golden red, peachy pink and pinkish peach, white and black and gray.
And so, like a dragon out of myth, I began another hoard. And just as that one started to grow, the career (the thing that pays for the stash) took a 180 again. More downtime between job hunting, but this time I used creatively. By the time I was back to work, I completed 9 very complex projects.
The creative juices ebbed a bit while getting up to speed at the new job, but recently I've hit my stride again. A friend and I went to a local crafts fair, and we were both pretty disgusted at the overpriced and poorly executed pieces we saw. My friend, who knew I was a beader (she had been the recipient of two necklaces during the past few years), asked me if I could make something for her as a gift.
She came to visit the next day, and spent hours pouring through beads - both glass and stone, and we had a complete blast putting the necklace together. Her taste is exquisite, but very different from mine - but we were able to create something extraordinary. You can see it at my blog, Stone Heart Beads (as well as other recent projects).
The upshot is, my friend's become an addict too - she wants to take classes and learn how to make her own stuff!