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Eclectic by nature. Created for you.

A Passion for Collecting

Two young girls collecting petals from beneath a flowering shrub.

A colleague sees me eyeing the collection of smooth river rocks on her desk, and invites me to take one, which I joyfully do. Something on the floor catches my eye—a small circle of leather with some incomprehensible lettering. Where did it come from? Was it important? A faded flower from a Rose of Sharon shrub instantly sparks childhood memories of a next-door neighbor’s yard. I imagined each tightly-wrapped lavender bud to be some sort of magical chrysalis, containing the most exquisite butterfly.

Dead flower of a Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon), that has fallen off the plant.

On my desk is a pink leather tray that houses my collection of gemstone hearts. Nearby is a ceramic dish, made by a friend, the contents of which currently include several glass marbles, an assortment of tiny shells, two pecans and an acorn, a brass Eiffel Tower keychain, the shell of a wren’s egg, some miniature silver keys, a single rosebud and a plastic toy from a King Cake.

I believe I may be part magpie.

I’m a collector of books, as well, with shelves filled to the brim and a growing stack of to-be-reads. As useful as the internet is, it can’t provide the immersive experience of settling down with a good book. The bulk of my collection consists of gardening books, short story anthologies, autobiographies, DIY how-tos and a healthy dose of fiction. So much of what I know, I’ve learned from books.

My Obsession

And then there are the beads. Tens of thousands of them, in every size, shape and color. They’re made from glass, metal, bone, seed, wood, ceramic and, of course, gemstones—raw gemstones, polished cabochons and rounds, sparkling faceted rondelles and chunky nuggets. One box contains tiny, precious gems like tanzanite, sapphire, emerald and ruby. Some beads are sorted by type; others by collection. A few strands hang from a hook on the wall, waiting to be sorted into place. Others are scattered across the table, ready to become part of a new piece of jewelry.

Acquiring beads is an obsession for me. I’m not satisfied if I don’t have an order on the way, or a new stash ready to be sorted. Often I don’t finish putting new beads away before I find myself working up a fresh design. So much of the inspiration for my designs comes from the beads themselves. I work spontaneously, using the many supplies I have on hand until, inevitably, I need to order some random supply. And it makes no sense to pay shipping on a single item, so…more beads make their way into my cart. And the cycle repeats.

A beautiful group of gemstones, glass, and pearls

New Stuff!

At the moment, I’m awaiting the arrival of a package of square gemstone beads, which I’ll use for new Stackables bracelets. The Dalmatian jasper will pair beautifully with some gold-flashed Czech glass beads. I’ll have a harder time deciding what to do with the rose quartz, which is easily overpowered. The amazonite, ocean jasper and painted jasper belong to existing designs. The tiny chrysocolla saucer beads? I have no idea. Yet.

I am filled with gratitude that I am able to indulge my passion for collecting shiny, pretty things. When the world gets too ugly, I can duck into my studio and be surrounded by beauty. This is a privilege that I don’t take for granted. Making jewelry is a form of meditation for me, like gardening or creating a wonderful meal. To be able to share my creations with the world brings me great joy. I hope my little treasures can bring you happiness, as well.

Cover photo by Mieke Campbell on Unsplash

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