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Not Just for Jewelry

Posted by Jamie on 7/13/2014

You can wear a string of beads around your neck or on your wrist, even dangle them from your ears. But beads have many other decorative uses, too.

As a kid, I remember going to my grandmother’s house and we’d play for hours with her beads. She had boxes and boxes of them containing all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. I loved watching her make miniature trees with them. Her hands appeared frail, but they’d grasp coils of wire and she’d bend it and work it until what appeared to be a tiny copper tree trunk formed in her hands.

The tissue-paper thin skin of her hands contained strength and ingenuity beyond my comprehension. She’d spread the wires out in chunks to create “branches,” then, one by one, she’d spread and bend the individual wires and eventually, a tiny tree complete with bare branches appeared before me. The wire branches stuck out, as if it were a leafless, tiny tree, growing out of my grandmother’s palm in the dead of winter.

Now it was my turn to add life to it. From the array of colors in her aging plastic bins and shoeboxes, I’d choose the beads that would form the leaves on the tree, and then slide the bead with its tiny hole onto the wire. She’d cover my tiny, youthful hand with her own hands now mangled and deformed from arthritis, and she she’d show me how to fold the wire over, and twist it together so the bead “leaf” stayed put. We’d do this over and over again until hundreds of beads filled out the tiny treetop canopy.

Beads are so much more than tiny orbs of glass and polished rock. They are magical memory makers, and can bring life and warmth to anyone’s home.