This time I am pretty late in getting my blog going, it is already after six in the evening! I struggled all day to come up with what I wanted to say this week, and was finally helped along by a friend on Facebook (thanks, Sheila!!) who suggested that I write about how I started beading. The beginning is a little depressing to read, you may want to skip a paragraph!
I suffer from chronic depression and a disabling panic condition, which resulted, years ago, in needing to have a case-worker help me out each week, so that I could go to the grocery store and so on, as I could not go alone. (Thank God, I am better than that now, and am able to get out usually without help.)
But she did more than help me with that, and this lady was SERIOUSLY cool!! Janet was her name, and she was fun and funky and just the most cheerful woman I had ever met. She seemed to love her job, and I know for a fact that she must have helped out more people than her employer ever knew. She wore great printed dresses and birkenstocks and socks, and wore her black hair long, sported gorgeous jewelry and hummed Grateful Dead songs when she was thinking. Her jewelry, as I am sure you can guess, was mostly beaded - and mostly beaded by her!! One day while we were visiting, I asked her about a pair of particularly long and elegant earrings she had on, and that's where it started. Janet took them off and handed them to me, and then explained that she had made them herself, and how. They were brick stitch dangle earrings with long fringe, ending in pretty iridescent blue drops. Before the week was over, I had purchased seed beads, bugle beads, drops and earring findings, and Janet showed me brick stitch. I was completely blown away and lost forever into the bead world.
I don't know if she knew, but she started much more than a hobby for me. I hope she knew - I tried to tell her, but before I knew it she was gone. Apparently she had left work in a hurry, and no one seemed to know where she went from there. Beading became my passion, my calling, and the most effective tool for therapy that I had ever had before. The calming, methodical stitching eased my panic and helped me to escape the long depressions. Not only that, but I was then left with a beautiful result - something pretty to wear!! I determined that I would learn as many stitches as I could, and that I would get GOOD at something. If I could, I would get GREAT at something!! It was wonderful to have a goal. Being able to attain that goal, learning more and more, and getting better as I went, went a LONG way toward helping me along.
One of my main aims was to get great at peyote stitch. I LOVED that you could shape it, that you could get beads to hang together ON THEIR OWN, and stand as sculptures, or beaded beads, or fabric, or...anything!! I worked and worked, and boy was I bad at it at first...but it got better, and better, and before I knew it, I HAD it!! And loved it. I still adore peyote, but these days the tension seems to get to my tendonitis (in my working thumb, of course), and so I am working mainly with other stitches. And now, low and behold, there are MORE stitches that let you make and shape sturdy beadwork sculptures, and I am getting good at those! It seems that the things you can learn are endless...the combinations are endless...and the things you want to make are endless. Beading makes every day an adventure, whether it is a good day, a bad day, a sad day, or even an angry day. I bead through whatever I am feeling at the time, and sometimes come out with some surprises for myself.
Two things that were beaded during different moods and times in my life:
The first image is a vessel, and the second is a paperweight. I had fun with them both, mostly because I had no plans to conform to- they could turn out to be anything they wanted to be, I was just beading to feel better!
So....my little story on how it all started, and how it continues.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful, personal journey into beading, Nancy. I use beading as my companion through many hours of pain and depression as well...it has helped me more than I could ever express. There are days when it IS my sanity ;o *hugs*ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your story! I turned to beading for therapy too (and boy has it helped keep me sane!). I love your beaded sculpture - that's something that's still on my looong list of things to learn :)ReplyDelete
I find beading and embroidery very relaxing. I'm always surprised at the number of people that say it would drive them nuts- sitting and working with little things like beads.ReplyDelete
I am so glad to share, and very very happy to hear that this fabulous medium is helping you out as well!!! Life would be almost unbearable without my beads...ReplyDelete
What a wonderful post Nancy!ReplyDelete
I think that most of us avid beaders use it as a form of therapy.
I've been sad that I've sort of not been beading as much as I used to lately, and I fell like I'm missing a friend. I don't know what made me slip away from it, but I have. When I think of the amount of hours, sometimes DAYS I'd spend making pieces, just so I wouldn't feel alone, just so I wouldn't feel so isolated... And you're so right, the end result is so gratifying!
Dawn, I know what you mean. I once had a lady look at one of my multiple technique, multiple-days-to-make pieces, she handed it back to me and said "Well, *somebody's* got WAY too much time on their hands..." At first I was hurt, but then I got mad, then I couldn't help but feel pity at this poor soul who probably wouldn't know passion if it hit her broad-side upside the head... ;)
I too find sanity in the seemingly mundane to most, but salvation to me. My beading is my escape and I hope that someday it will be my everyday existance. I live for the day that I can ditch the day job and just bead!ReplyDelete
Just a wonderful story to share. I know beading has helped me keep my sanity many times over. And obviously it helped you get over a difficult period in your life. I often say that "a day without beads is hardly worth getting out of bed for." Some people think I'm kidding. I'm not.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your story. There is joy and relaxation in creating something. Beading is both a solace and an outlet. Your creations are beatiful.ReplyDelete
I too, suffer from chronic severe depression and while I didn't start beading because of it I can relate to your story very well. It is so easy to get caught up in (lost in?) the acts of creating and it is so awesome to do so.ReplyDelete
A lot of my pieces take several days (both beading and fine art) that I am shocked to read about someone thinking it's a waste of time if it can't be done in seconds. Clearly that person has no idea how art is made.
Count me in, too -- beading is my physical therapy. I've got a strong tremor on the right side of my body, and am trying new meds to get relief. When they kick in, I have a window of no shaking -- so I dive right into my bead stash.ReplyDelete
Sometimes it is difficult to expose yourself and really put your story out there, and I am so glad you did. It was lovely to see the person behind the beautiful beading. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Wow, so many stories with the same common thread. Truthfully, and it might seem crazy to some, beading has given more meaning to my life then almost anything except for my husband and kids. It is something I am good at, can be proud of and gives me an avenue of infinate creative energy. It has afforded me the benefit of scores of wonderful new friends with a common interest as well as becoming a big part of our local Bead Society (I am the newsletter editor).ReplyDelete
I too, have had people say they could never stay interested in the tediousness of beading but I think they just have not found the passion in their lives that makes them wake up every morning eager to get to the thing that makes them the happiest!
Thank you so much for sharing your story, it reminds us of what we all have in common.
I am so happy and honored that you all came to read my story! And I am very much less lonely, knowing how many of you also have had some of the same issues. I, too, have had people tell me I had too much time on my hands - and I agree with Jewels - they have NO idea what passion is!! Thank each of you, and I hope to see you again next week!!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your story. I too began beading as therapy while recovering from a broken neck and spinal cord injury. Beads are light to work with and the focus and concentration have aided my healing. I love that they let me work with both colour and texture.ReplyDelete