Bead Life

Paid a visit to Soo Ling Beads in Little Portugal last week. When we lived in the neighborhood, this was my go to place for jewelry making supplies. I also got most of the materials for my art show, Near, from here.

It is pretty much a time capsule. I think these keychains have been hanging on the wall since the first time I stepped inside in the late 1990s. I was thinking of making them into earrings. I asked if I could keep the display card.

I’ve been having an urge to make more jewelry lately. I had been planning on making the trip to Soo Ling for a while. When my friend Becky heard that the Lakeview diner (another Little Portugal institution) was closing for renovations, I suggested we meet up for lunch. Afterward I walked over to load up on beads.

Specifically, I was seeking big wooden beads because I wanted to make a choker inspired by a piece I saw in Denmark last summer. But when I walked in I was overwhelmed by the abundance of findings. Like these inlaid horn pieces and spools of leather cord. I made the necklace pictured above out of those bits.

Because I’m a little Goopy when it comes to the power of semiprecious stones, I was also looking for some amethyst and bloodstone beads to make necklaces to add to my pharmacy of rocks. Also Amethyst is my birthstone and for some reason I don’t have this stone in my collection. And my dad always wore a bloodstone ring, so this new creation brings back good memories.

I made the horn necklace almost as soon as I got home from lunch. I was going to parcel out the jewelry making over a couple of days because I also have a lot of work to do. You know, jobs that pay the rent. But making things also gives me energy. The next day, as soon as I finished one writing assignment, I would make a necklace. It helped clean the intellectual palette so that I could start the next project with renewed focus. It’s probably more positive than rewarding myself with a nap or a snack.

Here’s my Scandinavian-inspired brass and ebony choker. It needs a few refining touches but I am pretty pleased. Here’s a picture of the original for context.

As you can see, I made mine more gothy.

I had a very accomplished day smashing deadlines and making jewelry. I even had the energy to repair this rose quartz necklace that I made during my last healing jewelry making frenzy. (Note to self: don’t sleep wearing necklaces, they will get caught in things and snap).

Maybe the real power of semiprecious stones is feeling good after unleashing one’s creative impulses.