It was when we moved to Lagos that I decided to pick up another hobby that did not involve computers, and the answer was beads. I’ve always loved ethnic fashion jewelry and collecting these was easy when I lived in Cebu City, because it was a major world exporter of fashion jewelry made from seeds, wood, and seashells. One of my brothers went into the business, and my mom followed soon after, although hers was more like a hobby.
The eventual decision to make my own made sense in Nigeria where metal alloys, corals, amber, animal bones, melted glass and powdered glass beads were sold as necklace strands: much too heavy for my neck and too boring. I wanted to mix and match. A Cebuana friend who always welcomed me with her own designs every time I came home finally gave me a starter set and a crash course in our hotel room. It was fun figuring out which shapes, colors, and materials go well together, but very frustrating learning how to attach the clasps, crimps, rings so I have a pile now of my unsuccessful attempts. My beads and findings were bought from Beads and Findings, a bead importer-exporter in Cebu, Philippines if I’m in town and stores like Michael’s and Craft Warehouse in US, sometimes online thru http://www.shipwreckbeads.com.
I began making key charms, necklaces, and earrings for colleagues. I enjoyed seeing it on them around school, and get more pleasure that way than if these necklaces were around my neck and can only be viewed in front of the mirror.
A perceptive colleague teased me, “so do you count the number of each color?”
She was right, you know. I am a bit obsessive-compulsive, and that was how I started stringing the beads. That’s when it hit me that beading can be a stressful hobby, and therefore a contradiction. So to make it more therapeutic — I would sometimes look away when picking beads. It does not always work, but I have some good moments.
This Christmas I made lanyards for my son’s IEP team. I also got myself an early Christmas present when Michael’s had a sale on necklace display stands and rolling carts with drawers.