My friend arrived for dinner one evening with sly smile and a mischievous glint in her eye. As she is reaching into her purse, she is saying, “I have a present for you and a job.” It is with great apprehension that I take the small brown paper bag from her hands. My mind is swirling, wondering how the gift and the task are related.

I peek into the bag and relief floods through my veins. This is a job I will enjoy. I pull out four strands of beads. She continues to explain how on a recent trip she went to a turquoise mine in Albuquerque. At the end of the tour she was in a room full of beads and the ladies of the tour were snatching up strand after strand of the beads. She goes on to tell me, “I bought you and me a strand, because I knew you could do something with them.”


I love to play with beads, so this was a challenge I relished, if there were no time constraints put upon me. “No rush,” she tells me. Good, I think because soon my work in schools will be finished and I will have time to play with the style of the necklace.

The next week, the bead store puts out their newsletter with classes listed. My eyes light upon the wire wrapped Tree of Life. That might make the perfect pendant for the turquoise necklace. I did this class several years ago, but cannot remember the process, so this would be a perfect refresher course.

Saturday morning I have my stone and wire ready. There are only two of us in the class, I rejoice in that (lots of personal attention at my point of difficulty). Slowly we create a tree from wire. I brought my iPad to record steps in the process for reference later. Two hours fly by and I have a little bit of work left to finish at home.

Start and end of the project with a few steps along the way.

Start and end of the project with a few steps along the way.

Once the tree is complete, I need to figure out how to arrange the turquoise stones to create the necklace. I string a few beads, add some seed beads. It becomes a dance of the beads as I string, remove, restring, remove, until I am satisfied with the results. I bring my nearly completed necklace to my friend for a length check and approval. She loves the pendant and we decide to lengthen it just a bit.

This necklace has been completed.

This necklace has been completed.

It’s back to the playground of beads for me as I try to find complementing beads to create the next necklace.

17 thoughts on “Creating

  1. I love the pieces you brought to us last year, Elsie. You are talented in this work, & this was a beautiful gift from your friend. Now, it’s become a beautiful gift back! That “tree of life” design is gorgeous.

  2. I am inspired! I love perusing the beads in the craft stores and little boutiques but have never imagined taking a class. Your “Tree of Life” is beautiful! Maybe I can start with a shrub 🙂

  3. So nice of you to share your experience in the playground! Your friend knows and you created such a lovely piece for her. Your creativity brings such joy to you and others! Lovely to behold.

  4. Wow, the minute I got to the part about the beads being in the bag and saw the picture I got so excited. Your creation is stunning. What a wonderful creative outlet you have (in addition to writing.)

  5. This is a new side of you I have not read about before, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit. Of course, with your fine eye for the natural world, these beautiful stones would speak to you and inspire such a lovely necklace!

  6. Wow! Talk about creativity. You saw in your mind what the raw materials could become and went for it. Beautiful finished piece. This is something your friend will treasure because it is a one-of-a-kind piece made for her by you.

  7. Wow! You are as magical with beads as you are with words. A gift of beads is so much fun. For years my daughter made jewelry from beads, and I have brought back many beads from places I’ve visited for her to work with. The necklaces she has made for me are my favorite pieces of jewelry. The “tree of life” necklace is gorgeous…you are a true artist. Can’t wait to see the next one!

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