Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Journey - Not a Destination

A Journey - Not a Destination

It is better to travel well than to arrive.
I began beading on a whim. I was in a time of rough seas and unknown destinations. All I knew was where I was going was going to be better than where I had been, I just wasn’t sure how yet. Sitting at a table with a friend my eye was drawn to his ring. It was a little blue beaded ring. I asked him to take it off so I could look at it. It looked so simple as I examined it. The thread obviously goes in here and comes out there into that little tiny bead and it goes on and on until you’re done! “I can do that” I thought. I decided right then, holding that little beaded ring of my friend’s that I was going to do this too. Besides it looked so easy! (I can hear snickers from the crowd…)

Not long after, I came across a local bead shop. I wandered up to it and discovered they gave Peyote Stitch lessons for $20. I sat down and made my first little strip of peyote stitch and to this day I can recall the colors I used and the design. It was diagonal stripes in a dusty rose and champagne. She was happy with how fast I caught on, I wasn’t. My friend’s little ring looked so simple but as I fumbled with the teeny tiny beads and the thread and the needle and trying to “pay attention to the tension”  and all of a sudden it felt as though I had 20 fingers instead of 10 I had become appropriately humbled. It was not “so easy”. I was beginning to feel a respect for this craft.

I left the shop with my little bag of supplies, my first beaded strip of dusty rose and champagne and a fire of motivation. The nice lady told me to go home, finish the strip and return to learn how to finish it and how to put a clasp on. I never went back. I wanted to figure it out myself. For the next 7 years drawers and boxes held tiny strips of beads in simple patterns. I only ever completed 2 bracelets. One that kept falling apart because I hadn’t finished it right and the other was lost. About a year ago I decided to use the internet to look up a tutorial on how to finish a bracelet correctly.  Amazing what you can learn when you decide to be a student!

I now believe the 7 years of seemingly pointless beading were not so pointless after all. It was, first of all, a way for me to release myself creatively and to bring myself into a zone of calm. I was, along the way, developing my technique and becoming very connected with the process of beading. I learned about how different colors look when used as opposed to in the tube. I finally got the feel for “tension” and things stopped looking stretched out and crooked. I learned the language the needle and beads speak to make certain patterns. None of this could’ve happened overnight. I'm very grateful for that small beading shop that has since gone out of business for putting my feet on this road and for all the steps thereafter. 
First completed piece!

The lesson as I see it is that there are no shortcuts to learn or perfect this or any craft. It is a journey fraught with knotted thread, ugly attempts, frustration, mistakes and finally something something wonderful happens.  I'm sure you know the wonder and humble joy over looking at something your own hands have fashioned. It's one of the purest joys in life isn't it? Then to be able to share it with another person is even more fabulous still! 
I still remember the first piece that I completed that I knew crossed over from “a little beaded strip” to an actual fully realized creation. It’s been quite a journey and the road doesn't end here. From my vantage point, it still stretches on and on, to unknown destinations. I'm not sure where it's headed but I can relax and enjoy the ride because I'm sure it gets even better still!

Enough about my journey! It would be wonderful to hear how your journey into perfecting your craft has unfolded. When did you “KNOW” you had found your niche or are you still searching? What makes your experience priceless in this field? 

Thank you fellow Zahoomians for stopping by! I always eagerly anticipate your comments and perspectives!     

Lightbulb and road pictures courtesy of
All photos used with permission by myself and other owners.


  1. Nice story! Mine is MUCH longer...but, someday maybe I'll tell it. I'm enjoying others stories too much atm. I've also always been fascinated by beadwork. I did once get a book on making beaded flowers, but it was not to be. The dolls call out to me much too loudly to ignore... Well back to finishing up "Alvie" the newest strangeling to evolve! (((hugs))) Although it says StrangePuppy, you can find me at The Artful Doll by Pam Gari

  2. Thanks for your replies! This is definitely a "Reader's Digest" version of my story lol. Mainly I skipped along the surface but it helped illustrate the long road many of us may have traveled in our craft to get to where we are today. I love hearing how other people developed into what they are doing today. It's so fascinating to me! I love your dolls Pam!! They are just crazy beautiful.