I sorted through my mother’s craft stash earlier this week, identifying what I wanted to take and what was best left to my brother. I wound up deciding to take about 50 pounds of beads – mostly seed beads, but also some larger Murano and faux-Murano glass beads. I also chose a few of her beautiful pieces to remember her by:
She loved making beaded beads – the pendants in the necklaces above are actually constructed from smaller beads! These are intricate pieces that can take hours if not days to make.
Here’s a close-up:
She also made Christmas ornaments with her beads, usually at her annual Christmas ornament making party. Here’s a bad photo of the one I’m taking home to remember her by. (It’s much more beautiful in person!)
She had over 200 of these beautiful, hand-made ornaments on her Christmas tree, which was the best I’ve ever seen:
Here’s a close-up of one small branch:
Since Mike and I really don’t have space for a Christmas tree, and rarely have people over, my brother and his wife Tara will be taking the tree, and will continue hosting the annual ornament-making party. I’m just taking one ornament to remember her by.
The curious thing about my mother is that she did not think of herself as an artist – she thought of herself as a scientist, someone who loved solving puzzles. For her, the fun in making beaded beads was in figuring out how to construct them. Once she had a design down, she would do several of the same design just to see what happened in different variations – color, material, composition. Once she felt she had mastered the design, she moved on to the next puzzle.
Nonetheless, I think she was selling herself short. Her color and compositional sense were superb, and she made some of the most beautiful beaded jewelry that I’ve seen. She may have thought of herself as a scientist, but she was also an artist – and that dual approach, a love of both science and art, is the greatest inheritance she left me.