Please travel with me on my journey into the wrold of jewelry making

I have ventured near and far gathering beads, trinkets and many natural wonders. Please tag along and relieve with me the exotic, breathtaking and amazing places I discovered my materials. Yes we hit a few stumbling blocks. The first of many you have already heard about, my first step into the world of beading.
I will try to write this story chronologically. That may be my next stumbling block, remembering it as it happened. I hope you enjoy trip, I know I have .

Friday, May 28, 2010

I love Pearls

Several years ago we took the vacation of a life time. A cruise down the Pacific coast on the Asian side. It's an experience I will never forget. I am reminded of it everyday when I walk into my studio and look and all the beautiful beads I bought. Thank goodness, because my senior moments are merging.

Consider this post a travel log and beading expedition. Highlights of the countries and the wonderful treasures I stumbled upon. I guess stumbled up is a lie. There was never any doubt to where I would end up before the day was over. A market to find beads. Going to local markets has always been part of our itinerary when visiting a country. We enjoy wondering through looking at various foods and sundry items. If you look through our photos (you'd need a least 6 months) you would think we were working for the FDA. So as hubby snaps pictures of fish and veggies, I hunt for beads, shells any other interesting tidbits.

For the purpose of this post we will be in Japan. First Tokyo then Kagoshima.
We did visit other cities in Japan, but this is the cheap travel log. So we only cover what I want to write about.

Tokyo, the population density is 13,500 people for every square kilometer (less than a square mile).Talk about crowded. Living in such crowded conditions has resulted in some strange customs and rules. For instance you can't buy a car if you live in Tokyo until you provide proof that you have your own parking spot for that car.

First we went on a bus tour of the countryside, Imperial Palace the palace is only open 2 days a year to the public. You guessed it this was not one of those days. We also visited the famous Senso-JiTemple a lovely temple with beautiful shrines, where I lit incense and made a wish (help me find pearls).

After lunch we were dropped off at the area known as the Ginsa. Tokyo's version of Manhattan's Fifth Ave. Well until recently we were from NY, so I was not impressed.

What I was impressed with were the women dressed in Kimonos, just beautiful. While walking we passed a shop that sold kimonos and I thought wouldn't it be fun to get the girls (our granddaughters) kimonos. Well do you know how much kimonos cost? Just the obi is several hundred dollars. We discarded that plan. I did learn that dressing in a kimono is a ritual. There is a school teaching the various steps and their order. Also the entire process requires help, one person can not get dressed on her own. I guess that's why you don't see very many women wearing them.

As we continue window shopping I saw them. Mykimoto Pearls, a whole shop with various necklaces, bracelets, earrings. In other words heaven. I love Pearls, always have always will. This was a jewelers not a shop to buy just strands of pearls.
I found the necklace of my dreams (my hubbys nightmare). Three strands of perfectly matched 8mm lustrous milk white pearls with diamond accents in a rope style. Absolutely drop dead beautiful. I must have these pearls. Well $300,000. hmmm, maybe not.

So now I am heartbroken, no kimono for the girls, no pearls for me, why did we come to this place? With a heavy heart and my head hung low we go back to the bus to return to the ship. Empty handed.

This will never happen again. Next stop I will have addresses. I have a purpose. Make my own necklace. Well ok maybe not the diamond parts, but I like crystals.

Kagoshima here I come.

The next day I was ready, hubby went to the Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots and a Samurai hous and gardens. I went shopping.

I took a taxi with a fellow passenger to a mall. With map in hand I left my companion at the mall and went in search of the bead shop. After walking several blocks and twisting my map around with each turn I must have looked confused. A young man who was standing with some friends ask if I needed help. I showed him my map and where I was trying to go. He promptly told me he would show me the way. I'm from NY, I didn't just fall off the bus, who's he kidding. After realizing I was probably not the type they were looking for (senior citizen) for the white slave trade. I followed, not only him but the whole group followed. It was another 3 blocks and there I was at the bead store. I thank them profusely but I didn't bow.

There I was two floors of crafting materials. Lots and lots of seed beads and very glittery crystals. Alas no inexpensive Mykimoto pearls. But I did find hanks of petite fresh water pearls. Back to meet my companion and off to the ship to design my version of a $300,000 necklace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Perfect Match

Other than bringing an idea to reality, the second best thing about my craft is shopping. Imagine a woman who loves to shop. Well not just any shopping, but shopping and finding things that will one day be transformed into something “to die for”.

My husband and I are very lucky, we have been able to travel quite a bit. This has enabled me to collect treasures from around the world. Not only bought but found along sea shores.

I don’t shop with a specific piece in mind. I’ve never been able to follow directions. I don’t bake because you must follow the recipe exactly. That’s not me. I buy what I love with no idea what I will do with it. This definitely has it’s draw backs. More than once I did not have enough beads to finish a piece or add a much needed pair of earrings. So now I buy a little extra. This also has it’s draw backs. The airlines have decided to limit the weight of my luggage. I am sure my husband and all the other husbands had a hand in this.

While visiting Istanbul, on our way to the bazaar I found a bead store. It was located outside the bazaar. What that means is no English and no bargaining. We had a tour guide so English was not a big problem and she did managed to get a quantity discount. But when I paid with a credit card the discount got wiped out. Even with the set backs that was a high spot of the day. I walked away with some of the most beautiful beads I’ve seen.

When I get home and start organizing my booty I’m always thrilled when I find something I just brought home matches perfectly with something I already have. As if they were made for each other. The perfect match. Putting combinations together is so exciting. I truly believe looking at the beads, shells glass etc. brings out the creativity in me. They inspire me to find a design to showcase their beauty.

While walking along the sea shore I can collect enough stash to carry me though to the next year. Be it sea glass, coral or shells I see beauty and potential in it all. I’ve spent hours just watching what the waves bring in.

There are some things that need no accompaniment, I call them stand alone pieces. Other than finding and showcasing them I take no credit. But bringing two or more elements together to create a one of a kind beauty is where the pride comes into play.

I hope you enjoyed this part of my journey. Stay posted there’s more to come.