Archive for September, 2012

Beading Helped Me Survive Chemo

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

We’ve all heard the horror stories about cancer.

I also have a story to tell, but my story has a little twist to it. Not only do I have the good fortune to be able to brag about being a two-time cancer survivor, but I also get to tell you about a remarkable gift that was given to me by cancer. Sure, I have the life-altering new outlook on life that many cancer survivors have, but I also have the gift of beads and how they have changed my life.

When I was first diagnosed in 2009, I was briefed by my doctor about the different treatments I was to go through – surgery, chemo and radiation. He explained all of them to me in depth, but what kept resounding in my head as I drove home were his words about chemo. I’d have to sit in a recliner for up to five hours while I got my chemo drip every three weeks.

Five hours! I dread boredom. What was I to do for five hours? So, I went to the bookstore to see if I could find an engrossing novel that was a minimum of 3,000 pages. What I found instead was The Art of Bead Embroidery by Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli.

Art Deco Seed Bead Embroidery Piece by CenyaI’ve always been artsy-craftsy, and I have embroidered my fair share. I’ve loved seed beads ever since my mother bought me my first tube when I was six or seven years old (the tubes were glass then). As I leafed through the book, I found lots of beautiful beadwork and simple-to-follow directions to create each project. I bought the book, stopped by Harlequin Beads to pick out some seed beads and supplies and put everything in a bag to take to my first chemo session.

I found that I LOVED beading. During those first eight chemo sessions, I made over 125 beaded brooches and gave them all away to friends and supporters who had helped me through my treatment. Afterwards, I kept beading. I joined the Beading Circle at Harlequin and, since I was starting to feel like I had gotten quite good at it, I started selling a few of my pieces on Etsy and to friends. In the spring of 2011, I was invited to share a booth at our local Saturday Market in Eugene – a thriving microcosm of wonderful artisans.

I was selling each week and enjoying it immensely when I was hit by a return of the cancer. So, I went through more surgery and more chemo – and my beads went with me.

Featured Artist Cenya at ArtWalk 2012I just had my 6-month scan and I am cancer-free. I bead almost every day, and this year I’ve been at my Saturday Market booth every weekend. I was the guest artist at Harlequin Beads during one of Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalks. I love my connection with other local artists and the time I spend in my bead room stitching away at some little beaded something.

I feel very calm while I bead and believe that my healing was helped by it. I doubt that I would have gotten into beading if I hadn’t had cancer, because my job ate up all of my time. I would never wish cancer upon anyone, but if they were to get it, I hope that they could find a gift in it as I have.

by Cenya

Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Feature at Harlequin

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Harlequin is featuring a Think Pink Bead Special to inspire you to show your support. Create some meaningful pink beaded jewelry to wear and give as gifts to those who share your hope for a cure.

Mala Beads for Design and Prayer

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

rudraksha seed and wood mala beadsMalas can have 54 or 27 beads, but they typically have 108 beads and are traditionally used in Buddhism for praying and counting recitations. The mala is comparable to a Catholic rosary, which has 59 beads.

Stacy tells me that Buddhists actually keep track of their recitations throughout their practice, and some malas have counters on them. Your guru may tell you to do a recitation one million times, and the extra 8 beads are for good measure in case you missed a few.

We’ve just added these Rudraksha seed and wood mala beads to Harlequin’s wood bead section. You can also wear mala beads as a necklace, or take apart the strand and combine the beads with other complementary beads in your jewelry designs. The sandalwood varieties even have a wonderful scent.

I love using wood beads in my designs, because they date so far back in history. When I wear earthy wood, seed and stone beads – I feel like I’m following the well-worn paths of ancient footsteps. Beverly shares my appreciation of wood beads and has contributed a couple of wonderful articles to our bead library about the history of wood beads and how to make wood beads yourself.

I associate the intrinsic beauty of natural wood and seed beads with fall. Imagine earthy natural stones combined with wood – especially brown, green and rust colored jasper and agate beads. Wood and stone beads work well with silver, gold, copper, bronze, brass and gunmetal – so you can really achieve a variety of jewelry styles. And all of these organic colors work beautifully with the rich, warm earth tones of your autumn wardrobe.

This summer I made a couple of sweet pieces with dark wood, turquoise and mirage mood beads, antique copper chain and findings. Another of my favorite combinations is almost-black, dark brown wood with sterling silver beads and findings.

I hope you’ll explore some new looks with wood and feel a connection with your earliest ancestors.

by Margit