People often ask me how I know the stories behind the beads I use. And the answer is always the same. I try to read up as much as I can on beads and their history. I talk to a lot of similarly minded people and learn from them.
And whenever possible, I visit museums with bead exhibits. One recent road trip was to the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York where…drumroll please they had a special exhibit on beads. When I read the title, I knew I had to go.
And it was well worth the long drive to the Museum. Though to be fair, the area we drove through was quite beautiful, since the Museum is nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes district. The Museum I have to add, is worth a visit in itself for their wonderful collection of glass. But this particular visit was all about beads and was I a happy camper to see so many in one place!
There were fantastic examples of little seen beads like the Islamic beads on this which date back to the 12th century.
Or this example of a Chevron bead from the 15th century!
Then there were more familiar yet no less wonderful trade beads like these on the right..
and what I like to call the Tic Tac Toe red beads.
And because the exhibit was all about beads including the different ways beads have been put to use in many different cultures, there were other wondrous things like this traditional fully beaded handmade jacket from the Bagobo people of the Philippines. Isn’t this beautiful?
And these gorgeous beaded belts from Cameroon and Kenya.
I wonder where the next bead exhibit will be? If you have any ideas, don’t hesitate to let me know!