This is one of the beaded beads made by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

Beaded Beads and Other Delights of Beadiful Work

“A bead is any item that has a hole in it, can be threaded and then used to adorn a person, an ail, or an object. …Bridging all cultures, it is the bead that unites us in our differences and celebrates us in our diversity. Beads speak a silent language of those who made them. They reflect the history of the planet’s inhabitants, and event now, continue to be integral to our lives.” —Diana Friedberg, documentarian

The more I learn about beads, the more I’m drawn to collect, study and design with them. Books inspire, instruct and help me expand. “World on a String: A Companion for Bead Lovers” is one of my personal favorites.

This is a picture of the book "World on a String" by Diana Friedberg shows a version of beaded beads according to Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, “World on a String”

Using books as tools is a process that connects me with like-minded souls.

As I rounded a corner at the J.O.G.S. event at theTucson Gem Show, for instance, I observed a blonde, curly-headed woman beading. (NOTE: A curly-head person myself, I’m always conscious of the Lucy statement, “People always expect more of you when you have naturally curly hair. Remember Lucy in the comic strip Charlie Brown?)

In a delightful conversation, I discovered J-Me Lynn, a woman who is passionate about  Czech Beads. J-Me introduced me to a now out-of-print book, “The Magical World of Czech Beads,” an illustrated children’s story of the history of glass beads.

Mary Ellen Beads of Albuquerque discovered this out-of-print book, The Magical World of Czech Beads at the Tucson Gem Show. Beaded beads can include Czech glass beads.

©2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, “The Magical World of Czech Beads”

Here’s the book’s dedication, one that hints at why we love beads:

“There are not many things that surround us, and which we see and use daily, that also have such a rich and fascinating history as do glass beads. Through this book, we would like to share with you some of the joy and pride that we feel in being part – and continuing in – the history and tradition of these enchanting small glass beads. We hope their story brings you just as much delight!” -Preciosa Ornela

My conversation of delight and discovery continued the next day, when I met J-Me’s husband Guy at the GDL&W show. Needless to say, I found a few more beads I had to have and even more importantly, met other passionate, ‘beadiful’ people in the process.

I quoted from the storybook at my Mindful Beading workshop.

Like the present moment, each bead counts. Like individuals, beads have history and meaning and offer connection to people, places and things.

A fair amount of my work with beads includes handwork, sometimes with needle and thread and, of course, seed beads.

Exploring Beaded Beads

Although I favor old beads, the new versions of multi-hole beads such as double quadra tile beads, crescents, and o-beads, intrigue me as well. I experimented with the combination of seed beads and multi-hole beads during a class at Colors of the Stone in Tucson.

This is one of the beaded beads made by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, ME’s Beaded Bead

While I’m not yet versed enough in the rhythms of this intricate beaded bead to lose all sense of time, I can imagine it happening.

This is another view of the beaded beads created by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, ME’s Beaded Bead

One thing’s for sure: the joy is in the journey. To use my pun again, it’s a ‘beadiful’ thing. Are you having fun with beaded beads, or beads of any kind?

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