I haven’t been visiting here too often of late — mostly because beading has taken much of my time. Yet here I am a second time today which seems to show I’ve picked up from where I left off.
Beading.. jewelry making.. call it what you will. It’s a new hobby. I’ve been surfing the net for price comparison, trying to find the best bargains but not buying anything. (Did you know that party store Oriental Trading actually sells quite a selection and at very good prices? They’re practically wholesale, though, and I don’t know how the shipping costs go, but on base price, they are pretty competitive.) I’ve also looked around for ideas I can use to be able to produce something from what I already have. After scouring the boxes and bags in the attic and around my bedroom, I now have a treasure trove of materials to work with without raiding a bead store. I actually find it doubly fulfilling to be able to work with materials I already had and produce something even better.
It’s a rather interesting phase in my life — challenging, eventful, and just plain busy. Work has been light, though. (I’m contradicting myself, I know.. “Busy” after all, is relative.)
The other day, I sat across the table from my boss at the Cosi branch on 42nd street by Bryant Park. It was supposed to be for coffee, but we each had our diet coke. Although most people would think that she has five million reasons not to be upset that she is out of work, I know the woman enough to see that it has been a painful past few weeks for her. It’s a stark illustration of how money just isn’t everything. But she’ll be fine. She’s doing better than most everyone expected, and as I told her, it’s time she took a breather and just enjoyed her children, and just lay back and take it easy.
One thing I love about my boss is that though everyone thinks she’s the grand diva and that she’s a tough cookie — and she’s both — there’s a side of her that I’ve been privileged to see, and which, during these times, I cherish the most. She genuinely asks about how Angelo is, what’s happening in my life.. We laugh about things we never discussed but knew together — talk about the people we know are kontrabidas, and we go back to how we had it so good — she has always been generous with the praise, the raise, and acknowledgment. I know it was through her personal negotiation that I still have a job.
So we whom she left behind ride out the quiet storm as we hear the unspoken thoughts of those who wonder why we’re still where we are. (Sorry to say we’re not getting the boot anytime soon.) There are those who have stopped talking to us, treating us as if we were no longer there. Yet I’d rather dwell on those generous souls who have reached out to us, concerned and wishing us well.
In the meantime, I have my stash of beads. I would sit surrounded by little containers and organizers.. clutching the two tools I work with. I would try to figure out what to do with which bead or chain. The other night, I was dismantling old or unused accessories that had been given to me but which I had not found any use for. Soon they will be reborn as new pieces. I found a broken cross pendant — the cross will have to go, but it’s bail can still be used. (Love that old, worn weathered look!)
I had stared and held them in my hands trying to get the inspiration. And inspiration aplenty came from two friends from elementary and high school who have been into it waaaay longer than I have. I have to say, it was through their artistry that I got drawn into this.
First there was Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez’s ICE CRYSTALS and then there was Rina Calica-Ward’s NOSTALGEMS. Both sites will inspire you and leave you in awe. True works of art! One modern, the other vintage.
ICE CRYSTALS’s Facebook page says it’s “Fun, fashionable jewelry for the snazzy, fabulous lot with refined taste and sophistication. ICE CRYSTALS is a treasury of style pieces that work for every age, occasion, lifestyle and reason.” Tweetie handmakes the pieces which are sold in select department stores in Manila, and with some even finding their way into Paul Smith’s stores. (Wow!)
NOSTALGEM has it’s own Facebook page and introduces itself as: “Heirloom-style jewellery reminiscent of little treasures unearthed from your grandmother’s jewellery box. From simple dome pendants to intricate and eye-stopping chunky charm necklaces. You can even create your own charm treasures with our jewellery kits.” Treasures indeed.. (Rina, where do you find these gems?) Charms galore.. they add a different style element to what would otherwise be ordinary pieces.
I have been very proud of these two ladies whose paths have crossed mine in my younger years. Technology has enabled us to reconnect. It is their work that has inspired me to tinker away here in my little corner in the big apple. I cannot wait to browse some antique shops for Nostalgem-like findings. Tweetie’s works continue to inspire me as I try to pull together my pieces. These ladies deserve a pat on the back and a kiss on the cheek for making me a proud Filipina, a proud Paulinian (where I met them at two different points in time) and just a plain old proud girlfriend.
Check their sites out!