I'm sure I spent all my impending birthday bucks at the Arts and Crafts Fair last weekend, yet Sunday found me heading over to a nearby hotel where Bend Beads/Shiva Endeavors from Bend, Oregon had their gem-beads & mineral show set up. I'd happen upon this traveling husband and wife team two years ago on my way home from Minnesota when I stayed overnight at the same hotel where they were displaying their wares. I'd purchased some larger-than-I-usually-use picture jasper beads and a hank of small and irregular smoky quartz beads. I was tempted to get more but had been gone from home so long that I was totally out of touch with what I could use. They were headed for my home town the next month so I planned an assessment in preparation for a shopping spree. Unfortunately for me, they canceled that show. Since then they've gotten as close as a few hours drive but I knew they'd eventually make it back here. I'm nothing if not patient.
For the daughter of a miner, their display of raw minerals as taken from the ground, many sparkling, many oddly shaped and interestingly colored, was a delight to behold. It brought memories of my dad bringing home small bits of pyrite, quartz crystals and galena-encrusted rocks, some of which I still have. For the now grown woman who dabbles in textile embellishing, their array of polished gem-beads was also a delight to behold...full of landmines sure to wreck my finances! I went with a plan, which always helps, but spent more money than planned. Oh, but I brought home such beautiful things. I was hoping to find some smaller beads in either blue, ivory and/or pinkish tones but most of his beads are quite large, more appropriate for the chunky jewelry that seems to be in vogue.These green and coral unakite beads were about the only small thing he had, measuring about 1/4" and I'm pretty sure I'll have a use for them. I should mention that there's a bit of guilt buying more beads since I've not used the ones I bought from them 2 years ago. Yeah, that kind of guilt has seldom stopped an avid quilter or beader, has it?
My other goal was to purchase a few cabochons. I blame this on my friend and beading mentor Mary Stori. I've been watching her add cabochons to her quilts for awhile now (see her latest here and more if you scroll down to ones in private collections on her Gallery Shop page here), even own one such quilt of hers (Her Light Shines On), and have her instructions for how to do it. Even have a couple of inherited cabachons on hand for the trial run. But no - I have not tried it yet, and my lopsided logic thinks that if I collect more, my chances are better of doing it. They didn't have a huge selection of what I had in mind but two did catch my eye including the one above. Who doesn't love agates? And this was by far the most interesting one in the case - about 1-3/4 by 1-1/4 inches. (I also got to see the big piece of agate that these cabochons were sliced from). I'm guessing you know what the appeal is, how I'm seeing quilting lines in there. It also reminds me of of parts of a quilt I pieced rather than appliqued as a challenge to myself (Night & Noon on the Planet Hoffman). It doesn't hurt that it comes from not too far away in the state next door.
I always go for the unusual shapes and this triangular piece of Eudialyte bisected off-center into dark red and grey sections stole my heart. Hmmm - no wonder. According to the information sheet they sent home with me (below), it apparently is the stone of the heart! It's about one inch from base to tip. I also considered an oval one of these, but when I flipped them over to check the price, saw that I could only justify (barely) one. It may not make it on a textile piece. The more I look at it, the more I think I want to have it made into a pendant to wear. I've noticed when looking at the close-up of the picture the letter "A" in quite beautiful script near the bottom tip (upside down in this orientation but right side up if made into a pendant). That's my middle initial! We shall see which wins out.
I really enjoy talking to this couple - he an American from Oregon, she a native of Pakistan. He chooses and collects what he puts out on display much in the same way I collect fabric and embellishments. He likes oddities and interesting pieces, pretty much knows where everything came from, who he bought it from, in many cases its history. He was even able to show me some mineral stones taken from the mine my dad worked in. And like me, he loves hearing stories about the areas he travels to, learning their histories and how they might relate to his passion. He told me he also finds it fascinating to hear how his customers think they will be using what they purchase, how the same sort of item will be chosen with such different ends in mind. He was very interested in my plans for the cabochons and commented that perhaps he should carry more small beads. I wish I had more money to support both his and my obsession! And I really need to complete something with his gem-stones to show him the next time he hits town.