Sunday, February 28, 2010


Taking a break from  "The Blue Bead" 
I was perusing the blogs and saw one about skeletons. I thought, I love skeletons, there is something so edgy about them. Then, I just had to say something about my skeletons, it turns out I have beaded many, many skulls. So is the nature of blogging  just some sort of self gratification?  Or, are we out to learn about and meet others, share interests and explore.  A bit of both I suspose. But, if I am honest with myself,  I really would love for some people to just see my skeletons... 


The prospector had less than an ounce of gold for a week's work. Lonesome and short on grub, he decided to head for town. As he reached for his pack, his eye caught on something blue, flashing from the bones of a fish skeleton. "Treasure is treasure," he said to himself, stowing the unusual find in his gold poke.

Friday, February 26, 2010


The Chinook salmon could not resist the shiny blue tidbit adrift in the current. She promptly swallowed it and headed up river. As she leapt up a waterfall, an eagle swooped down and, with flashing talons, carried her to the shore and devoured her.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


                    Tall fierce totems stood in a circle around the Tlingit people.

Raven, the trickster, admired the potlatch from above. Suddenly, he swooped down and plucked a bead he fancied from a beautiful deerskin pouch! The people gasped at his bold trick. He could not help but crow about his daring, and as he opened his mouth to brag, the blue treasure fell into the river below.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


This page is for all those mothers, aunties, and daughters who share the love of sewing together...
The Athabascan girl danced around, watching her mother sew, hoping she might be allowed to help.
" To finish," said her mother, taking off her necklace and spreading the beads before her. " Making a special bag for the potlatch is an honor. It is the joy of creating."
She threaded a blue bead onto the deerhide fringe, carefully tying a knot at the end.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So the hunter really likes his beads. We can relate to that! He thought the blue one was his good luck charm, until his luck ran out...
The old man's face wore the weather, deep lines etched around his eyes where he squinted from the sun. He was tired, traveling for weeks now up river, searching for copper and gold. As he trudged along the river bank, a giant bear lunged suddenly from the brush. Using his spear, he fought bravely. The bear danced savagely with the old man, got bored, and wandered off.
"Ah! I will die from these wounds!"the old man cried, collapsing.
The pungent odor of brewing plants struck him first, then the pain opened his eyes. A young Athabascan woman met his gaze. Taking pity on him, she tended his wounds.
Grateful for her kindness, upon leaving camp, the old man gave the woman his treasured bead necklace, featuring a bead of deep cobalt blue.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Sitting at the bead table this morning and I've already  had entirely too much sugar . Chocolate and valentines day, what can you to do.  SO, back to the ship and the traveling bead...

An aleut hunter paddled out to meet the sailing ship. His kayak held seal and otter skins to trade. He returned with iron kettles, wool blankets, and glass trade beads, like the faceted blue bead that he hung from a greasy sinew string around his neck.

Friday, February 12, 2010


The ocean crossing...
Saltwater crashed onto slick decks as the Russian ship tossed wildly in the Bering Sea storm. Below, seasick clerics listened to a trapper tell tales of Alaska and the huge profits that awaited him.
" I've been offered as much as two otter skins for one of those small blue beads," he said, pointing to the bead that adorned one monk's leather pouch.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The saga of the blue bead continues. Where a bead has been and and who its previous owner was often remain a mystery...
Six monks and two novices worked quietly as the sound of rain echoed through the yawning onion domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral. The Russian Orthodox missionaries gathered their few belongings together and listened to instructions about their upcoming voyage to North America.
"Take gifts," said the monk instructing them. "Things like this. Small, easy to carry. And beautiful." He held up the blue bead.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So, as the bead turns, Maggie's got the bead, what will she do with it? Maybe we should go back to the very beginning.... fade in
1700s in Bohemia
As the glow from the pot furnace cut through the smoky blackness, the sweaty beadmaker pulled the molten glass from the inferno. Using closely guarded Venetian secrets, he had learned to stretch and mold glass into beads that were in demand around the world.
" Soon I will be a rich man!" he schemed, as he tossed the perfect blue bead into the  copper trough bound for Russia.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Ready to go down the rabbit hole with a beautiful blue glass trade bead? Intrigued? Let's follow the blue bead as it makes it's way from Bohemia in the 1700s to the bead table in present day Alaska...

  Maggie surveyed the table, a beam of late afternoon sun illuminating the brilliant beads she was using to make her grandmother's purse. Silver lined orange coral tangled up with pale, greasy yellow. Hanks of cut-glass black lay next to rose white-hearts, crystal clear iridescent, metallic gold, and medium cool blue satin. 
  Just then, she heard the screen door slam shut. Maggie's mom bent down to kiss her daughter, then reached in her pocket and pulled out a small square of neatly folded white deerhide. "Something special from the junk store," she said, handing it to Maggie.
"Oh, Mom!" Maggie exclaimed, as she unfolded the soft leather revealing a large, deep-cobalt blue bead. It glowed in Maggie's hand, smooth as old beach glass. "Perfect for Grandma's purse!" It looks so old, I wonder where it came from?"