chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Tag Archives: paper beads

string theory…

crafts by the yardUnbidden, the words popular and population came into my head, then, from nowhere, Pop-it beads — the pearly colors, the satisfying pop when they snapped together (or apart), the way a round bead felt in my mouth. How, even knowing that it was not real jewelry, these strings of beads imparted a kind of glamor, a kind of grownup-ness, and introduced us to a grade-school marketplace of admiration and trade.

Then I remembered those paper chains folded from gum wrappers and how I’d slip the yellow wrappers off my father’s stash of Juicy Fruit gum, buy and chew gum just for the colored wrappers and make yard after useless yard of paper chain.

Then I thought of lanyards, plaited with that flat, plasticized cord, by the mile, at camp. I loved the colors, the way a pattern would emerge and wind around the lanyard, the twists and heft of ever-more-complicated plaits. I still have a couple of keychains from those days, sturdy box-stitched rectangles, tough and shiny as ever.

…and that little red wood spool with the nails in the top — how I’d slip the loops over one another and be fascinated at the skinny wool sausage that fed endlessly from the other end.

…and the curtain I made with thousands of beads I’d rolled from long, narrow triangles of magazine paper.

No wonder I had that ah-ha moment when I read the description of the Design department at Berkeley — fiber arts, weaving. With each of these obsessive, repetitive, colorful crafts, I had been searching for ‘my’ medium through much of my childhood…

P.S.: My friend Laura asks if I have read The Lanyard by Billy Collins, which I have not, until now, and which describes the experience so acutely, and which can be found here.