Today I looted Rosie Wildwoman’s bead stash in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Rosie is a woman my age, sitting at a table in the back of her craft store, wearing a magnificent hand-felted beanie and working on the matching jacket. I wish I’d met her sooner; I wish I had interviewed her, really, because she seemed the epitome of craft passion, that unquenchable thirst to create, to take one thing and put it together with another thing and to create an entire new thing.
But I was too busy pawing through bins of teeny baggies full of beads, clasps, chains, and pendants, feeding my own craft passion. My husband Tom talked to the man who called himself Mr. Rosie. Mr. Rosie explained that he and Rosie were retiring from their two adjacent businesses: the craft store and a self-storage building on Route 101, and were getting ready to live in the gigantic shiny teal green motorhome that was parked in the parking lot. They were preparing to hit the road.
As Rosie sewed, she kept glancing at a computer screen with flickering images of dyed silk, outrageous felt hats, beaded collars, and woven scarves. She had made them all and they were beautiful, accomplished, professional. “I look at these things on the screen because I miss them so much. I miss doing the work. Especially dying the silk.” There would be very little room for craft things in the motorhome. Not big collections, anyway.
It turns out that Rosie’s bead stuff was pretty much gone; now she was selling the beading supplies, ribbons, felt, zippers, quilting squares, and a zillion things that her mother was forced to abandon when she moved to a retirement home. “She’s not too happy about the sale,” said Rosie, “but there’s no room where she is. Anyway, she’s taken up gardening. ”
I had pulled together a logical Capricornian collection of basics: chains, clasps, pearls, backup beads. And I thought, walking away, about the eternal nature of beads and metals and chains. Rosie’s mother, whom I will never know, shared this passion with me, and now she was essentially passing her tools on to the next craftswoman. Beads are not truly eternal, but they last a long time and can be used and reused. Double crafted; recreated; passed through generations. But that’s another story.