When I heard about a team on Etsy that worked on collaborative projects to help people in need I got very excited by the idea. I thought to myself what a great opportunity to be involved in something really special. The team in question is Artist’s Helping Hands and their calendar is filled to the brim with charities that will be helped each month of the year, from Women’s shelters, to children’s charities, to charities that help our soldiers, animals, the Special Olympics, teens and more.
The charity for May caught my eye, ‘Beads of Courage’, and being a jewellery maker myself I was intrigued to find out more. The discussion board only excited me further as ideas of necklace designs and handmade beads swirled around inside my head. The enthusiasm from Etsy sellers was wonderful and I could tell everyone was feeling the same excitement that I was. I decided to find out more about the charity and the more I researched the more I wanted to be a part of helping out.
Beads of courage are a ‘resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families coping with serious illness’. The program enables children to record milestones that they achieve along their journey of treatment with colourful beads that symbolise courage and tell their story. Beads of Courage support children coping with cancer and blood disorders, cardiac conditions, burn injuries and chronic illness. The charity runs on artists donating handmade beads made from polymer clay and glass and also accepts manufactured beads which are used in a variety of projects. If you’re new to this, don’t worry, they even have bead making tutorials on their website. You can help by donating your time into making or sending beads and the charity also loves the help of woodworkers and quilters to make bead treasure boxes and bead bags for the children to hold their beads. If you would like to find out more about this fantastic charity, please visit www.beadsofcourage.org and www.artistsgive.com to take a peek at the beads donated by artists.
So going back to the Etsy team, Elise of Black ant Beads decided on a great idea of having us donate beads in which three people would then transform into a necklace. When complete, it could be directly donated to the charity to sell, or auctioned off by us to raise money on the charity’s behalf. I jumped at the chance to make a necklace and submitted some designs for long over the head slip on necklaces. All I had to do now was wait for the wonderful donated handmade beads to arrive in the post! In the meantime I kept myself busy making a beaded wire wrapped pendant to be added to the necklace.
When I received the beads through my door I was blown away! They were gorgeous. The talented Etsy artists had really gone to town here, making a variety of beautiful orange and deep purple swirled polymer beads, red and orange cylindrical beads made from tiny seed beads, an extremely intricately woven pendant in pink and green and matching pink green and cream swirled polymer beads. I was over the moon. I decided that due to the fabulous colour combinations I ought to make two necklaces. I very excitedly got going lacing together the gorgeous handmade beads pick and mixed with my recycled ones and I was extremely pleased with the results.
Making this necklace for beads of courage inspired me to make another similar necklace to sell in my shop, if you’d like to take a look, just click here