#38 In Roads-Lori


There’s a little shop tucked in the back of the building across from the library that would mostly go unnoticed if you didn’t know it was there. It’s small and the room is filled with every kind of bead imaginable. Shop owner Lori is friendly as we wander in, though she is clearly engrossed in her work. She wraps stones in intricate designs with thin wire by hand. The result is artistic and eye catching and the stone she is dressing up today is a large piece of citrine. The wrap is 24k gold and she says it will take about four hours to complete. She thinks she’ll sell it for about $80-90, which seemed really reasonable to me. It’s beautiful work. I ask about some of the other stones and crystals. She knows all the names and properties of each.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, I taught myself how,” she shares as she shows her wares. “First I learned how to knot pearls then I moved into this and now I give classes. We opened this shop in 2003 and my partner retired last year so it’s just me now.  I go to all the gem shows I can to buy the stones, or I order on line, then I just sit and wrap. I’m getting ready for a big show this weekend. I’m really excited. I get to get out for a while. Normally I just sit here doing this.”

She laughs as she waves towards the room full of trays filled with thousands of beads. “It gets really interesting when people drop a tray, though. Imagine having to sit and sort out all those tiny little beads, and then to figure out the pricing for them, when they’re all mixed in together. That’s what happened here.” She motions towards a stack of trays on the back counter. “A whole shelf got knocked over. I wanted to cry. Seriously. But what can you do? It’s taken me a week and there’s still more to sort out.” I ask to take her picture. She doesn’t ask why but wants to be sure the gems look nice in the photograph. “This,” she declares with pride, “is my life.”


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