Creativity & Cultura: One in the Same {DIY Beading}

Mexican Rosary Texas Latina

Creativity & Cultura

Earlier this year as we were parousing the aisles of our local Wal-mart, I noticed a new aisle for jewelry and craft making as did Baby, my two year old. She immediately grabbed a strand of hot pink crackled glass beads deciding in that toddler way, that they were about to become part of our basket inventory. I decided to throw in a tool supply kit (a really cheap one), some earring wires, and in a novice move I grabbed a round of stringing wire.

Once home, I set up my small kit of supplies on our dining room table as I watched video after video on making wrapped earrings. It turns out, I needed actual metal wire not stringing wire. I tried to bead earrings on stringing wire and ended up knotting the wire. It was hilarious, but those few moments of nothing but stringing were blissful.

Soon I was armed with stacks of DIY jewelry projects, a yellow pad of questions and a list of supplies.  I had the great fortune of having a salesperson, named Juan, whose mother was a beader. He helped me with all my questions and informed me that the best way to learn was to start by making stretchy bracelets.

I bought Stretch Magic, some strands of crystals, 49 strand wire (the best kind for stringing), and a pair of crimps and crimpers. I felt sure that I could do some beading, as long as I had YouTube.  My first creations were simple color combinations and helped with my confidence.

Later, I took on more complicated designs.  I was making bracelets in my office when I caught sight of my abuela’s cream colored stone statue on my wall. It’s  color was distressed by age, worn down in some places with old, broken rosaries hanging across the body of Christ. I knew then that I wanted to make a rosary. I once again put my internet to work and came up with a basic idea of how to make a rosary. My skills were not good enough to create a hand linked chain but I could string some beads.

Rose Rosary

Each rosary connected me to my Catholicism, however far removed I may be from the church, my faith has always been there, a rosary has always graced my hand and my home. Both of my abuelas had rosaries that adorned their homes, they wore rebozos to church while their rosaries would be clutched in their weathered hands. Every funeral was accompnied by seven or nine days of rosary praying. It was those moments that stayed with me.

It is the low mumurs of “Ruega por Nosotros” and the movement of the beads. Reverence and beauty is what I tried to recreate. A way to embrace my future, while paying respects to my past. It is in this growing form I was able to recreate a Stairway to Heaven Rosary which is an intricately made rosary of chain and beads creating ladders with each decade.

A good friend of mine who owns Kae Beads in Corpus Christi showed me how to make memory wire Rosary bracelets. While his were sparkly and delicate, I wanted mine to be more modern and subtle. Well, as subtle as they could be. I sold my first one before I could even get a picture of it.

Rosary Bracelet


Now, this hobby has turned into a full-fledged obsession that has reconnected me to my roots and to myself.  Creating makes me feel complete, allows for a way to keep a hold on the fesity Chicana who still dwells somewhere in the invisble realms of Mommydom. I experimented with new mediums and have a lot to show for my efforts!

Calavera Rosary Style Bracelet

This paved the way for more Calavera Bracelets and polymer clay goodies.

Calavera Macrame Bracelet

Polymer Clay Flowers

I experimented with mixed media like this Virgen resin pendant where I attached the flowers and painted them with some acrylic paint and this painted bangle from DIY Bangles.

In my evolution into Creativity, I finally made it to painting as my medium. I feel connected to my cultura through my religion and the symbols that have been such a huge part of my life.  The journey has been awesome and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I loved creating it!