For more than 43,000 years, beads have served a variety of purposes across cultures and throughout time.
From symbols of status and bravery to protection and courage, beads are reminders to those who wear them that strength and endurance matter.
For Dorie Guthrie,
instructor and visiting artist coordinator at Brazee Street Studios
in Oakley, working with glass is a passion. And knowing that children with serious illnesses receive the beads she invests her time and skill in to use as trophies of sorts is gratifying.
“I have a good friend in Seattle, and her son had cancer and did the Beads of Courage
program, and it just dawned on me that when she was talking about him going through the chemotherapy and spinal taps and everything that’s going on, they’re just pushed through all these different procedures that they’re kind of incoherent about half of them,” Guthrie says.
“And then when they wake up, they have beads for every single thing they went through, and it makes them realize—wow, this is what my body has went through—cause they’re going through so much at that time.”
Guthrie and other artists at Brazee Street Studios come together once a month to flamework and then donate beads, which go directly to individuals receiving care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
But once a year, the studio artists join together for the Beads of Courage Bead Challenge
, which is a marathon bead-making session that will take place September 21 and will engage the public so they, too, can see how beads are made and can engage in the process and reach out to the children receiving treatment, as well.
“It’s just so nice for the children to be able to reflect, and for us as bead makers to be able to have the skill for them to appreciate and love these things that are going to be with them forever,” Guthrie says. “That’s a very strong bond in a relationship that correlates directly with having this beautiful bead and then appreciating it just as much as we appreciate making it for them.”
• Support Beads of Courage.
• Attend the Bead Challenge
at Brazee Street School of Glass and support the program by sponsoring a bead or by making one of your own and writing a note to a patient.
Dorie if you're interested in volunteering at the Bead Challenge.
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.