Monday, January 17, 2011

A Little History of Anita's Beads

I was updating my Toad Hollow Minerals information page the other day because I noticed the links to most of the photographs were broken. This activity got me thinking about the history of Anita's Beads. I started my first business, "Designs On You," back in the late 70's when I was living in Beverly, Massachusetts. I produced silk-screened t-shirts, batik (the wax resist dye technique that was my major self-taught discovery for that decade) pillows and quilted wall hangings, quilted ornaments, and objects embellished with applique and/or embroidery.

Then came major discovery number two: minerals and beads. I began selling quartz crystals and beaded sterling silver jewelry with a partner as "Underground Sterling & Stone." My partner was a salesman and the jewelry I produced was sold, for the most part, to New Age/Alternative Healing gift shops.

When I moved to New Hampshire in 1996, I decided to look for a place that could accommodate a home-based retail shop. I purchased the property then known as "Toad Hollow" in Wakefield. I moved in June and by the fourth of July I had established "Toad Hollow Jewelry" in the carriage house attached to the barn. By October the unheated space was too cold for comfort so I moved the operation into house occupying the room which is now Studio 2. Once filled with display cases, the room seemed very small!

At the time I was working as a children's librarian in the nearby town of Wolfeboro so in March 1997 I decided to open "Venus Rising," a mineral, crystal, bead and jewelry shop with a decidedly New Age flavor there.

Venus Rising closed in May of 2000 when I shifted my focus back to Toad Hollow full-time and expanded the business to occupy the barn (for minerals) and the carriage house once again (for jewelry and beads). Only this time the buildings were heated! Below is a photo of the carriage house as bead room.

Then bead part of the business became more popular than the rest and required more space, so the barn became a bead shop. In September 2006 I officially started "Anita's Beads" and added a large selection of Czech glass beads to the inventory.

And having made major discovery number 3 which was collage, the carriage house became my gallery.

Below is a recent photo of the bead shop as it looks today:

I'm working on a new display for the check-out counter on the right to show some of the lovely Toad Hollow crystals on sale this winter and will put up photos here soon!