Molly Hoover loves colorful, shiny things.
“I’m so attracted to color and shine, I could live on the beauty of it,” she said.
That’s why when her husband, Ken Rodd, found a Christmas ornament draped in sparkling beads at a bead store in Coeur d’Alene, he knew she’d enjoy it.
She did, and ended up making dozens of the dazzling ornaments. Having enough beads wasn’t a problem. Hoover’s been collecting them for decades throughout her travels.
“Ken buys T-shirts, Molly buys beads,” she said, laughing.
She traveled a lot as a speaker and trainer for a Fortune 500 company, and when she retired in 1999, she kept traveling.
Along the way she picked up beads in Hong Kong, Brussels and The Netherlands. She bought silver beads in Bali and Murano glass beads in Italy.
In addition to the ornaments, Hoover used them created beautiful necklaces and bracelets, often donating them to charity fundraisers. She found inspiration in unusual clasps or antique pieces like Victorian shoe clips.
“I call them findings,” she said, pointing to a heart-shaped necklace clasp.
As time passed, her collection grew. When COVID struck, she had six drawers full of beads in her South Hill garage.
“I decided to make a larger project,” said Hoover. “I wanted to use up a lot of beads.”
Her friend Barbara Richardson stitched a three-layer, 16-by-16-inch quilt block, using a variation of the Vintage Lace pattern. Then Hoover pored through her bead collection and got to work.
Before picking up needle and thread, she printed the block template on paper, and taped beads to it to see how it looked.
“I started in the center and outlined with black jet beads,” she said.
Lampwork beads mingle with Swarovski crystal beads, and large and small bugle beads. Seed beads and tiny Delica seed beads shimmer in various hues.
Hoover stitched on every bead by hand, using the finest of needles.
Pointing to a small diamond shape within the larger centerpiece, she said, “Each of these took at least an hour to sew.”
The entire block is outlined in small sequins and pearls.
All told, by the time the artwork was completed in October, she estimates she spent at least 300 hours on the project.
Her husband called it “a work of art,” and insisted they have it framed.
“I never thought I was artistic, but when I finally slowed down enough from corporate life, I discovered I guess I am,” said Hoover.
Since she still has plenty of beads, her next project will be beaded tassels, similar to those used in drapery tiebacks.
“No more big projects. This just took too long,” Hoover said. “Honestly, if the pandemic hadn’t come along I never would have finished it.”
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