When I began doing beadwork, I was a long way from home. I didn’t know anyone else around me who did it, and didn’t know how to find them. Plus, I am an introvert, and it would not have occurred to me to even go looking. After I opened White Fox Beads in 2006, I started meeting other folks who love doing beadwork.
In the early days of the shop, I tried to get folks to come in on Friday nights for “open beading”. By this time I knew there were other beaders out there – they were coming into the shop and buying my beads! But, for many, many Friday nights, Michelle and I sat and beaded by ourselves, sometimes visited by young friends of Michelle who enjoyed hanging out with us even if they didn’t do any beading. After a while, we’d see a few faces on Fridays. After a while longer, we’d see the same faces again. I was a little taken by surprise when a community began growing around my little bead shop, and I suddenly I noticed it had appeared all around me and I was part of it.
Wow. And here we are, over 7 years later. And it’s not just about the Friday nights, though I look forward to that every week. It’s about missing the customers who have moved away. Missing the ones who are gone forever. It’s about knowing that I had a circle of friendly faces to greet me when I was going through my divorce, and though I might not have talked about it, I needed them to get me through my days. It’s about all the well wishes I had during my recent surgery, and all the voices that chimed in and said “Oh, yeah, I’ve had a hysterectomy too!” and made it much less scary.
Even introverts need community, and I am grateful for this one.