Traditions give our lives a deeper meaning; they give us a sense of time and an anchor to our history. The holiday season is the most common time to see our family traditions in action, whether it be what we cook for dinner or who is sitting around the table. When you start your own family, you often hold on to traditions you cherished when you were younger—but give them your own twist or start brand new ones all together. Maybe you try making your grandmother’s amazing pumpkin pie but add extra spices to give it a modern flavor kick. Some of the Artbeads staff shared what their family traditions are:
“My family has a Christmas craft day every year. We each bring a craft or two to teach everyone else, along with enough supplies for everyone to make the craft and at the end of the day we all have cute holiday decorations, gifts or cards to give away. I still have a lot of the crafts we’ve made over the years.” – Becky, Copywriter.
“I hate throwing away tons of wrapping paper, so I try to wrap gifts in things like towels or scarves, which can be a little present themselves. Ikea is great for picking up inexpensive kitchen towels to wrap with.” – Pat, Graphic Artist/Photo Editor.
“I’m Hispanic and in my family we always have tamales for Christmas. A bunch of us get together and make batches and batches of both chili and sweet tamales. I try to fly home as often as I can to be a part of this wonderful tradition.” – Yvette, Manager.
“We would always purchase a Christmas tree permit and take a trip into the mountains to search for the perfect tree. We liked the Charlie Brown types with plenty of open branches for displaying our favorite ornaments. Back then, you could bring sleds along and slide down the slopes on virgin snow. Since we lived in the Pacific Northwest, that was sometimes the only snow we saw that year. It made for a great adventure, and at the end of it we had something to bring back with us to remember the day.” – Katie, Email Marketing Specialist.
“There is a tradition that we keep doing every year: it is the Christmas for the birds. We don’t throw away our tree after Christmas; we put it in the garden, in front of the kitchen. I buy big jars of peanut butter, we collect pine cones and I buy big bags of bird seed. We put peanut butter on the pinecones and roll them in a box filled with bird seed. Then, we attach the pinecones on the tree. We even put peanut butter directly on the tree branches and throw bird seeds on them. The birds love that tree! Not only does this give them protection while they are eating (they hide in the branches) but we keep doing this until February/March and get to see so many birds on that tree.” – Cynthia, Co-Owner and Chief Jewelry Designer.
What keeps traditions running is their ability to appeal to everyone—sustainability through the generations. We rely on traditions to progress our lives. We find something we enjoy and continue to do it. In a way, we practice tradition in our designing. You find a certain style or technique that you find yourself going back to. Designers like to experiment and try new things, but oftentimes you can find a familiar style, a signature if you will, in each piece.
The Artbeads family traditions include designs with influences from nature, like birds, and focal pieces full of color and life. Here are some more designing traditions from our family:
“I always turn to nature and architecture for inspiration when I create. Looking back on some of my designs, this is apparent in the shape and structure.” – Cheri, Product Team Manager.
“I love the colors blue and green. Whenever I can get away with adding these colors into something I create, I do it…it’s pretty much the dominating color palette in my beading boxes. Oh…. And stones! I love using this natural element, with brown accents to follow that organic look– I guess it’s me missing the New Mexico desert.” – Yvette, Manager.
“Since we live in the woods, decorating with greens is a natural choice. The rural post box gets the full treatment with cedar boughs, holly and fir. The wood fence gets swaged with cedar, all cut from our trees. Being a bead fan, our tree gets garlands of beads that have been strung over the years. I make a loop on each end to hook on a branch and make them as long as I can. Some have crystals but they are all shiny and wonderful!” – Teri, Jewelry Designer.
Can you spot a signature technique in your pieces?