I remember, when I was a child, being puzzled by the expression, “The King is dead. Long live the King,” until I heard the variant, “The King is dead. Long live the Queen!” Oh, I suddenly realized, they’re focusing on the continuity across two different people! For some reason, I was reminded of that as I thought about what to write today, except that I’m not writing about a death and I do want to say something about just one person. And, yes, I know I’m babbling, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right words….
Three years ago, Trish Morris signed a lease for an interesting little space in Bridgeville, PA, and opened a bead shop that everyone knew as Zelda’s. Her tag-line for the place was, Everyone Here is Happy!
Though it was often a traffic-congested slog for me to get down there, I made the trek once or twice a month … because it was always worth the trip!
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post where I compare beading my art jewelry pieces to framing of prints and photos, explaining that I offer a lot of pieces “unframed” so you can hang them as you wish, while I do “bead up” others for those who prefer that sort of product. I do the same thing with workshops: many of them feature the making of a particular kind of “focal element” that you can wear alone or add to as you wish, while a few are extended into the process of making fully-beaded pieces (i.e., where we make a focal element and a complementary toggle clasp, then string those into a fully-beaded bracelet or necklace).
And, for the past three years, I’ve taught classes covering that same mix down at Zelda’s (in addition to those in my own studio, and at a few other places). That’s why I made all those trips: because of the warm atmosphere that Trish and others tried to create at Zelda’s, because of the delightful customers who frequented the shop and signed up for my classes, and because I could then spend some of my earnings in the shop buying lovely beads for when I wanted to make more elaborate pieces myself.
Except, while everyone called the place Zelda’s, if you looked closely at the website and the email addresses, they declared the place to be Zelda’s Bead Kits. Kits? What kits?! Well, yes, there were a few. But, for a whole variety of reasons (some obvious, some less so), they were just a minor part of the business. Trish had opened the shop thinking that, if she needed space to store supplies and assemble kits, why not just open it up to others too. Except (as most business owners will understand immediately!) she found out that running the shop took up too much of her time. She was unable to focus on the part of the business that had inspired her in the first place, and this was not making her happy. (Remember that tag-line…)
So, when her lease came up for renewal, Trish made the difficult decision to close the shop. She ran a month-long closing sale, and is moving any remains out today. The shop will be missed. Trish is still hoping to develop the bead-kit business: I hope she does, for her sake, and that it is successful.
Clicking on most of the photos or other images in my blog posts will usually take you to larger versions of themselves, but the two with this post (which, I admit, I “borrowed” from Zelda’s website anyway) both link back to Zelda’s. As I write this, it’s still showing all the information from the Bridgeville store, but I hear there’s an update to the new incarnation for Zelda’s Bead Kits is in the works. I hope her dancing-frog logo is both waving a happy good-bye to the physical store, and a happy welcome to the new kit collections that may soon be available online.