Handmade Petosky Stone necklace by RareDesign.
This summer my family will gather in Detroit to celebrate my paternal grandmother's 100th birthday. While that in itself is a huge event, my mom and I are taking a side trip to visit Houghton Lake, where her parents once owned a cottage. Since they passed away years ago, and we are without a street address, we are busy talking to county clerks and librarians trying to find the spot where my brother and I spent countless summers. The place where I had my first kiss. The place where I discovered amazing seed beaded Native American trinkets at the tourist attractions. And fried dough coated in cinnamon.
Mom's dad, my grandpa, was an interesting man who liked to have fun with kids. He would constantly ask me difficult questions like "you know how to get down off a duck?", and "how far is up?", and I would scratch my head for hours trying to figure it out. Often he would send my brother and I on a mission down to the dock to look for Petosky stones, a beautiful, fossilized coral stone that was the state stone, but the bane of my childhood existence. He had no example to show us, but would describe them and we would search. For hours. And hours. Despite the fact that they reportedly were throughout that part of the state, I never found one, and it killed me.
Here's a Petosky stone in this beautiful necklace from tkmetalarts:
and another in this gorgeous cuff by RedPaw:
Fast forward quite a few years to February of this year, and I'm at the Best Bead Show in Tucson, showing my latest series of beads I've named "Reptilian".
It wasn't until a customer in my booth mentioned that these new beads of mind reminded her of something. I asked her what it was, but she was hesitant. "Oh, I'm sure you've never heard of it. It's a kind of stone, fossilized coral actually, found in Michigan."
Until that moment it had not occurred to me that the patterns emerging in my latest work were perhaps the magical stone I'd been looking for since I was a little girl. Hey Grandpa, I found one!