Purple Sage - A Bountiful Abundance of Beautiful Beads & Endless Creative Possibilities

Posted In: Culture, ,   From Issue 871   By: Robert E Martin

27th November, 2018     0

Many times the most seemingly common objects shared within the realm of human experience are often taken for granted; and in many ways, the bead serves as the perfect object to prove this point.    Beads are known to be one of the earliest forms of trade between the human race. Indeed, it is thought that it is because of bead trading that humans developed language.

And thanks to the mother & daughter team of Sara Jean & Vicki Hubbard, proprietors of Purple Sage bead shop located at the first level inside the new SVRC Marketplace in Downtown Saginaw, patrons and bead aficionados can choose from an enormous selection of thousands of varieties of beads in various sizes, shapes, colors and materials.

“I got into beading while in High School,” explains Sara, and shortly after graduation my husband and I at the time moved to Colorado and I wanted to pursue my interest further. Within two weeks I obtained a job in Colorado managing a bead store and started taking classes. My Mom also started doing art creations here in Michigan while I was there, and in 2004 I wanted to start a family and be closer to my Mom who was retiring around the same time, so we decided to open a bead store.  My Dad also helps and is accomplished with stone cutting and polishing; and my Mom does a lot of fused glass art that we feature in the store.”

Apart from selling finished jewelry, glass arts, fused glass, polished stones, and native Michigan stones, Purple Sage also handles repairs on jewelry for items that may be broken, and also specializes in classes teaching people how to make their own creations and develop patterns.

“We may be a little shop, but we do have millions of beads to choose from,” remarks Sara. “We feature semi-precious stones and sell a ton of glass beads, which are very big business in the Czech Republic; plus we feature things you can do bead weaving or stringing with, and the variety of our selections is quite large.”

The oldest beads found to date were at Ksar Akil, in Lebanon; and prior to this find, the beads found in the Blombos Cave were the oldest at about 72,000 years old. Beads can be made of many different materials. The earliest beads were made of a variety of natural materials which, after they were gathered, could be readily drilled and shaped. As humans became capable of obtaining and working with more difficult materials, those materials were added to the range of available substances.  In modern manufacturing, the most common bead materials are wood, plastic, glass, metal, and stone.

When asked what she feels distinguishes Purple Sage the most, Sara points to selection, service, and knowledge. “The only other bead stores in the area are the big-box hobby shops for bead supplies, and here people can ask questions and receive answers from a knowledgeable staff.  People can purchase single beads or strands or packages and learn about beading and get help with creating their works”

The classes offered at Purple Sage are tailored to the individual and according to Sara, depends a lot upon the project involved. “Some projects are quite easy and will only cost a couple of bucks plus the cost of the beads, while other projects like bead weaving are more intricate and for those we charge an hourly fee plus the cost of the beads.”  Classes do not have a set schedule and people can schedule one-on-one sessions that work best for their convenience.

“The most challenging component involved with bead work for most people is determining the pattern,” she continues. “It can be overwhelming to see all the beads we stock and the options, so when designing a project I always urge people to begin with a pattern to work from.  Putting the project together is fairly simple, unless you’re doing more intricate work.”

When asked about the most unusual item they’ve ever been solicited assistance with, Sara notes how “one woman wanted her husband’s teeth beaded. He had to have his teeth drilled and she had this pattern already developed, but that is probably the strangest request we’ve had.  Most people come in for jewelry or mosaics; and we also work with The Little Yarn Shoppe here at the Marketplace, as a lot of girls come in to look for beads they include on projects they are knitting.”

Despite the incredible breadth of their selections, in the rare instance you can’t find the specific bead you are looking for, Purple Sage can also order specialty items and have them shipped.

Purple Sage is located inside the SVRC Marketplace at 203 S. Washington in Downtown Saginaw. Hours are Monday & Wednesday 10 am to 6 pm; Friday 10 am - 7 pm; and Saturday 10 am - 5 pm.






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