Hand Made Paper from Nepal

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Larry Silverman | 0 comments


The BeadStore is proud to be offering handmade paper from Nepal.  Lokta paper, as it is called, is made from the bark of a laurel type bush that grows in the understory of the forests in the middle mountains of the Himalayan range. Nepalis have been earning a livelihood from harvesting bark and making lokta paper for nearly 2000 years. Ancient Hindu and Buddhist sacred books, some of which still survive, were transcribed on this paper, which is acid free, insect resistant and very durable. Nepal's long awaited democratic constitution, which was just ratified days ago, is also transcribed on this extraordinary hand crafted paper. In addition to its archival properties, lotka paper is  very beautiful. 

We offer lokta paper in large sheets which are ideal for gift wrap and craft projects, as diaries and note books in different sizes and designs, as cards and picture frames. One fabulous value is a stationary set consisting of 12 sheets of writing paper, 6 envelopes, and 6 post cards, all packaged beautifully in  a filing envelope, ideal for saving keepsakes and letters. Only $15.

We are especially proud to be selling this product for two reasons. First is sustainability. Lokta plants are self-generating. All that is needed is a healthy forest in which the plants can grow.  The paper trade encourages the people of Nepal to preserve and protect their forest by providing a steady income stream, especially to women, which depends on keeping the forest healthy. In this regard, lokta production is like eco-tourism, harvesting of medicinal products and wild fruit and vegetables, all of which support the people as they support the forest.

The second reason is about us. The use of handmade paper to express our visions and ideas is a kind of antidote to the hyperactive and frenetic world of instant messages, snap chats and the like which shape and distort our daily consciousness. This beautiful paper, embellished with ancient motifs and floral patterns, is a reminder to be mindful. Great gifts for ourselves and our loved ones. Each product contains a short explanation of the paper’s origins and importance.

We don’t usually reveal our sources, but make an exception in this case. When you get to Kathmandu, Nepal, don’t miss the Shangri-La Book Shop on Yak & Yeti Street, right across the way from the gate of the elegant Yak & Yeti Hotel. It is a very small shop, smaller even than our own bead store in Takoma Park. MD. But what an extraordinary collection of books and CD’s about Himalayan art, culture, religion, music and politics. Fabulous coffee table books on Buddhist and Hindu art and architecture, and ancient history! Also great post cards and extraordinary music CD’s with mantras and ragas (we bought six and gave them to friends and family with a bent for eastern meditations and rhythms. Great hits as gifts!)  And of course this wonderful Lotka paper! 

Posted in Diaries, Kathmandu, Lokta, Nepal, paper, Scrapbooking, Shangri-La, wrapping paper

Our Tribute to the Supreme Court Marriage Equality Decision!

Posted on July 01, 2015 by Emily Silverman | 1 comment

Only in Takoma Park, MD do merchants festoon their shop windows with commentary on judicial decisions. S & A Beads (www.beadstore.com) has composed a beaded tribute to the Supreme Court June 26 marriage equality decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, in its shop window at 6929 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912.

How do you illustrate a 100+ page decision of the Unites Supreme Court with beads? Well see for yourself how Emily Silverman, General Manager of the small shop that has been a fixture of downtown Takoma for nearly 30 years, did it in her shop window. Emily celebrates this decision with a celebration of color as only a bead artist like her can celebrate it. Floating among the floating beads, like a libretto of an opera, are short quotes from Mr. Justice Kennedy’s landmark decision. The quotes down to the typeface are the product of Emily’s brother Abe, an attorney in Princeton, NJ, who suggested this theme. 

Speaking of Justice, try as we might, our photos don’t do the window justice. Enjoy the photos but come to S & A Beads to see for yourself, and make your own celebration of color. We are on the July 4 parade route and will be open 12 to 5:00pm that day. 

Posted in Equality

S&A Beads Art Hop Artist 2015: Dr. Sky

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Larry Silverman | 0 comments

ART HOP 2015:

Mark your calendars for the annual Takoma Park Art Hop on April 24 - 26, from 10am to 4pm. Every year at the end of April, Takoma Park transforms itself into an arts district. This year over 70 distinguished artists from around the Capitol region will be showing and selling some of their best work in the shops, restaurants, galleries and on the streets of Takoma – from Takoma Park, MD to Takoma, DC. For more details on events, artists and transportation see Mainstreet Takoma.

This year, S & A Beads is especially delighted and honored to be displaying the bead and fabric work of Dr. Sirkku M. Sky Hiltunen, known to friends and admirers as Dr. Sky.

Dr. Sky is a long time customer of S & A Beads. We especially love her ability to work with rare large pieces that so many of our customers admire but don’t quite know what to do with. Her sense of color and balance is impeccable. In addition to being a great bead artist, she is an outstanding painter, set designer and clothing maker, among other gifts. In addition and most importantly, there is a spiritual side of her work, which while impossible to describe, is hard not to feel when in the presence of her work.


There is another side to Dr. Sky, which while separate and apart from her jewelry line, will be of great interest to our customers. Dr. Sky is a pioneer in using art to heal wounded souls. If the field of Art Therapy had a guru, Dr. Sky would be it.  Dr. Sky is one of the visionaries behind The Art and Drama Therapy Institute, a facility in northeast Washington, DC that works with intellectually disabled adults.  When I visited last December, I was blown away by the vibrant intellectual and artistic buzz that permeated the place. Everybody there, staff and patients alike, was actively engaged in creating and enjoying beautiful things. Not what you would expect at a place for autistic, brain injured and other seriously disabled persons. I have been to fabulous galleries and museums, I have visited art studios and theaters, and I have spent time in facilities for severely handicapped people; but not all at once and not in the same place before.

As the Institute’s mission statement puts it, “Individuals with Differing Abilities are highly evolved teachers and … creativity is a Divine gift, given as a birth right to each one of us. ADTI tirelessly nurtures their creativity and shares their special gifts with others through ... concerts ...and plays [and other artistic activities]. Most importantly, ADTI aims to change the attitudes of others in society, to value the Individuals with Differing Abilities as our teachers of patience, unconditional acceptance, and unconditional love.”

You don’t have to be a great artist to be an excellent therapist. And certainly many fine artists have little in the way of therapeutic abilities.

But every once in a very long while, a great healer is also a brilliant artist. Such a person is Dr. Sky. Come see her work and meet her in person during Art Hop. We promise you: you will be inspired and delighted.

Larry Silverman



Posted in art hop, dr. sky, takoma park

Snow Day!

Posted on March 06, 2015 by Kimberly Arnold | 0 comments

We were able to open today but only for a few hours thanks to the intrepid Lisa O‘Brien, who usually walks or bikes to work at our shop at 6929 Laurel Avenue. She is our snow person, living within walking distance and most important willing to help out as she can in the store, when others can’t get there, in addition to her regular shift.

Tomorrow she and her husband, sister and mother are going to Boston, to visit another sister who has been under siege from the relentless Boston snows for a long time. Lisa had three hours for us. In addition to serving the intrepid customers who made it through the door, she spent the time fixing the broken jewelry of her Boston sister. Worked out great for all of us.

I am the other walking distance staff member at S & A Beads. So this morning Kathleen and I and our granddaughter’s dog, a Beagle named Waffle, so-called for the color of his fur, hiked to the shop, and spent some hours there. Fortunately, all the hardy souls that wandered in the shop liked dogs, in particular beagles. Which was a good thing. I told Waffle that he had NO FUTURE in retail. Although he is very interested in and very friendly to customers, which is a good quality for a sales person, he tends to howl inappropriately, which is definitely a negative in closing sales. He also paces and stares out the front door of the shop. We all abandoned the field around 2:30, at the urging of our daughter and General Manager, Emily. Kathleen concurred. We had a lovely walk back home, though chillier than the morning walk.

Friday, March 6, our people made it in. Meanwhile, our web store is lots of fun. www.beadstore.com . Happy to report views are up in this weather. Lots of window shopping (and Apple shopping as well) from the comfort of home.

Thank you,


Posted in larry, lisa, snow, snowday

Jewish New Year Horn

Posted on September 14, 2014 by Kimberly Arnold | 1 comment

This September and October, Jews around the world will celebrate the New Year of 5775. The High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) are ushered in and out by mighty blasts of the ram’s horn, known as the shofar. The blasts of the shofar were first heard on Mount Sinai as Moses received the Ten Commandments from on High. And from that days thousands of years ago to this day, Jews have sounded the shofar to commemorate great spiritual occasions. We are pleased this year to offer a real shofar from Israel (for $145).

Click here to view more photos!

This is our way of wishing all our customers and friends the traditional New Year’s greeting:

L’Shanah Tovah Tikatavu

May You be Inscribed for a Good Year.

Posted in celebration, good year, holy, horn, israel, jewish, new year, ram, shofar, yom kippur

30 Days of Earrings!

Posted on June 01, 2014 by Kimberly Arnold | 0 comments

Psst! Come closer. I have a secret to whisper. Your ears are bored. They are getting tired of the same pair of earrings, every day, week after week, every outfit, sometimes year after year. Oh we know you’ve loved them since the day you first held them up to your ears. And they will always be a part of your personal repertoire. But a little variety might perk up your ears and your spirits.

To drive home this point the artists at S & A Beads will create and display for sale one pair of earrings every day in the month of June. We will be posting to Facebook and Instagram. Come, look, try, maybe buy, or maybe just be inspired to make your own.  



Day 1
in store artist: Cheryl Moody

Day 2
in store artist: Kimberly Arnold

Day 3
in store artist: Emily Silverman

Day 4
in store artist: Carlista Martin

Day 5
in store artist: Cheryl Moody

Day 6
in store artist: Kimberly Arnold

Day 7
in store artist: Carlista Martin

Day 8
in store artist: Kimberly Arnold

Day 9
in store artist: Cheryl Moody

Day 10
in store artist: Lisa O'Brien

Day 11
in store artist: Lisa O'Brien

Day 12
in store artist: Carlista Martin

Day 13
in store artist: Cheryl Moody

Day 14
in store artist: Emily Silverman

Day 15
in store artist: Carlista Martin

Day 16
in store artist: Kimberly Arnold

Day 17
in store artist: Lisa O'Brien

Day 18
in store artist: Emily Silverman

Day 19
in store artist: Carlista Martin

Day 20
in store artist: Kimberly Arnold

Day 21
in store artist: Lisa O'Brien

Day 22
in store artist: Cheryl Moody

Day 23
in store artist: Carlista Martin

Day 24
in store artist: Emily Silverman

Day 25
in store artist: Lisa O'Brien

Day 26
in store artist: Emily Silverman

Day 27
in store artist: Cheryl Moody

Day 28
in store artist: Emily Silverman

Day 29
in store artist: Cheryl Moody

Day 30
in store artist: Emily Silverman

Posted in carlista, cheryl, earring, earwire, emily, june, kimberly, lisa

May Newsletter

Posted on May 06, 2014 by Larry Silverman | 0 comments

Artists and Ivory

This last week-end, May 3 and 4, was a great week-end for artists in our home town of Takoma Park. Over 70 artists were displaying and selling their work in 30 small shops and restaurants. The Art Hop, as it is known, has become a tradition here in Takoma. There were receptions, a trolley to take customers to the different venues, and a gleeful celebration of art and creativity. S & A Beads showcased the work of two artists:

Elizabeth Eby is a fabulous glass artist. Each of her plates and bowls is a unique work of art. At $150 each, they make great Mothers’ Day gifts.

Rabihah Mateen of RAM Jewelry Designs is an extraordinary jewelry maker. We especially like the way she uses the antique and collectible beads that we love so much, in her work. You’ll want to see it, be inspired by it and maybe even own it.

We had such a good reception for these works of art that we decided to continue featuring them in our window through Mother’s Day. If you are in the DC Metro area, you might want to come by to enjoy these one of a kind works of art.

Of course, S & A Beads is hopping with exciting art 365 days a year. We have instituted a new featured artist program that will prominently display the works of some of the best artists in the region. This month we are especially excited by the work of our own Carlista Martin.

On another more serious note, we have been following with great interest new rules about ivory artifacts being considered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. See USFWS Moves to Ban Commercial Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Trade. These proposals have caused quite a stir among antique collectors, musicians and jewelry makers. I won’t try to summarize the rules since they are not final. In general, however, it will be more difficult to buy, sell and transport ivory artifacts. The aim is to stop the slaughter of elephants, which we support. The problem arises in connection with artifacts that were manufactured before there were any rules barring the killing of elephants. Most artifacts from that pre-1976 period are still legal. However, Fish and Wildlife wants to place the burden of proving the age of the items on the owners.

The subject came up when a customer brought in a vintage ivory necklace for re-stringing and re-design. Based on the stringing technique in the original, the appearance of the ivory, the clasp and other indicators, we judged the piece to be a vintage 1950s necklace, well before the ban on harvesting ivory took effect. Of course, after we finished re-stringing it, it looked like new. Which is the problem. We provided our customer with a signed note saying that in the judgment of our artists, the piece dates back to the 1950s. It is now our policy when taking in ivory repairs, to provide such a statement, but only when warranted.

This is probably a good time to remind our folks about all of the great ivory substitutes. Our horn and bone beads, from camels, water buffalo and other domesticated animals, and our many shells and pearls provide artists with a great palette for designing.

Have a beautiful May!


Posted in art hop, artist, may