A lovely reader of this blog, “JaneDoe” wanted to make me a “Fat Bitch” necklace and well, how could I say no?! Emails were exchanged, facts and figures were shared and then I received a lovely little something in my mailbox:
“Bohemian pressed glass beads have been around for hundreds of years. They originated as an inexpensive substitute for gemstones. They were made by small family owned businesses; true cottage industries.
Bohemia is part of what is now the Czech Republic. Because of the uphevals of the 20th century and then the advent of Soviet rule, the pressed glass industry pretty much shut down. When the Russians came in, they confiscated all the beads worth having, and then told the bead makers to farm the land instead of make beads.
Many of the pressed glass beads I have came into the country after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 but were made before the industry shut down. A man with a bead shop made a trip to the area after the Soviets left. He approached people whoes families had been bead makers. He was told that if he bought up “old junk that had been laying around for years” that next time he’d be able to buy better. In essence, it was a bribe to gain entre into the pressed bead world.
He had the beads strung up on special 24″ strands (usually bead strands are 16″) and imported container loads of these “old junk” beads. He sold the hell out of them in his shop. And as time went on he was able to get better and better beads. His business prospered because he was bringing over stuff no one else had that hadn’t been seen in the USA for many years. He’s still in business today in fact and is one of the biggest importers of Bohemian pressed glass beads in the nation.
One day back in 1995 I cold called him and asked if he had anything he wanted to be rid of. He said “Do I have a deal for you!” He had since saturated his market and had lots of the original “old junk” beads laying around. I bought many, many kilos of beads for next to nothing.
The cool part is, these beads really did lay around for decades in a barn. I have some that were sealed in bags rather on put on strings. In the bags were old oats and grains of wheat from the days when the bead makers had been made to farm.
I liked using them, too, because it says something about oppression. The Russians eventualy had to leave and the Czech people now govern themselves after a bloodless revolution (The Velvet Revolution). I’m hoping someday we as humans will look back at fat oppression and see it as an odd footnote in history.”
I was instantly in love with this piece! The weight of it is just lovely and the beads are gorgeous! The handiwork is perfection! She got the length, clasp and everything else just right! This is a rare feat in my book, after so many custom etsy.com piece failures. I will be sporting this loudly and proudly! You should see how it plays with the light! It seems too fancy, almost, to have “Fat Bitch” on it, but that makes it all the more special, I think.
A special thanks to FattiBoomBalatti for writing the post that inspired this! I hope to see more “Fat Bitch” items (you can submit your photo here: email@example.com). Did anyone get a t-shirt made? I am loving this whole thang, y’all! Thank you “JaneDoe” for rockin’ my socks with this fine fabulosity! (She may even be willing to sell such necklaces upon request!)