A bead shop is never far away it seems. I have been working at things non-beady in Jogyakarta (Java, Indonesia) and staying in a hotel I didn’t choose. Yet, on Monday after a long flight, my first walk around the streets nearby my hotel to orient myself and stretch my legs led me to a bead shop. It was a small shop with ropes of gemstones and pearl beads on the wall behind a glass case counter full of made up necklaces of all shapes, colours and sizes. There was no time to stop and look carefully so I promised myself that treat when all my other work is finished. That anticipation felt a sweet treat amongst my non-beady workdays. However, ironically I never returned to the beadshop. Instead, I discovered from Ganis, a local woman I am working with here, that behind the hotel I was staying in is ‘the’ bead shop for Jogyakarta. Ganis’s mother is a beader and it her the favourite place for beads. It is apparently the best bead shop in town for serious beaders. New anticipation flowed as I waited for my day ‘off’ to be a bead tourist on my final day in Jogyakarta.
During delightful anticipatory walk through the tiny lane ways behind the hotel I passed by several gold jewelry shops and finally arrived at a local market with jewelry shops surrounding it. There amongst them was Petra – ‘the’ bead shop of Jogyakarta. A kilo of crystal beads later I had to agree it was quite a bead shop. It stocks in bulk every conceivable non-precious metal finding needed for bead making and a staggering array of local, Chinese and Czech crystals, gemstones and every plastic bead imaginable. Amongst the buzz of dozens of other beaders I had a wonderful time choosing my beads. The help of a very attentive shop assistant meant I was guided to special deals, sale beads and every question I had was answered. It was fantastic service but the highlight was joining a beading class that was in progress as I arrived.
Crammed into a small space in the corner of the shopfront several women in deep concentration worked with support from the teacher on making bags and jewelry. Beadweaving is clearly very popular in the area as there are classes three times a day, seven days a week and each class is full to overflowing. Whilst I couldn’t really talk with class participants because of my limited Bahasa the language of beads kept us ‘talking’ for some time as they showed me the intricacies of their beadweaving and looked at mine.