Beadwork Magazine’s 20th Anniversary Celebration: Stories That Inspire, with Linda Smith

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Beadwork magazine, we’re publishing inspirational stories from you, our readers. Linda Smith shares her story with us.


About thirteen years ago, my coworker Donna Leather was suffering from empty-nest syndrome after her only child got married. She decided she needed something to fill her time, so she signed up for a class at a local bead store and asked me if I’d be interested in taking the class with her. Little did we know then, that because of this class we’d become best friends and would still be beading together years later!

A Friendship Stitched Together

Donna and I have both become beadaholics and have continued to bead together even after I moved several states away from Pennsylvania to North Carolina over six years ago. We FaceTime at least once a week so we can work on our various projects together, asking each other for opinions on colors, bead types, lengths, etc. Virtually beading with Donna helped me adjust to living in a new area where at first I didn’t know anyone. We both feel that this time spent beading is our “therapy.” As we work, we laugh and talk and have come to know each other’s families and share our joys and woes.

Beadwork Magazine celebrates you and your story - Donna Leather and Linda Smith

Donna (left) and Linda (right) at Bead Fest Philidelphia.

We value each other’s opinions and ideas and rarely complete a project until we find out what the other thinks. Thankfully, Donna and I get to see each other about once a year. We spend our reunions beading, attending Bead Fest Philadelphia, and visiting our favorite bead store, Blue Santa Beads in Media, Pennsylvania, where we shop for hours and reconnect with the friends we’ve made there.

Over the years, we’ve taken many classes together and learned a variety of jewelry-making techniques. Through these experiences, we’ve met many nice and talented people we would have never known if we hadn’t become beaders. I know Donna and I will continue this art form and remain “besties” for a very long time. Thanks to our first beading class years ago, our lives have been changed forever by gaining such a treasured friendship!

LInda Smith beaded necklace, celebrating Beadwork Magazine and 13 years of friendship with Donna Leather.

Necklace by Donna

Photos courtesy of Linda Smith and Donna Leather.


Find the previous inspirational stories of this series in the December/January, February/March, April/May, and June/July 2017 posts and in the issues of Beadwork.


Find more inspiration in Beadwork magazine and in the Interweave store!