Beadwork Magazine’s 20th Anniversary Celebration: Stories That Inspire, with Marlies Vogel

How Beading Gave Me Back My Life

I’ve done crafts for as long as I can remember. In 2006, I came across a booklet about bead crocheting. This was something I had never done, and of course, I wanted to try it. So I learned bead crochet and enjoyed it for several years.

In 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a huge shock, and I fell into a deep black hole. I felt very lost and frightened, without any self-confidence. I went through treatment, which involved spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. To pass the time, I took my bead crochet ropes with me. Within minutes of arriving for an appointment, I would be surrounded by other patients and their companions, asking about my work. In these moments, I no longer felt so alone.

Going through treatment, I had good and bad days—but I always had my beads with me. I quickly learned that I could use beading to calm myself down or cheer myself up. And with every finished piece, I took a step out of my black hole and back into life.

My psychologist encouraged me to share my experience with other patients. In October 2011, I started my first beading class with four women. Since then, the group has grown; we now have about twelve women who meet every Monday.

Over the years, we’ve unfortunately lost some very wonderful friends. But others, like me, have slowly regained their lives. It has always amazed me that people who don’t feel well still want to spend their time beading. However, I’m so grateful to know these women.

Now, beads are my job. I teach beading and write instructions. In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to teach beading on board a cruise ship. Beads truly gave me back my life, and now they also help me give to others.

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

For more information on Marlies and bead crochet, contact her at

Photos courtesy of Marlies Vogel.

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