Sunapee GraniteWorks began offering The American Bead Collection in January 2012... introducing two beautiful granite beads, handcrafted by the Stocker family of Sunapee, NH, representing our Granite State, in January (Fine Grey Granite) and February (Black Pearl Granite) 2012.
Pamela Stocker had worked in special education as a paraprofessional for almost twenty years, when she had an inexplicable urge to leave her work there and try something new. She describes that moment as... In "April of last year, 2011, I was sitting in Math class when a thought came to be, 'And now I'm done.' I was dumb-struck and moved onto Science class when I felt like someone lifted the back of my seat to get me up. There comes a point in our lives when we either ignore those signs and go about our lives unchanged, or we listen - and our lives are forever changed."
Soon after Pamela's resignation, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet strangely enough, the gift of this was that had she not decided to leave her position at the school, and transitioned into a COBRA healthcare program, she would not have had any reason to get a mammogram prior to this.
Yet naturally, in spite of that 'gift', the diagnosis and treatment of cancer is a journey which is both challenging and deeply impactful to the person diagnosed, and those who love them, in profoundly challenging ways.
Bill Stocker, Pamela's husband, found a way to release some of his angst and reach out to Pamela, along with others with a breast cancer diagnosis, by sending a message of Hope. He sculpted the "Sunapee Rays of Hope", which can be seen in the granite yard of Sunapee GraniteWorks now. This 1,800 pound granite monolith has 103 rays emanating out from the center. The vertical rays are reaching out to friends and family, while the other rays are spreading a message of hope to people everywhere... those with a cancer diagnosis, or those touched by the diagnosis of cancer with a loved one.
Pamela's surgery took place in October of 2011, and while recuperating, she suggested to her husband, Bill, and sons Brandon and Bradley, that she thought it would be a good idea to create an ornament from granite. With her battle so fresh on everyone's mind, and the Sunapee Rays of Hope in the granite yard, the Stocker family crafted the Sunapee Circles of Hope ornament. It was, and continues to be, a best seller for Sunapee GraniteWorks. This ornament is created from the Fine Grey Granite from the Sunapee GraniteWorks quarry and comes in two styles: one with a smokey quartz gem suspended on a sterling chain; the other has no gem and is hangs from a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.
With numerous "donut hole" centers remaining from the Circle of Hope ornament, the Stocker family was unsure what to do with them, and set them aside. In late December of 2011, on one of their visits to Artisan's in New London, Cheryl Devoe, the Assistant Manager at Artisan's, suggested to the family that they consider making beads from the remnant pieces... a wonderful keepsake made in Sunapee, NH. Bill Stocker gave it a go in his granite yard, and on January 25th, the first Fine Grey Granite bead was delivered to the very first store... Artisan's New London in New London, NH. The American Bead Collection was born!
From there, and with a huge positive response from both customers and retailers, the Stocker family decided to expand the collection beyond New Hampshire. They travel to different states and find bedrock which they feel not only works well in bead-making, but as importantly, beautifully represents the states that bedrock is from. Each month, the Stocker family releases a new bead which represents one of the states of the USA, beginning with the states of New England. This collection continues to expand, and will eventually represent all fifty states in the USA!
Indeed, in addition to the diverse granite products that Sunapee GraniteWorks has offered over the past several decades, The American Bead Collection takes that production in an entirely unique and wonderful direction... enabling people to literally wear a piece of each state, each wonderful experience and memory and travel. What a GIFT! What a fabulous adventure!
Bill Stocker is a true artist... he creates each bead individually by hand. Beads come in two sizes... smaller and larger, and each bead features a sterling silver UNIVERSAL core (that means that you can wear them on your Trollbeads, Pandora, or Chamilia bracelet or necklace!). Furthermore, the larger beads have a sterling silver cap which is stamped and embellished individually by Bill.
There is no part of the process that Bill enjoys more than the hunting for and selection of just the right stones for beads.
Brandon and Bradley Stocker, Pamela and Bill's sons, are an integral part of everything that is produced and crafted from Sunapee GraniteWorks!
Interested in purchasing a bead or ornament? Shop at artisansnewlondon.com, where you'll find a full selection of The American Bead Collection, as well as the 2011 and 2012 Holiday ornaments, and other pendants, earrings, and jewelry!
And, there is no sales tax in the state of New Hampshire. Artisan's currently offers FREE shipping in the continental USA with all orders!