Home News Local news Jewelry-Making Seminar Sows Seeds of Affection

Jewelry-Making Seminar Sows Seeds of Affection


Jan. 31, 2007 — St. John is ripe with material perfect for making seed jewelry, V.I. National Park Ranger Deanna Somerville told about 15 people gathered Wednesday at Cinnamon Bay Campground for a Friends of the Park seminar on seed bead jewelry.
"Eighty percent of the plants are in the bean and legume family," she said.
Somerville had plenty of folklore to impart along with the jewelry-making basics. She said that red seeds got the name jumbie seeds because in the old days, residents put them in oil lamps for color. As the oil heated, the seeds danced around like jumbies. She said that over time, they became known as jumbie seeds and are thought to keep jumbies away.
"Another way to fend off jumbies is to take your clothes off, turn them inside out, and the jumbie can't see you," she said.
And she told people to use all the tan-tan seeds they wanted because there were plenty to be had. "They're the territorial weed," she said.
She also advised those at the seminar not to use the red-and-black seeds if they intended to suck on their jewelry because they were toxic.
Julius E. Sprauve School English teacher Mary Jo Wilder said that was a concern for her because she was sure her students would have the jewelry in their mouths. She said she decided to come to the seminar so she could learn about something for her students to do that used free materials.
"I've been using my own money to buy stuff," she said.
Brenda Tyrell, who works at St. Ursula's Senior Citizen Center in Cruz Bay, said she was on the lookout for new craft ideas for the seniors to do.
While the seminar attracted a few local residents, most were visitors or folks with a St. John house spending a few weeks on the island.
Diane Malin of Arlington, Mass. was staying with a friend when she learned about the seminar.
"I've done a little bit of jewelry making and I'm interested in natural materials," she said.
Debbie Andersen of Frederick, Md., is Somerville's sister. She was visiting St. John to celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary. "I came to see Deanna in action," she said, laughing
Vacation villa visitors Calvin and Janet Koonce from Potomac, Md., said they thought they'd pick up a skill they could share with their grandchildren when they came to visit.
"We can do this with Rebecca. She'd love this," Janet Koonce said of her nine-year-old granddaughter.
Her husband said that his grandchildren think the cleverest thing he can do is make a daisy chain.
"I intend to improve on that," he said.
The Friends of the Park seminars, which raise money for Friends activities, continue through April 28 (See "Upcoming National Park Seminars Cover Nature, Culture and History").
Call 779-4940 for more information.


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