VAIL ” One could easily get lost in The Trunk’s Technicolor swirl of semi-precious stones, pearls, glass, clay and ceramic beads, or its vintage buttons and antique clasps.
But in truth, The Trunk ” a bead boutique ” is the perfect creative sanctuary to find oneself, and owner Samantha Wright has volunteered to be the guide.
Wright has been beading for 18 years. Her passion began with simple embellishment on clothes, stitching beads or sewing on vintage trims and buttons. When she turned 18, Wright traveled for several years by herself across the country and Europe, encountering a cast of talented characters who taught her about beading. This is when she developed her fire for the art form.
“I love anything that can be made by hand,” Wright said.
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To earn money while traveling, Wright began designing jewelry and selling it. She got her wholesale license and made connections for beads across the country, especially in Northern California, where she still buys a lot of her collection today.
“Touring, you meet so many different cultures that bead,” said Wright, pointing to her favorite poster in the store, a timeline of beading starting with Mesopotamia. “They still make beads in India with rods and fire.”
It’s been three and half years since she opened The Trunk. Established first in Eagle-Vail, Wright recently moved the boutique to Crossroads in Vail Village, a location she said is more convenient for walk-in traffic and vacationers who don’t ski.
Wright is the first to admit she’s someone who bores easily, which is why she houses an ever-changing bead collection.
“I don’t buy anything in mass quantity,” Wright said. “When it’s gone, it’s gone. I prefer variety. I don’t care to see everyone in town wearing the same thing, either.”
Wright is very particular about her inventory. She hand picks all her findings (anything used to assemble the jewelry) and beads. Wright’s collection includes semi-precious gemstones, silver, gold, bronze, pearls, crystal, glass, ceramic, clay, turquoise and even bone and horn. Her collection of 24 karat gold clasps is growing, as well.
“My specialty is antique and vintage clasps,” Wright said. “If you’re making a nice necklace, you need to use a nice clasp. Claps are so universal these days, too, you can wear them in front or on the side.”
The Trunk offers about a dozen classes teaching beading technique from peyote stitch to pearl knotting to basic stringing. Wright said demand for classes usually follows beading trends featured in magazines like Vogue. Peyote stitch is becoming more popular, she said, but pearl knotting remains the favorite of the classes.
“Pearls are so popular,” Wright said. “It’s a very old tradition. Pearls are classic, never out of style, and now they’re wearing them with jeans and evening gowns.”
In addition to classes, Wright also hosts and teaches for private beading parties. She’s thrown all kinds of soirees from wine and cheese with the girlfriends to birthday parties for the tweeners.
“I’ve had 18 women with their pregnant friend come in to make jewelry that she wore in the hospital after the birth,” Wright said.
For people who want to come in to do some basic crimping and stringing, Wright said it’s free to use the Trunk’s table. She’ll also help to express that creative spirit through beads.
Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14640, or firstname.lastname@example.org.