Bead shop exhibits designers

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As a new mother looking for things to do, Heather Kimmey used to visit ämallamä, the old bead shop in downtown Steamboat Springs, with her infant daughter Ashley.

As chance would have it, when Ashley went away for the summer eight years later, Kimmey returned to her fascination with beads to occupy the time without her daughter.

What: Arist's reception for local jewelry designer Heather Kimmey When: Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday Where: The Silver Lining, in Torian Plum Plaza Cost: Free

After years kicking around bead shops and cutting apart all manner of strands to get her hands on new stringable objects, Kimmey blossomed into a full-fledged jewelry designer. She said she counts Tara and Larry Stroman of The Silver Lining, formerly ämallamä, among her artistic mentors, and she said she has a habit of peering through their shop windows to gawk at the collection of beads and stones.

But these days, window shoppers in Torian Plum Plaza are peeking in at Kimmey's one-of-a-kind designs. An exhibit of Kimmey's semiprecious stone jewelry designs is on display at The Silver Lining through the end of July.

Tara said she has watched Kimmey develop her own sense of style during the years -- a style that has gone above and beyond that of a hobby to the sense of an artistic designer.

Kimmey said she gets her inspiration simply by gazing at semiprecious stones.

"I like to see them, feel them, touch them and then see what I like," Kimmey said looking over a collection of her necklaces that tends toward large, vivid stones. "I love the big, big chunky pieces."

Kimmey will share tips about the fine craft of beading during an artist's reception from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at The Silver Lining. There will be room for hands-on assistance and the chance to watch Kimmey at work.

The Stromans are sponsoring several more artists' exhibits this summer, including beadwork by Philomena Baird in August and Holly Burger in September. Kimmey's display is joined this month by a display of intricate nomadic knotwork laced with beads by Isha Elafi.

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