MAN-L-GoldenBead

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DANBY — Situated in the peaceful rolling hills of Danby is where you will find Julie Delsoldato.

She is in her workshop holding a torch in one hand and a glass rod wrapped around a mandrel in the other.

Delsoldato, founder of The Golden Bead, makes precious lampwork glass beads using a traditional method. However, there is one big difference — the beads Delsoldato makes are infused with the ashes of loved ones.

"I can add anything that can be made into ash," Delsoldato said.

After the beads are infused, Delsoldato coats them with a clear glass rod - a technique that creates the illusion of looking through a window. Then she puts the beads in the kiln to anneal - a process that helps prevent the beads from cracking.

In the morning, the beads are removed from the kiln, and from there, Delsoldato starts turning them into loving pieces of jewelry, touch stones, stands, or suncatchers; which are currently her most popular piece.

Delsoldato is an empathetic listener — a trait that allows her clients to feel comfortable as they speak openly about their loved ones now gone. As she embraces each unique tale, she is able to create connections between her art and the lives of those who want to be remembered. Ultimately, Delsoldato turns heartbreak into a little bit of serenity.

"The stories behind each bead are amazing," Delsoldato noted.

Delsoldato has been making jewelry her entire life but she didn't start making her own glass beads until a fellow jewelry artist approached her and suggested she take a silver working class; a skill she had been interested in but hadn't yet learned. After the silver class she took a lampwork glass beading class and that's when she discovered her passion.

The idea of adding ash to her beads didn't come to Delsoldato until Remy, her beading assistant golden retriever, passed away.

Devastated, she stopped beading.

Then she found some of Remy's fur in the house and decided to try and incorporate it into a bead. She turned the fur to ash and then infused the ash in a glass bead. It was inspiring.

Once she realized the possibilities, Delsoldato began making glass beads infused with her mother's ashes, her son's baby teeth, the baby hair of a friend's child, and the ash of a friend's pet. She quickly realized the healing powers of these very special beads.

In 2015, Delsoldato appeared on the Made In Vermont series presented by Burlington's television station WCAX. On the program, she discussed her artistic craft and unique product that she found to help people heal after a loss. That show helped Delsoldato grow her business, especially in the northern part of Vermont.

While Delsoldato's niche market is in glass beads infused with ash, she still makes plenty of beads the traditional way.

Recently, she made a colorful glass bead necklace with the help of those who answered a question on her Facebook page. "What are your two favorite spring colors?" She made the necklace using the most popular colors and now she plans on auctioning it off on Facebook. The proceeds from the sale of the necklace will be given to Golden Huggs Rescue, a nonprofit organization in Waitsfield, Vt. that rescues golden retrievers from southern shelters.

As Delsoldato continues to make uniquely compassionate pieces of art, she never forgets the stories told to her by those who are in need of a little healing.

"Seeing their gratitude is priceless," she said.

For more information regarding The Golden Bead or to participate in the Golden Huggs Rescue fundraiser, go to www.thegoldenbead.com or The Golden Bead Facebook page.

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