Neighbor:The lady behind the beads

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 4, 2001

Features Editor

In a health conscious – but food fascinated – world, warnings about the attractively packed products in the grocery store bark at customers in the checkout line.

Almost every magazine has an "eat at your own risk" article plastered across the cover.

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Some warn against red meat, some against pork, leaving many to wonder if they’ll ever again be able to really enjoy gnawing a greasy pork chop bone or

savoring a medium rare t-bone steak.


Passmore is one who has given up good taste for good health. But oddly enough, it’s those ham bones and steak bones that are keeping her blood pressure down and her stress level


Passmore was diagnosed with high blood pressure more than 20 years ago. Medication was necessary to keep her blood pressure under control, but she found having to take medication bothersome and expensive.

"And medicines can have side effects and I had to worry about that," she said. "The medicine didn’t help the horrible headaches I had. I just didn’t feel like myself."

Living with the stress of everyday life took its toll on Passmore. She found herself more nervous and anxious so she began to look for a hobby that would be relaxing and enjoyable. "Something to take my mind off things."

"Since way back when I was in grade school, I have loved art," she said. "I used to draw all the time and color. I passed a lot of time that way and it was fun, so I decided that maybe I could do some kind of art as a hobby."

Passmore loves pretty jewelry almost as much as she loves art, so she decided to create and decorate pieces of jewelry.

Beads have long been the mainstay in jewelry so Passmore started "stringing ’em up."

But, she found "beads on a string" to be ordinary. She wanted her jewelry to hop right out at people. Everything that she knew that hopped had bones and bones were in steady supply around her house – chicken bones, ham bones, pork chop bones, turkey bones and, sometimes, steak bones.

Bones could be

bleached or colored and added to and mingled with the beads to make very attractive necklaces.

Passmore liked making artistic jewelry. So, she thought if bones can be beautiful, so could other "odd and ends."

She began to collect remnants of other jewelry, rope, plastic, tin, strings and offerings from Mother Nature.

"When some plants die down, the have nice designs to them, so I started gathering seeds and seed pods and anything that I thought would look good on a necklace," she said.

In making the necklaces, Passmore found bones to be the signature for her work. The more she worked with them, the more ways she found to use them.

"One day I decided I could make a pipe out of a bone," she said. "I guess somebody could have smoked it if they wanted to, but I didn’t want to. It was just – art."

Passmore liked the idea of making pipes and she found reeds and seed pods that were suited for pipe making.

"I put a hollow bone inside the stem of the reed pipes," she said. "It makes them stronger and then they would smoke better if someone wanted to try to smoke them."

The bone artist decorates the bone pipes with colorful strings and paint, just as she does the other bones she uses in her hobby.

She finds a use for every bone she can salvage. The tiny ones, she makes into decorative toothpicks – suitable for dining out.

" Making jewelry is a lot of fun for me," Passmore said. "It takes my mind off things and relaxes me. It’s the best thing that could have happened to me, because my blood pressure is down and I don’t have to take all that medicine and my headaches are gone. This hobby has been a blessing to me."

This weekend, Linda Passmore will take her show on the road. For the first time, she will have her "hobby" on exhibit. She has entered the Jean Lake Festival and is looking forward to being a part of the fun-fulled weekend.

"I just thought I would show my jewelry around and see how people like it," she said. "It’s different for sure."