I've been a little obsessed with Robin Mollicone beads for years. I visit them every time we're in NYC at Oroboro Store. I have the shop clerk pull them out so I can hold them up to my face. I'm not sure why but they have always felt a little out of reach; and I always put them back. I think it's because they seem like rare artifacts that I'm just supposed to look at and not touch.The beadwork is careful and intricate, the colors are considerate and interesting, the shapes are familiar but fresh. They were unique and mysterious to me, untraceable. But I finally met the woman responsible for the beaded treasures. And now these jewels make 100% sense.
When Robin walked in I was immediately drawn to her. She was kind of carelessly dressed for a "fashion party" (in an intriguing way). She was carrying a well worn, vintage Louis Vuitton bag stitched with Grateful Dead ephemera. Looking closer I noticed that most of her accessory details were GD inspired.
Her demeanor was dry and humorous. She told filter-free stories about being a teacher at Pratt—incredibly funny. When she mentioned her other hustle of beadwork, and how she learned how to do it during her loads of free time following the Grateful Dead, I immediately thought she has to be THE ONE responsible for the beaded treasures I'd been fancying.
I mean obviously.
They are hippie beads. But by a New Yorker.
I was pleased to learn that Robin has an affection for our SF shop. She has a brother who is a voice coach and conductor for the SF Symphony, so she spends time in the area and thus, the shop. So now the earrings are here and I get to handle them as often as I want and share the story of how I came to know and understand them on the daily. You can shop them here.
I asked Robin to explain herself a bit, so you can get to know her too, lest you be intimidated by her rather psychedelic beaded babes...
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Rhode Island where my family had a costume jewelry factory, so I grew up making jewelry and working for my family. I went to Syracuse for college where I majored in Fiber Art. I now live and work in the East Village in NYC. I recently moved to the EV from the Lower East Side where I lived for about 14 years.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend a lot of my free time walking my dog around the city, people watching and just taking it all in. This is when I do all my creative thinking. I also love to have friends over and cook for everyone and eat and drink wine together.
When did you start beading and why?
I was always drawn to beads, but started doing peyote stitch and beadweaving when I was 17 or 18 and was following the Grateful Dead. I saw hippie beadwork and knew instantly that I had found my calling. Once I started, I was obsessed. I started collecting antique tiny glass seed beads in my travels and have been collecting them ever since. These are the beads that I use in my work. They are all treasures and once a color is gone, that's it!
When did you start selling your jewelry?
I have always made and sold or traded pieces ( I once traded a necklace for a VW Bus haha), but I started my collection and began doing this as my full time work in 2013. I also teach at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, which is so much fun and a great balance to the work I do. I've been at Pratt for 14 years now.