Some people think perler beading (pictured) is a child’s activity because children can do it, but nothing could be further from the truth.
I was born into a Fuse beading family, the lowest of the perler caste. At 12, I was betrothed to a boy from a Melty family – above my station, to be sure, and my parents were so proud – but knew I was destined for something greater. I cut off all my hair, stole my brother’s clothing, and fled the city disguised as a poor beggar boy. I found work in the house of a modest Pyssla perler family, where I added to my knowledge in secret. The other servants hated my work ethic, eventually framing me for theft and I was thrown out in the middle of the night.
I thought my fortune had changed when I was hired into the home of a great Nabbi family, but the mother beat me out of jealousy. A geriatric house manager with sad eyes took pity on me, and taught me perler magic that I’d never even heard of. Before he passed away from the Colored Lung, he revealed to me his true identity, and told me to find his estranged family – of the ancient Perler lineage – to deliver them a message in the city I’d escaped from.
It was time to go home.
Once back, I went straight to his family compound – an actual palace on a hill that looked down over my childhood slum – but they would not see me. After many weeks of insistent visits and bringing gifts to the house manager, they finally granted me an audience. After delivering his message of reconciliation and apology, and months of assisting the family with things around the palace, they adopted me as one of their own. I revealed my female identity at that point, and everything I’d learned growing up. It turned out I was a quick-study, and also very gifted, so they hired the best tutors to assist me with my studies.
At age 18, I was sent to university to study advanced perler techniques, including history, perler mathematics, physics, liberal arts, and philosophy. I graduated with top honors as the valedictorian, then went on to get a Master’s and Ph.D. in Perler Anthropology. At my graduation, I looked out into the sea of shining faces, and saw in the crowd: my parents. My adopted mother had tracked them down, and we were happily reunited.
What I’m saying is, the two perler projects you see above – Mario Bros. coasters for my husband’s 35th birthday – weren’t just made with love and attention. They are part of a rich tapestry of struggle and sacrifice; an ode to hard work and reaching for the stars. They are the creative culmination of my blood, sweat, and tears; a physical manifestation of following your dreams. Also, they took me like two hours to make, so NOW I AM AN EXPERT.
[Thank you Craft Fight Club for the tutorial and superfun crafting lady day]