Bead work takes center stage in La Grange
Thelma Rivera, who owns D'Olivas Boutique in La Grange, points out the beaded bracelets and necklaces she designs and sells. | Jane Michaels—Sun-Times Media
Location: 29 S. La Grange Road, La Grange
Phone: (708) 261-4849
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:04AM
LA GRANGE — All that glitters may be golden for Thelma Rivera.
The owner of D’Olivas Boutique at 29 S. La Grange Road specializes in a sparkling array of hand-beaded jewelry and accessories as well as dresses designed for special occasions.
“I started doing craft shows selling my beaded jewelry 14 years ago,” Rivera said. “It was a lot of work hauling everything around and dealing with the weather.”
Then the artisan turned a setback into an opportunity.
“I broke my leg last year,” she said. “I knew I had to do something else. I couldn’t do craft shows.”
One of Rivera’s favorite events was the La Grange Craft Fair each July, so she and her daughter, an interior designer, decided to investigate renting space in the downtown.
“We’ve been doing the craft fair here for years, so we thought, lets try our luck in La Grange,” Rivera said. “I’m glad we came.”
Born in Guatemala, Rivera said she learned beading as a little girl from her grandmother and is influenced by bright colors of Mayan designs. The shop’s title is based on her maiden name, Olivas.
“It’s very time consuming. A bracelet that’s 1 ½ inches wide takes eight to 12 hours by hand,” she said. “Some I do on a loom, but the majority is by hand.”
Rivera admits the painstaking work takes patience, but finds the process calming and relaxing.
Several shelves in the shop display the hand-crafted items of relatives and friends, soap made by Rivera’s sister with natural products and hand-painted piggy banks to save for special occasions like a wedding or vacation. There are also hand-painted spoons and trays by another artist.
In addition, Rivera is experimenting with keepsake bridal bouquets with flowers made of sparkling gems and roses twirled from molding clay, held by satin-covered stems and leaves with netting.
“They’re $150. I’ve sold a few,” she said. “I’m always thinking what else can we do, what will the customer want.”
Business has been a little slower this year than last since the store’s opening 14 months ago, the owner said. But, she intends to also sell items at craft shows again now that doesn’t have to stay off her feet.
Rivera also plans to sell her jewelry and accessories online at www.dolivasboutique.com.