Retirement home resident with over 100 beads shares passion for jewelry making with others

Shirley Lumpkin has over 100 beads in her collection (Source: KTRE Staff)
Shirley Lumpkin has over 100 beads in her collection (Source: KTRE Staff)
Shirley Lumpkin says she's excited to get back to making jewelry (Source: KTRE Staff)
Shirley Lumpkin says she's excited to get back to making jewelry (Source: KTRE Staff)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - She's got over a hundred boxes full of beads and gems inside her closet, and that is only the beginning for one Lufkin woman who has been making homemade jewelry for the past twelve years.

"Well, I've always loved to do crafts. I didn't know I could do anything until I retired and then I had some time to try," said Shirley Lumpkin, a resident at Pinecrest Retirement Community in Lufkin.

Lumpkin, 79, said she first got introduced to making jewelry about 10 to 12 years ago after she saw her step-daughter making her own bracelets.

"I thought 'I want to make more than bracelets. I want to make sets,'" Lumpkin said. "I fell in love with jewelry making and I haven't wanted to do anything since."

Lumpkin and her step-daughter started going to the International Gem and Jewelry Show in Dallas and that's how Lumpkin started collecting her beads for her sets.

"I have over 21 boxes of beads the size of that one over on the table. And when I get home, I would sort them by color cause that's the way I do my beading," Lumpkin said. "I decide first what color I want to make and then I try to fix colors on my beading board that I think would go the way I want them to and sometimes I change my design three or four times before I get started."

Yet, just last year, Lumpkin,  thought she would never be able to make jewelry again after eye problems caused left her nearly blind.

"I'm just getting old and things start wearing out as you get old," Lumpkin said. "But you can really be busy."

But, Lumpkin says making jewelry has been a passionate hobby for her and she's excited to get back in the "business."

Lumpkin says she does not sell her jewelry, and just makes them for her friends, especially those at Pinecrest. But she will sell her jewelry if it's for a good cause.

"One year, several years ago, it seemed like God impressed on me that there are several people in nursing homes that don't have anyone come at Christmas to see them and bring them anything so I contacted two nursing homes [and] got the names of 36 people that need things," Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin was able to use all the money she got from selling her jewelry to provide the gifts just in time for Christmas.

"My friends came over and helped me sack everything up in Christmas bags and we just put 'From Santa Claus' on it because I didn't want anyone to know where it came from," Lumpkin said.

Despite her previous eye problems, Lumpkin says she is ready to get back in the game.

"I'm going to get back to my love—making jewelry," Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin says she loves getting visitors and would love for people to come stop by her place at Pinecrest. She says she also takes requests for jewelry from Pinecrest residents and their families.

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