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Colorful characters string keepsakes

By Courtney Llewellyn, Reminder Assistant Editor

There is a sixth grade boy from Longmeadow who loves to make chain maille. He's so talented at it, he could probably teach a class on the subject.

There is a blind woman who comes in to make rather difficult pieces of jewelry. Although she cannot see, she said she can feel the colors of the beads.

A retired woman creates all different kinds of artwork and, in her free time, earns gold medals for track and field events at senior Olympic games.

And, of course, there's the founder of Colorful Creations Bead Company herself, 15-year-old Emily Rose Pawlowicz.

When she was six, she attended beading classes taught by her godmother, and her first sales were beaded key chains.

"She started making simple necklaces and selling them at craft fairs when she was 12," explained her mother, Pat Pawlowicz, owner of the business. "When she began telling people about the healing qualities of the stones she was using, they went off like wildfire." Using the money from these sales, Pat and Emily Rose, at age 13, opened Colorful Creations for business.

"This was her dream," Pat explained. Emily Rose worked closely with the lawyers, bankers and real estate agents to make her dream come true. Her mother and father (Vic Pawlowicz) work as a team with Emily Rose to keep it going.

"It's a very interesting experience," Emily Rose said, talking about her business. "I want to see how far this can go."

A truly creative person, Emily Rose has dyed her hair purple and blue in the past and is an avid actress. While searching for new items to sell in her shop, she looks for different colors and styles, with an aim to find things that "make people happy." She favors bright colors as well as the contrast of black and white.

Friends of the young entrepreneur think it's "very interesting" that Emily Rose has her own business, but they love hanging out at the shop.

The philosophy of Colorful Creations is for a person to "take one step out of your box-learn, grow, and create." Rickie Leiter, the head of advertising and marketing as well as a teacher and "elf" at the shop said, "This is a Zen zone. We're not just a store, we are that philosophy."

After two years in their location inside Heritage Village Shops in East Longmeadow, the women working there have discovered something wonderful.

"Relationships have grown from people meeting at the store," Leiter said. "This store is a second home for a lot of people." Those who create their own jewelry there form a camaraderie with others who appreciate the creative process, including its highs and lows, she explained.

"A lot of people come in wanting a unique piece of jewelry, but are convinced they don't have the ability to make it themselves," Leiter said. "We help them choose colors, style, size, and when they discover they've made something special themselves, it opens a door of creative confidence. We get a lot of repeat customers because of this."

It's this sense of friendship that draws customers to the store from distant locations, some an hour away. Colorful Creations even has a regular who comes all the way from Worcester.

"All ages and all ability levels are welcome here," Pat said. "It's a nurturing place." A high school girl found this to be true when she came in wanting to accessorize her prom dress with Swarovski crystals. The employees helped her make her gown glittery and glamorous.

Colorful Creations sells everything from Swarovski crystals to pearls, stones, gems, glass beads, and geodes to even more eccentric products. "Happy balls" are round, decorative beads from Europe. Even dinosaur poop is available; 35 million year old coprolite is actually the fossilized droppings of ancient sea turtles.

Upcoming events for the shop include the "Beading 101" class on June 20 and a field trip to the Herkimer Diamonds Mines in central New York on June 24. The trip is sponsored by Pat's organization, the Western New England Bead League (WNEBL).

Formed in April, the WNEBL is used for networking and friendship building among beading enthusiasts in the area. The group meets every other month, and its goal is to promote the enjoyment and education of all the jewelry arts, crystals, rocks, minerals, and fossils.

"We're always eager to help those who want to create," Leiter said.

Colorful Creations Bead Company is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m. For more information on events, visit their Web site at