About SDB

Sunshine Dread Beads in named after my Bright yellow Jeep “Sunshine” and my favorite things to make, dread beads.  I bought my jeep right before I sold my pipe shop.  I wanted to get out and enjoy the sunshine after sitting in a building for 15 years.  1499532335328

I started blowing glass in 2000 when I was 18 doing off hand glass blowing in Seattle. I did that for about three years off and on but I wanted to play with glass more. Instead of going all the way to the city to rent time I started saving money for a flame working studio.

About 2 months before my 21st birthday, in 2003, I finally got my studio built and saved up for a kiln and a carsile torch. I used my knowledge of off hand glass blowing, books and some VHS tapes on making pipes to get started. I was working at a local head shop at the time and would make small items, tie hemp and sell it in the shop.

I took classes when I could around the northwest like, Pratt Fine arts center, taking sculpting classes, hollow forms, and color patterns. At the Eugene Glass school, I did some sandblasting, and incalmo classes.

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I got an apprenticeship with, LArry Brickman, a glass bead maker that lived in my town at the time. He’s know for his large waring states beads. I was his TA at Pratt for over a year and helped in his studio leaning the ways of the glass beads.

At this time I was full going on my glass and I left the pipe shop to travel and do festivals selling my glass work and other art I made full time. I did that for about 2 years. One day I went back to see my boss at the pipe shop and he was thinking about selling the shop. We came to an arrangement and I bought that pipe shop, Pied Piper’s Emporium, when I was 23 in 2005.

For a while I did my glass and ran the store but as we grew the store and moved locations from 800 sq feet to 1800 sq feet it was increasingly hard to go from managing store to being creative. Then when me move to our 3rd location at 4000 sq feet I hired a 2nd full time person so I could attempt to work on glass again. I did custom work, repair work, stocked the store with pipes I made, hemp jewelry, and other art I was inspired to make at the time.

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With the larger store I found myself making things that we needed and not making things I wanted to make as much. I was doing accounting, taxes, ordering products I had orders hundreds of times at this point and just generally being stressed out all the time. And then weed was legalized in Washington state and the marijuana business started to carry glass pipes and such, our pipe sales were slowing down which added to my stress. Aug. 2016 I used the industry change to sell my “little pipe shop” I had worked at for almost 15 years and take a break for a while.

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I started my dreadlocks when I was 20, they were down to my knees when I cut them off the week I sold my pipe shop. I needed a fresh start. When I had my dreads I found there was a lack of sweet dread beads in the world and started making some for me and my friends, They always sold really well. I always love making dread beads so I decided instead of attempting to get a “real job” I would start making my dread beads and selling them on-line and doing festival again. Back to my roots as a young hippy kid traveling the country side.

alyssa dreads