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New West contestant shoots for the moon with design

The Trollbeads design made by New Westminster resident Iris Morrow that is a finalist in People
The Trollbeads design made by New Westminster resident Iris Morrow that is a finalist in People's Bead 2012.
— image credit: Contributed photo

A couple of looks and she was hooked.

Last June, Iris Morrow popped into Cartwright Jewelers to have her wedding ring repaired. On her way out a display of unusual baubles called Trollbeads caught her eye. It didn't take long for them to also capture her heart and imagination.

"I'd heard about them, but I'd never seen them in person. Now I'm a little obsessed about them, I must say," said the New Westminster resident. "They were just so colourful with so many different designs. And I liked the fact you could get beads for special occasions or special moments in your life."

Morrow's obsession has come so far, so fast, that her Luna - The Moon design is one of 100 finalists in the global People's Beads 2012 online competition that wraps up on Sunday.

For those who are fashion accessory-challenged, Trollbeads were first designed in Denmark in 1976. They go on a cord and are designed to signify meaningful events, things or people. Every bead tells a story.

"It's just a modern take on a charm bracelet, which aren't practical to wear. I just love it," said Morrow, a bank customer service manager.

At first her family was a little surprised at how quickly Morrow's infatuation morphed into utter fascination. Morrow has about 150 beads, mostly her own purchases although some were gifts. She admits her husband, Kevin, rolls his eyes every time she buys a new bead.

He's been supportive, though, to the point of doing a jewelry box reno by installing metal rods for the beads to sit on. Her five-year-old daughter Ella is supportive too because she loves playing with the sparkly beads.

Morrow heard about People's Beads 2012 via an online Trollbeads club, and thought she could come up with a winner. She looked at past designs and found the winning ones had a meaning that appealed to a broad spectrum of people globally. She tried to think of what is important to everyone around the world. The environment had already been done. She contemplated water, but couldn't figure out a way to put that into a bead. Finally the light bulb went off, although in this case it was a lunar light.

"I saw a full moon and I thought that's something we all share no matter where we are in the world, no matter what culture or what language you speak," said Morrow.

Most moon representation are caricatures, but she wanted something more realistic so hers comes complete with craters, and she made it using her two-year-old son Ethen's playdough.

She went on to submit seven more designs. "Once you get your mind working that way it continues, even when you don't want it to." But Luna remained her favourite, and it turned out to be the fave of Trollbeads devotees too. They chose it from more than 2,500 submissions to make the final cut. Since then she's been soliciting friends, coworkers and fellow Cartwright customers on the store's Facebook page, to vote for her creation.

To view the finalists go to the Trollbeads website. Although she's already been assured of a unknown prize for being a finalist, the winner will have their design made into a one-of-a-kind 18-karat gold bead for themselves and then sold around the world in silver with design royalties.

Needless to say, if Morrow wins it all she would be over the moon.

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