Emily Grosholz is a writer, translator and traveler who lives in State College and grew up outside of Philadelphia. About seven years ago, she discovered the pleasures of collecting beads and making beautiful necklaces. Her essay "On Necklaces" is included in "Best American Essays 2008" (Houghton Mifflin), edited by Adam Gopnik and Robert Atwan. In his introduction, Gopnik writes that the only real ambition of essayist is to be a master of our common life, to reveal "the breath of things as they are."
Grosholz might say the same thing about writing poems and constructing necklaces. She has written poems and picked up beads in all the capitals of Europe, especially Paris, Rome, London and Jerusalem, as well as twenty of the fifty United States. She has also persuaded her friends to act as agents (cleverly disguised as scientist, journalists, and tourists) to bring her back beads from Chile, Mali, Morocco, Japan, Thailand, Madagascar, Turkey, Mexico, Columbia, India, Greece, Pakistan, and Tibet. Each individual bead has a story or a poem associated with it (she has published four books of poetry and embellished a fifth book of drawings by F. Ostovani). She is married to medievalist Robert R. Edwards, and teaches philosophy at Penn State; their children play soccer and make music. She has also been an advisory editor of "The Hudson Review" for twenty-five years.
Each of the necklaces comes with an illustrated booklet that tells a history of these special beads.