The Journey

The Family Attic
By Kaitlin Jones

Tracy Mielke welcomes guests to the Bead Addicts Attic's just like she was welcoming them into her home. She proudly shows off beads she has designed herself, especially a new precious metal clay piece.

Long before the shop opened in 2006, Mielke dreamed of the beads, the classes, even the store name. She was thrilled to give up a corporate management job and open a store right in her own neighborhood: the Garland District.

"I always knew I would come back here. It was always a nice neighborhood and everyone is really friendly," she said.

The Bead Addicts Attic carries one-of-a-kind beads sold at the best prices in Spokane, Mielke said pointing to the vast array of bead options on her work table. The store's shelves are packed with practically priced gifts, clothing, and accessories. Mielke also carries original blown glass and beads from local artists. The Bead Addict's Attic's collection of beads includes Japanese, African and Czech beads, gemstones, and vintage German glass.

The Bead Addict's Attic offers regular beading classes every at 5 p.m. Tuesday and 1 p.m. Thursday. Beading students range from regulars attending every class to one-time visitors. These classes make beading available to people without the necessary knowledge and equipment. Mielke also offers an array of speciality classes.

The precious metal clay class starting in February will be the first held in Spokane. Instructors include former Spokane Art School teacher Deb Ellis. These students will have a chance to work with a clay material that after firing becomes 99 percent silver or bronze, creating one-of-a-kind beads and pendants.

The store carries more than just merchandise and is filled with tables for beading, a play room for children, and even couches for bored husbands drug along by their wives.

Mielke's daughter 12-year-old daughter Morgan has grown up in the Garland District like her mother. Morgan bustles through her mother's store stocking shelves, cleaning, keeping her mother company, and even designing her own merchandise to sell in the store.

"This is who is going to run the store someday," Mielke said, pointing to her daughter with a smile. "She's so professional."

"By the way," Morgan said holding out her hand impatiently, "you owe me $5 for the patterns I sold yesterday."