Monday, April 11, 2016

Bead Fest 2016: Prep, Teaching, Friends and Beads

You know, on Greys Anatomy, when Meridith says, "you're my person"?  I love that so much.  When I go to Bead Fest, I think that about everyone, they are my people!  

I have experienced so much kindness and friendship from my fellow bead community, that I leave Bead Fest happy and overwhelmed (in a good way).  

I never vend there in Spring, but have been teaching there the last two years.  So, in order to do that, I must prepare for classes, and make kits, and also make beads for students to purchase or to trade with friends.  

Prep can be a grueling process.  However, once I get over the boredom of making all the little bits and pieces, I really really enjoy assembling the kits and getting excited to teach my classes. 

I had to make blanks for a carving class, condition polymer, anneal tons and tons of wire and label and package everything.  There were bead mixes to make, bronze clay beads to make and instructions to write and print.  

This year I taught Wild Wire Choker- which is a wonderful beginning /intermediate wire class.  It is a short 3 hour, but intense class.  It is really packed with lots of different spins and tricks on very basic wire techniques.  You also learn to use sari silk and make your own crimps from scrap wire.  It is such a great class, and I really think that my students will find lots of ways to use the things they learned.  Mostly, I hope it is freeing, and allows them to relax, and learn to go with the flow, even if the wire isn't doing what they thought it should do.  

Our class was first thing Sunday morning at 8:30 am!

My son Aiden had come with me to Bead Fest to shop and help out in my classes.  He is a great assistant and fun to shop with too!

Set up was a bit frantic on Sunday morning when we ran into a hiccup and had to swap out all the tables in our room!  I honestly looked a hot mess!  You can see the desperation on my face!  LOL! But we did it, and room 18 was ready for the day in time.

My class was full of amazing students and it was nice to see some familiar faces in there too!  I had some students who had never touched wire before and they walked out wearing their finished necklaces.  Everyone buckled down and wrapped and wrapped wire.  I was really proud of how willing they were to get to it and work, and how much diversity and creativity went into their pieces.

Here are the students / student work

Then we had an hour and a half to clean up, eat and set up for the next class
Aiden decided to practice his carving a bit more before class.

Up next was carving polymer.  Another wonderful class, that is 50% safety and 50% fun.  I was thrilled to see that by the end of class most everyone was being careful to not carve toward open flesh and they seemed to enjoy themselves.  Carving is so very relaxing, and the students agreed that is was something they would definitely do again!

Here is the project we did

and here is their work!  I was amazed at how fast everyone picked it up.  I also love the individuality of student work!

We closed Bead Fest classes as the LAST CLASS STANDING.  We had fun laughing about how they were circling waiting for our class to be over so they could clean it up.  They were rolling carpets up as we packed our  It was a great class and we had a lot of fun!

Of course, I also had beads I made to sell and trade, some necklace samples and I also made some rings.  I loved Marsha Neal's new spiral beads and so I made her ring from one (and one for me, and another to make sure she could find one she liked) because she is always such a great friend to me.  I have been practicing rings, and just thought this was a great opportunity.  Anyhow, here is some of the stuff I made for the show.

Marsha Neal and Jenny Davis-Reazor were both together in Artisan Alley.  They were kind enough to let Aiden and I stash our stuff behind their booths while we shopped on saturday.  Their booths were our little home away from home, and that is just one of the things I love about my creative fun beady friends.  They are more like family!  I also got to see Suze Weinberg and Diana Ptaszynski, stopped by CB&Co to see Kristi Evenson, got to visit Yvonne of My Elements, just to name a few.  I got to shop a bit with Heather Marston and her daughter and got hugs from Dianne Miller too.  Heather Boardman took time to drop by and I got to see her for a bit too.  I tried to at least say hi to everyone, but I will admit, I was very distracted by all the beads and on a hunt for some very specific things.  

(Bottom row center is my son and I.  I really love that he enjoys beads and jewelry as much as I do!)

(pictures from Suze, Andrew Thorton, Diana and me)

Saturday my mom brought Julia by to shop at My Elements and see Yvonne, whom she just adores!!!  My mom picked up some really AWESOME Green Girl studio necklaces (and I drooled over some of her new paper dolls) and then we all went out to lunch.  I wish I had gotten some pictures.....but I was just too busy enjoying our time together (and bead shopping, and

I got almost everything I had set out.  I wanted more of those great electro-plated stone beads, more large holed HUGE crystal beads, beads for bracelets and earrings, pyrite for necklaces, earrings and bracelets and small ammonite strands.  I found all but the ammonites.  I really really really wanted them for earrings and bracelets for my spring shows.  Oh well.    Here is the loot I got, its good stuff.  I also had to grab that gigantic turquoise!!!

I picked up some things from Marsha and Jenny of course, and had to have Anne Gardanne's new enameled beads with silver shimmer on them!!!  but I am maxed on art beads, so I was good in that area

All in all, it was an amazing weekend.  I love my creative friends, I deeply love teaching, and I always feel a combination of exhausted and exhilarated after weekend of such goodness.

If you missed it, try to make it to Bead Fest August.  It will be a blast!


  1. Looks like you had an amazing day of classes! I love everyones carvings! Love love love your new pieces!

  2. I love seeing all your behind the scenes - looks like you had a great event! Those new beads are amazing, love the textures and colors. And bead show loot - yum! Have fun with those beads.

  3. Looks like you had a fabulous time! If I lived closer I would totally have been there... I'm sure I'll get back for the summer show one of these days. I love seeing your student work... the carving class looks particularly intriguing to me. Enjoy all that loot... I look forward to seeing what you create next! (P.S. one of your beads I bought last summer is next up on my work table to play with!)