Beads

BeadFest part 2 — some of the shopping

Along with the classes, BeadFest has a huge expo hall full of bead sellers—everything from tables covered with semi-precious gems to small artisan beadmakers (those were my favourites). The expo was at least 10 times bigger than the Aussie bead shows (makes sense – the population in the US is a bit more than 10 times that in Australia too) and I spent hours there (and lots of money too).

I didn’t buy much in the way of semi-precious stones, as (a) I don’t use them all that often and (b) I can get a lot of them in Australia for much the same price. But I did get a few strands of large-holed beads and some nice matte-finish red creek jasper. The blue is dumortierite and the one below it is impression jasper. These were all from Dakota Stones.

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It was nice to look at all the tools available (except I could never get a look-in on the Lindstrom pliers, oh well, kind of out of my price range anyway). I tried out the Xuron pliers and the Wubbers, and liked the former more than the latter, but found them on Amazon cheaper than at the show. I looked longingly at Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s a Jig, but right now I don’t do enough wire-wrapping to justify the US$200 pricetag. I did buy some Impressart stamps as they had a buy 5, get a 6th for free deal.

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Speaking of wire, I bought some of that too—it can actually be quite expensive here and I use quite a bit of it.

I was a bit disappointed that there were not more high quality components there – companies like Vintaj, TierraCast and Nunn. I think a few sellers had bits and pieces but that was about all. Probably a good thing for my bank account though!

But then I discovered Saki Silver and I got some great earwires in silver as well as copper (both antiqued and not), and some buttons too.

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The Bead Goes On had some great Indonesian seed beads and some lovely Thai copper (and silver too, but I didn’t buy any of that).

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I got some nice sari silk in bright colours I haven’t seen before from Fiber and Beads.

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Some seed bead blends in my favourite 6/0 size beads.

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And I stocked up on some of my favourite styles of Czech glass beads at Nirvana Beads. I think my mind is turning toward summer as I seem to be drawn to the blues at the moment.

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I’ll talk about the art beads in the next post.

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Beads, Classes and new techniques, Swaps and exchanges

Bead Fest or bust!

view from the deck
The view across the valley, Marble Colorado

I’m off on a big overseas family holiday to the US in a couple of weeks, to visit the Rocky Mountains in Colorado with family, roadtrip through the Southwest to show the kids the Grand Canyon and other amazing things! There’ll be a few days in New Orleans, a week of Orlando adventures at Walt Disney World and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (my kids are so excited!) at Universal Orlando and a week in the San Francisco Bay Area where my husband and I lived for quite a few years.

But one of the things I am most looking forward to is Bead Fest! I have been dying to go to either Bead Fest or Bead and Button — the two biggest bead shows in the US — since I first heard about them. We have bead shows in Australia of course, but they are much much smaller and only offer a handful or two of classes, not a whole week’s worth. So I’m booked in for a couple of longer classes — enameling with Sara Lukkonen and fold forming with Marti Brown, and also a couple of 45 minute classes featuring some techniques I’m keen to learn. I’m really hoping to meet some of my online bead friends too.

And then there’s the bead shopping of course. Oh the shopping. Just looking at the list of vendors is enough to make me start drooling.

Of course the Aussie dollar has gone south this year, was it really only a couple of years ago that it was on par with the US dollar? Well, now it’s below 75 cents, and the prognosis isn’t good. Sigh. So I’ll be madly converting and calculating prices while I’m there, and focusing on things that I can’t get at a reasonable price here. Oh and art beads of course!!

If anyone wants to recommend bead shops in the Rockies (especially around Glenwood Springs), the Southwest (we’ll be vaguely working our way from Marble CO, through Moab, Cortez, Gallup, along Route 66 to Flagstaff, to Sedona and the Grand Canyon, and finally Vegas, baby!), New Orleans, maybe Orlando (although I think we’ll be mostly doing theme parks, no time for beads there) and the Bay Area (SF and Berkeley/Oakland area), I’d be very grateful.

I’d love to set up some bead swaps with anyone who is going to be at Bead Fest — I’ll bring you some of my favourite Aussie art beads (pssst, did anyone mention Peruzi?) if you like and you can swap for some of your favourites in return. What do you think? Leave me a comment or message me through Facebook or email me (the address is on this blog’s About page).

Also, stay tuned for a SALE later this month! I just need to load a few more things on my Etsy shop. It would be nice to have an excuse to spend a bit of money on new beads after all!