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

Challenges and more

I recently decided I needed to stretch my wings a bit, give myself a challenge. Beading Forum runs a challenge twice a year—the Designer Quest—where members of the forum can purchase a set of beads for a modest price. The challenge is to make a piece of jewellery with the beads provided, and there is both a judged prize and a popular prize up for grabs.

This is the selection of beads I received for Designer Quest #24. 3 packets of seed beads in purple and a golden yellow, including some very tiny size 15/0 ones, a packet of triangle beads, Czech fire-polished faceted beads, round Czech beads, Czech teardrops, the big purple glass beads, small peacock dagger and even a faceted crystal. Yes, there are a lot of seed beads, something I don’t have a lot of experience with. And I’m certainly not going to launch myself into large scale bead-weaving or bead embroidery, not my thing. But I’ve got a couple of ideas based on a bracelet design in polymer clay art bead designer Heather Powers’ Jewelry Design from Nature that I plan to work on. I have a bit of time yet, but I think I need to get cracking soon!

Meanwhile, I received a lovely email the other day, informing me that I had won the Humblebeads & Vintaj Forest Friends Giveaway, which includes a fantastic selection of Vintaj brass and copper components and some gorgeous polymer clay beads and pendants from Humblebeads/Heather Powers. From the picture, it looks like a substantial stash of beads and bits, enough to make quite a few things! I’m really looking forward to receiving this package! Thanks so much Vintaj! And I’ll definitely post pics of what I make with my prize!

(Pic courtesy of vintaj.com)