A Look at the Bead Fair in Hamburg, Germany with Guest Blogger Kerrie Slade

A note from Jennifer: Kerrie Slade is a frequent contributor to Beadwork magazine, and is a member of our panel of artists and experts for our Question of the Week feature here on Beading Daily. Kerrie lives in Mansfield, England and recently had the opportunity to travel to the very first Bead Art Fair in Hamburg, Germany where she taught classes and sold her fabulous beadwork kits. The Bead Art Fair drew participants from all over the world, including the U.S. Kerrie was kind enough to write this blog for us about her first teaching experience at the Bead Art Fair during the weekend of August 19-21.

Kerrie Slade (center, standing) with a group of her students at the first Bead Art Fair in Hamburg, Germany

It's Monday, the day after the first Bead Art Fair in Hamburg, Germany. As I write this, I am sitting in the sunshine at a café on the banks of the River Elbe, drinking tea, eating delicious Apfelkuchen and wondering if the previous two days really happened or whether I dreamt them.

Ever since I first received an invitation to teach at the fair (which was over a year ago) I knew it was a not-to-be-missed opportunity and it had an exciting feeling of 'firsts' about it. This was going to be the first fair of its kind in Germany, I had never taught beadwork before and it would also be the first time that many of the international beaders, teachers, designers and exhibitors would get to meet in person.

Although I was incredibly nervous, I knew I wanted to be part of this event and so I spent much of the following year designing my class project, writing instructions, preparing kits and gaining some teaching experience.

Kerrie and international bead artist Zoya Gutina of My Lovely Beads

From the minute we arrived at the hotel, familiar faces began to appear and myself and my long suffering husband, Simon, were warmly welcomed into the large group of people who regularly travel all over the world to exhibit and teach at shows as we busily set up our stands ready for the show to open the following morning.

The first day of the fair arrived and we strolled to the venue down tree-lined avenues in dappled sunshine, Simon pointing out interesting architecture and me half listening and half wondering if I had forgotten anything! With everything in place, the doors opened and the hall filled with people keen to view and buy the huge range of beads, lampwork, supplies, kits and finished beadwork on offer.

My two days disappeared in a whirl. Half of my time was spent teaching my eager students in a beautifully bright and airy classroom with the windows flung wide open, watching as leaves and petals grew from busy fingers. The rest of my time was spent talking to beaming beaders in fragments of various languages with lots of gestures, handshakes, hugs and smiles – knowing that despite any immediate difficulties, we all spoke the one common language of 'bead'.

Kerrie Slade is a beadwork artist living and working in England.  She has had her work published in over 30 international books and magazines but now prefers to sell more detailed patterns from her website.  Kerrie has only recently started teaching beadwork but has plans to teach throughout Europe and the US in the near future. You can see more of her work on her website, Kerrie Slade: Contemporary Beadwork.


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