See the Stitch: Master Bead Crochet with Candice Sexton at Bead Fest
I will admit it. Right here. Right now. I still have yet to achieve bead crochet success. I’ve taken workshops on this technique but have yet to “see” the stitch to get past the first few rows. I want to be successful and so, this year, I’m turning to the expert to get me past “go.” Candice Sexton will be at Bead Fest teaching and vending, so I know, at some point, you will catch me by her side, learning and crocheting. Maybe I’ll see you in class?
In case you haven’t met Candice yet, we wanted to share some highlights from a recent interview so you can “meet” her before joining her in class or at her Bead Fest booth.
Thanks for making the time, Candice—I know you are one BUSY woman!
From the Top!
Tammy Honaman: How long have you been beading and when did you know it was time to start your teaching business? What was the catalyst that helped you know it was the right next step?
Candice Sexton: I’ve been beading since 2001 and took up crochet in 2003. I didn’t start teaching until 2009 and started locally, then tried my luck with teaching at BeadFest in Portland—and was hooked (pun intended)! I really devoted most of my beading time to bead crochet in 2014 when my book was released, Bead Crochet Basics, and really have pushed myself, making bead crochet patterns and a website a full-time thing in 2016 after being laid off of my job.
TH: How do you fit beading into your everyday life? Is it your main focus and full time job or do you turn to your passion at the end of the day/weekends/etc.
CS: Bead crocheting and operating my bead crochet patterns, kits, and supply shop has been my full-time employment from 2016 through 2018. I enjoy the technique and designing new patterns so much that I find almost all of it relaxing (even kitting!).
Beading on Location
TH: Where do you bead? Do you have a studio, separate area in your dining room, or a room in your home all to your own?
CS: There is no “magic” place for me. The technique allows me to crochet anywhere, and I do! A couch with my lamp is my favorite place, but I work on trains, in cars, on planes, in my favorite coffee shops—you name it! I have one bedroom with a small walk-in closet, which has become my “bead” room—all my shop supplies, threads, hooks, notions, bead kits (and the beads to make them) are in that room. I even store my trade-show tables and displays in there. There’s a little rolling cart I wheel around with kitting supplies to my desk so I can kit and watch TV, listen to podcasts or books on tape. I take my beading board with my supplies and a lamp and use the kitchen table to string on my projects.
TH: Do you have any pets? How do they interact with you while you’re beading?
CS: I’ve always had cats and have 2 now. They jump up on my bead board when I’m stringing sometimes but mostly like to grab the tail thread dangling from my bead crocheting. They sit on each side of me while I’m crocheting.
Beading Storage and Travel Tips
TH: What type of storage do you like to use for your beads and supplies? Any tips you can share on this topic? Do you sort by color? Bead size? Shape? Brand?
CS: Before focusing on projects as an income generator, I used clear shoeboxes and sorted by bead size, then type. But I’ve always been about color and the visual, so I would mix things around for the right color combo and mess everything up (ask my friends!!). I’m a “bag lady” and have my “other” beads in shoeboxes and bags. Stored by project and really not organized since I can’t find things when I need them.
I use clear shoeboxes for primary storage, they’re really my saving grace to store all my beads and organize them by project, allowing for easy inventory when preparing kits for shows. I make sure the original project beads stay in their original bags or tube so I have their colors, and the project’s beads are organized into a small “master” kit with as much info as I can have for future kitting of that project and colorway. I’m sure other people have better systems but it works for me.
TH: Do you bead on the road, like when attending Bead Fest? If so, what is your best tip?
CS: I’m lucky that my beads and work is SO contained when I travel, and I love to take my projects on the road! My bead crochet tube, a crochet hook, thread and beads wrapped up and off I go! On long trips, I do try to take a little bag of my project beads with me, some small pliers, kid’s scissors and notions, and most importantly, my pattern, in case of any problems.
TH: What inspires your designs and propels you into new directions? Nature? Architecture? Life?
CS: I’m really governed by color and the mixing of colors, and most of my inspiration comes from weaving and yarn variations for the most incredible colorways! Fall colors are nice, too. Not to mention new families of beads when they’re released by the manufacturers.
TH: What would you like to share about yourself that others wouldn’t know about you?
CS: I used to be a construction engineer, and faced some discrimination during both college and on the job that really shaped my views about women and women’s work. I founded a women’s newsmagazine, and then worked in technical marketing communications, which used my tech background. Things have come full circle, and I’m returning to construction this fall as a doctoral student, researching the factors that affect women’s ability to succeed in the non-traditional construction and engineering fields.
I’ve traveled to Norway five times since 2015 to visit my daughter and also traveled a bit in Europe. The progressive Scandinavian culture has certainly been a factor in my doctoral choice as has my life and work experiences.
Thank you again, Candice. We look forward to seeing you at Bead Fest and continuing the conversation.
Tammy Honaman, Beadwork Editor-in-Chief and Group Editorial Director, Beading and Jewelry