Beads, Jewelry Making, Friends, Laughter, and More Beads at Bead Fest!

Bead Fest was enjoyed by many. We came. We saw. We conquered! Well, okay, we didn’t actually conquer anything (that I know of), but we shopped, beaded, laughed, made jewelry, learned new techniques, shared our good finds with each other, made jewelry, and beaded some more. It was a wonderful 5 days!

This year, I was fortunate to see BeadFest Summer from many perspectives. I taught sponsored classes on wire working with a Beadalon finding form and Swarovski crystals, looming with DiamonDuos and leather cord on the Jewel Loom, and cutting leather with the Sizzix Big Shot machine and Jill MacKay’s dies.

Sizzix key fob by Tammy Honaman Bead Fest Summer 2016

It was my first time at BeadFest Summer as the editor and I was thrilled to have time in my schedule to enjoy a few classes. The first class I took was with Susan Lenart Kazmer. Susan taught many classes but I took her Free Form Structures – Wire & Resin class. We cut, hammered, heated, and formed wire into forms we later filled with Ice Resin.  Here is my bezel all set and ready for filling with resin.

Susan Lenart Kazmer wire bezel made in class by Tammy Honaman. Bead Fest 2016

Here is the sample bracelet Susan shared with us for inspiration. The bracelet is made with handmade links filled with charms in the form of bezels filled with resin, cast resin pieces, and capped twigs.

Ice Resin and wire charm bracelet by Susan Lenart Kazmer

Ice Resin and wire bracelet, by Susan Lenart Kazmer from class at Bead Fest

I took a bead crochet class! Annette  Mackrel offered a beautiful bead crochet design and shared her expertise.

Flower Pod Earrings, bead crochet, by Annette Mackrel, Bead Fest Summer 2016

Flower Pod Earrings by Annette Mackrel, bead crochet, taught at Bead Fest

The bead crochet circle in the design is made with size 11 seed beads, size 8 stripe beads (don’t you love them?), and long drops. The design looks even better in person.

Despite what I thought I was ready for, this class was above my abilities. After two attempts, I deferred creating the design as shown and rather, practiced with larger beads, getting Annette’s help and insight on what I seem to be missing with this technique. She was so helpful, offering me tips on thread tension, how to hold my hands and (the crazy) thread as the first few rows are established. I will apply what she shared with me, practice some more, and then go back to creating the design from class. One day, you will see me wearing these beauties!

The other class I was fortunate to fit into my schedule was a class with Mellissa Grakowsky Shippee. Melissa taught her Pacific Ice design and what can I say, yummy!

Pacific Ice by Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, Bead Fest Summer 2016

Pacific Ice bracelet by Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, taught at Bead Fest

From the tubular herringbone columns of the base bracelet to the centerpiece – a cluster of three-dimensional beaded bezels surrounding Swarovski crystals – it’s a stunner!

Needless to say, this design was not completed in class! Melissa did make sure she covered all bases and spent time working with each person to ensure they had the techniques well in hand. With her help and amazingly well done instructions, finishing this bracelet shouldn’t be a problem, at all. And I can’t wait to finish and wear it! Maybe, I’ll have it done in time for Bead Fest Fall in Tacoma, WA! We’ll see…

Did I mention the shopping? Each day, the show floor was teaming with people talking, laughing, and shopping, and I was one of them! I had so much fun picking up new shaped beads, new colors of seed beads, some raku designs by Maku Studio, glass discs beads by Sheila Checkoway, leather fringe to make tassels with from Lipstick Ranch, some pewter charms also from Lipstick Ranch, and a few other things that didn’t’ make this picture!

Bead Fest Summer 2016 bead and jewelry haulI also made sure to get some of Susan’s new Ice Resin tints by Ranger Industries, Inc. We got to use the tints in class and they make the most beautiful shades of different colors.  So far, I’m loving how they mimic the look of sea glass – soft, muted, satiny (when you sand the surface of cured resin) – and then the luminous effect when paired with Susan’s foils.
Ice Resin tits by Susan Leanart Kazmer as seen at Bead Fest Summer 2016Did you make it to Bead Fest and were you able to take a class? Shop for new beads? Make a new design? Please share a comment or a picture of what you made at

Yours in creativity,

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