Bead Fest Philadelphia 2019 Is Open for Registration!
Get ready to hone your skills, supply your stash, and connect with other beadworkers and jewelry makers! Bead Fest Philadelphia takes place August 14–18, 2019, at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks. Classes begin August 14, and the Expo Marketplace is open August 16–18 for some of the best shopping around. You won’t want to miss it, whether you’re making jewelry for yourself or for resale. It’s a creativity workshop and giant pop-up shop all rolled into one!
The First Bead Fest Almost 20 Years Ago
Almost 20 years old, Bead Fest is the largest bead and jewelry event on the East Coast. There were seven teachers offering 14 classes and exhibitors filling 100 booths when the show began. Editor Tamara Honaman remembers standing at the front door in hopeful anticipation that people would come. A half-hour before the very first Bead Fest opened, people were lined up to get inside, and a worth-the-wait annual tradition was born. Tamara says, “It’s amazing to see how it’s grown. It really speaks to the passion of beaders and jewelry makers and all of our instructors and vendors who make it all possible.”
Bead Fest: 35+ Instructors and Nearly 150 Classes
This year, more than 35 instructors will teach classes on bead weaving, kumihimo, metal clay, polymer clay, metalsmithing, and more. There are nearly 150 classes over the course of five days, so you can learn a new skill or take your favorite technique to the next level. Plus, all students receive a free three-day Expo Marketplace general admission pass when you register for at least one three-hour or longer workshop. You’ve seen many of the instructors’ projects in the pages of Beadwork. Their classes present the unique opportunity to spend time with and learn alongside them.
Instructor Susan Lenart Kazmer teaches at Bead Fest every year. She says, “I have very inquisitive, interesting people from all walks of life in my classes there. I have creators from movie sets to students who are professionals in the field of jewelry and just need to replenish their creative juices. Also, I love that if a student forgets to bring something, they have easy access to cutting-edge tools and materials right on the show floor.”
Bead Fest: 200+ Vendors
More than 200 vendors from across the country typically exhibit at Bead Fest’s Expo Marketplace. You can shop, meet the artisans and exhibitors, and connect with people who love the art and craft of making jewelry. Many vendors provide demonstrations of their products, such as new tools, or ideas for using their creations in creative ways. You’ll find everything from handmade one-of-a-kind beads and components to jewelry supplies to expand your stash.
Artist Diane Hawkey says, “Bead Fest was my first ‘big’ bead show about 15 years ago. It was exciting for me because a brand-new audience on the East Coast got to see my work, and I got to meet so many bead artists. I was sort of starstruck that first time. I think I’ve done Bead Fest every year since then. My favorite part of the show is Artisan Alley, where the artisan bead makers are all grouped together. There’s so much amazing creativity in one place. It’s also where I meet my best friends who are bead artists. It feels like a bead party down our aisle.”
Plan Your Trip and Register Today!
If you’re looking for a quick dose of inspiration, you’ll find it in the inexpensive, speedy Make-It Take-It projects in the Expo Marketplace. A variety of vendors will share their newest products in fun, trendy jewelry designs that you can complete on the spot. If you don’t have time for a class or can’t commit to a workshop, this alternative allows you to try a new product or technique in a more laid-back setting.
Whether you take a class, shop the Expo Marketplace, or both, there are plenty of opportunities to find inspiration at Bead Fest. If you’re traveling from afar, there are hotels and restaurants close to the event. Connect with other beaders, supply your studio, and add more techniques to your skills at Bead Fest Philadelphia!
Katie Hacker is Interim Managing Editor of Beadwork and the host of Beads, Baubles & Jewels on PBS. You might bump into Katie shopping the aisles at the Bead Fest Expo Marketplace.