Our Bead Fest Wish List: Classes We Want to Take, Supplies We Want to Buy!

Bead Fest feels like a big party to me. So many people come together to celebrate jewelry making and beading. Talented instructors set up shop to share their latest and greatest techniques. So many vendors haul in their wares, set up beautiful displays, and share their latest tools, beads, and jewelry-making supplies. They also roll out inspiration in the form of finished designs and demonstrations so we can see how to put these products to good use in our own studios.

Here in the Interweave office, we help get the show in order but like you, we have to wait until the doors open to really take it all in. From what we’ve seen so far, this year, whether it’s your first time or your 15th time attending, you will not be disappointed! To follow are some of the things we are looking forward to. . . .

Bead Weaving Workshops

Kim Leahy is teaching at Bead Fest for the first time. I’m having a really hard time choosing which of her workshops I want to take, as they are all intriguing! Warrior Bracelet will likely get the nod—I just love the raku cabochon in this design and welcome the chance to bead embroider!

Kim Leahy's Warrior Bracelet at Bead Fest

Kim Leahy’s Warrior Bracelet

It could be Kim’s Voyager Bracelet also wins as I’m really intrigued by the use of cutlery in bead embroidery!

Kim Leahy's Voyager Bracelet

Kim Leahy’s Voyager Bracelet

Time with Agnieszka Watts would also be wonderful, so I’ll see if I can fit in another class before we roll up the carpet on Sunday, August 18. You may recognize Agnieszka’s name from the pages of Beadwork but until you see her booth, her bead weaving kits, and take a class with her in person, you really don’t have the full picture. If you’re heading in for Bead Fest, don’t miss the chance to visit with this lovely lady and definitely consider taking one of her classes. Her Industrial Beauty Bracelet catches my eye every time I scroll the BeadFest.com website, but she has many others to choose from.

Agnieszka Watts' Industrial Beauty

Agnieszka Watts’ Industrial Beauty

On the Bead Fest Show Floor

Every year, once the vendor hall opens, I make a beeline for Artisan’s Alley. Here you’ll find the latest handmade treasures that will be perfect for your next design. Diane Hawkey always brings whimsy and a bit of sass with her latest ceramic designs. You can stock up on lampwork beads from Kris Schaible and Pumpkin Hill Beads. Visit with Maggie Thompson (yes THE Maggie Thompson also from the pages of Beadwork magazine), check out the latest beads and supplies at Beyond Beadery, hang out with Wyatt White in the Beadalon booth while you learn some of his tips and tricks, and oh, so much more! There is barely enough time to see it all—but you must!

–Tammy Honaman, Editor of Beadwork

Making Shanna Steele’s Snakeskin Bracelet

Shanna Steele’s Snakeskin Bracelet class is calling my name. I love the bold, colorful pattern and the substantial weight of this stylish cuff. It’s made with peyote stitch, which is my favorite, but I’ve never tried weaving it with these shaped beads. It would be fun to give it a try with guidance to get through my mistakes.

Shanna Steele's Snakeskin Bracelet

Shanna Steele’s Snakeskin Bracelet

Shanna was a Beadwork Designer of the Year in 2018 and has contributed many gorgeous projects to the magazine. Her designs put a fresh spin on traditional stitches. She started beading as a creative outlet – I can relate! I’d be excited to learn from Shanna.

–Katie Hacker, Interim Managing Editor, Beadwork

No Wrong Way to Bead

There are so many colorful, creative, and unique beading classes at Bead Fest this year, from kumihimo to shaped-beaded masterpieces and so many more. In particular, some of the more organically driven projects are catching my eye right now.

Look at some of the beautifully freeing designs you can make at Bead Fest! Join Cheryl Erickson for her class on Freeform Brick Stitch.

Look at some of the beautifully freeing designs you can make at Bead Fest! Join Cheryl Erickson for her class on Freeform Brick Stitch.

The first class on my wish list is Cheryl Erickson’s Freeform Brick Stitch. It uses brick stitch as a base, of course, but its freeform nature allows you to take your design in pretty any direction. I love how traditional brick stitch allows you to create any pattern you want (like butterflies), but now I’m even more intrigued knowing that you can embrace an experimental attitude to see what you come up with.

Are you game? Accept Cheryl’s invitation to “break all your inhibitions” and build yourself a masterpiece with color, multiple bead shapes and sizes, and a variety of stitches.

Patterned fish, colorful beetles, creative faces and more! Create your embroidered visions in Ellen Solomons’ class, Bead Embroidery: Design and Paint Your Own Canvas at Bead Fest.

Patterned fish, colorful beetles, creative faces and more! Create your embroidered visions in Ellen Solomons’ class, Bead Embroidery: Design and Paint Your Own Canvas.

Another class that sparks my curiosity is Bead Embroidery: Design and Paint Your Own Canvas with Ellen Solomons. This looks fun for many reasons: well, just look at the picture above! Having learned a lot about bead embroidery from Kinga Nichols and Sherry Serafini, I’m especially excited about this creative method of essentially “drawing” with beads.

With Ellen, you’ll learn about the principles of design and color, transfer your design to foundation, paint the foundation to your liking, and then embroider your piece with a variety of stitches. You’ll even finish it professionally and learn how to make it into an amulet bag. The hardest part might be deciding on a design!

– Tamara Kula, Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group

Exciting Workshops at Bead Fest

So many workshops, so little time . . . I couldn’t pick just one. I am totally into monochromatic jewelry and these two really caught my eye as I was perusing the workshops, so these are on my wish list!

Luella Necklace by Kaska Firor

Luella Necklace by Kaska Firor

Luella Necklace by Kaska Firor – Wire weaving is something I have dabbled with but never mastered. I absolutely love the look of antiqued sterling silver wire that’s been woven and then polished to bring out the depth and texture. That, plus the Victorian styling of this necklace made it a shoe-in for me. I can’t wait to learn the magic of freeform wire weaving and practice using templates to aid with shaping the large gauge base wires. I think the most valuable thing I will learn is the secret to keeping weaves even and consistent. Plus we get to play with fire when Kaska shows us some torch skills for drawing beads at the ends of wires. That’s always a plus!

Sweet Lady Pendant by Diane Dennis at Bead Fest

Sweet Lady Pendant by Diane Dennis

The Sweet Lady Pendant by Diane Dennis jumps right off the page for me. The silver and pearls combined with the intricate detail makes my heart go pitter patter. The rich detail makes this pendant look like an exquisitely detailed reliquary to me. Diane designed this necklace after a photo of an antique necklace and it took her over a year to gather the right materials and perfect the design. I am looking forward to taking the easy route that Diane has laid out for her students by taking this class. If you’ve got experience stitching herringbone and circular peyote, don’t let the advanced level of this class scare you off.

Can’t wait to see you at BeadFest!

Meredith Steele
Technical Editor, Beadwork

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