Bead Lovers Meet, Swedish-Style!
|Swedish bead artist Anna Lindell|
From Jennifer: One of the awesome things about learning how to bead is being able to connect with other beaders around the world. When I was a competitor in last summer's Battle Of the Beadsmith, I "met" several lovely (and very talented) beaders from around the world, including today's guest blogger, Anna Lindell of Sweden. Even though we live with an ocean between us, we both speak the same language: the love of beads!
Anna recently traveled to a big Bead Lovers Meet, complete with beading challenges, good friends, good food, and bead shopping! Here's Anna's report on this year's adventures at the Swedish Bead Lovers Meet:
For the last six years, Swedish beaders have been gathering a couple of times a year for a weekend of beading, learning how to bead, teaching and shopping. Over the years we have grown to be quite an extensive family!
A dozen hard working enthusiasts spend months preparing the big bead events for us beaders. They work tirelessly to book a hotel, find sponsors for goodie bag gifts and contest prizes, make sure that beadshops bring their stocking supplies, and get tutors to exciting workshops. When the registration opens for the 150 spots in the Bead Lovers Meet, they fill up fast. Last fall, they sold out in less than four hours!
Last weekend, I went to the Bead Lovers Meet held in Lund, the first big event held away from Stockholm. People travel from all over Sweden to participate. We meet up outside the bead hall hours before it opens, making new acquaintances and resuming old ones. Everyone is in good spirits and the jewelry worn by the attendees is always great!
When the doors open we receive our goodie bags with beads and findings from the sponsors, and an important pamphlet with various information and the contest themes. It's always like Christmas morning, beading style! Within the hour, the tables are filled with tools, beading trays, patterns and supplies. The "bead hall" empties a bit when the workshops start and the room with the beadshops opens.
The "bead hall" is a bubble of creativity, a place away from problems and non-bead-related topics. Everything else is set aside as our minds are all on beading. The room quickly fills with laughter and friendly jibes, and some people stay up almost all night! In the early mornings, you can also find some beaders up before the sun, busily beading away, so the bead hall is almost never empty throughout the course of the weekend.
Meals can be pre-ordered, which is good because it's easy to lose track of time. Even though we consume lots of coffee, candy, water, and fruit between meals, once we get to the restaurant, we find that we're starving! Usually there is a midnight snack late in the evening, a most welcome extra meal for those of us that like to stay up late and continue beading.
The hourly "taster" workshops are held by beaders in all kinds of techniques, and offer lots of new opportunities to learn how to bead. It's great fun both attending and teaching a class, and you learn a lot from both experiencces. For those who like to compete, there are a dozen contests with different rules and time-frames. Prizes are awarded during the gatherings where everybody gets a chance to see the winning entries. At Bead Lovers Meet, we also got a chance to see all entries before the winners were announced, and I greatly enjoyed seeing how all the other beaders interpreted the contest themes.
When the weekend draws to a close, everybody packs up and leave for home. We've all become on big beading family through these big bead events. We know that we'll meet again, but it's still bittersweet to say goodbye and head home. The event continues for days on Facebook, where we share photos and remember fun times. People who can't be at the event are usually a bit envious, but for this Bead Lovers Meet, there was a spontaneous cyber beading event, complete with a contest and sponsored prizes! The Swedish beading family is so wonderful in every way!
No matter what language you speak, beads will always bring us together. If you're looking for a steady supply of great bead stringing projects, artistic inspiration, and all the latest beads and beading tools, you'll want to make sure you subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine.
What's your favorite beady gathering? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and let us know!