Jewelry Making and Beading Fun Abound at Bead Fest Shows

Bead Fest is so special to me, and not just because it’s my favorite bead and jewelry-making show. I’ve been attending (and working with the team who started Bead Fest) from the very first show. It’s been like one of my children — I’ve had the chance to watch it grow, succeed, and make people happy.

Recently, the Bead Fest staff asked me a few questions, here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Q. What has it been like attending as an “Interweave celebrity”? Do people recognize you? Have you experienced any memorable fans?

A. Having been in the business for over 20 years and having been blessed with many opportunities to be seen on camera, it’s possible to have people come up to me like they know me. I wish I could meet everyone in our industry, so anytime I get the chance to say “Hi” to someone in person; it’s a good day.

When I’m with my family (say at breakfast) and someone comes up to meet me, it usually freaks my family out. I think they kinda like the thought of me being famous. I remind them I’m still just me and no different than the person I just signed a magazine for.

And really, I’ve had so many wonderful things come into my life; I’m more than happy to share all I can, anytime, anywhere so I welcome everyone to stop me to say “Hi” and ask me questions.

Q. Are you planning on taking any workshops this year? If so, which ones​?

A. Since I’m not teaching at Bead Fest this year I will definitely sign up for at least one class. Last year I took a great class with Susan Lenart Kazmer where we did some metal work and covered some great ICE Resin techniques.

Susan Lenart Kazmer cages neckwire

Cages Neckwire by Susan Lenart Kazmer

I also took a few seed beading classes. One amazing class with Melissa Grakowsky Shippee and a bead crochet class (which I did terrible at!).  Annette Mackrel was an amazing teacher and I a good student but I just couldn’t get it! I’m still working on it and won’t give up. Promise.

bead crochet, Barb Switzer, Annette Mackrel

Bead crochet earrings by Annette Mackrel

This year I’m feeling something metalsmithy (not really a word) and I’m thinking The Poison Ring by Richard Salley or maybe the Natural Prong Set Pendant with Jeff Fulkerson (but I better hurry up and sign up before either sells out!).

Natural Prong Set Pendant by Jeff Fulkerson

Either way I can’t go wrong, right? They’re both amazing artists and wonderful teachers. Spending a day learning their techniques, tips, and tricks, AND making something — woot! Lucky girl! And yes, I totally get how fortunate I am to be able to take a class and call it work. I don’t take that for granted, not one day.

There are really so many classes that caught my eye it will be hard to choose.

Q. Who’s your favorite BF instructor? Fave exhibitor?

Many of the instructors and vendors are my friends so whenever we’re at a show together it’s fun to be walking down the hall and say hello as we pass, find time to share a quick coffee in between teaching, visit at a booth, share a demo space, or grab a bite at the end of the day. It’s really such a great time but there’s never enough of it! Each Bead Fest show I try to get to as many classes as I can, peek in, say hi if there’s a break in the action, offer a hand, and meet the new teachers.

four hole metal punch for riveting and other techniques

Eugenia Chan showing me her four-hole metal punch at Bead Fest Summer.

Each show I’m on the hunt for something. Really, any show I attend I like to have a mission but especially at Bead Fest  — you can never have too many beads, right?  My plan of attack this year will be to make a good list, and this year, I really mean it! A good list will even include my gift ideas for the holidays.  Not only can you find an amazing variety of beads, seed beads, tools, and jewelry-making materials on the show floor, you can also find gifts (for you or someone else) like scarves and chime bowls, as well as display ideas that will help me kick up my photography props.

I hope to see you at Bead Fest this year. I’ll be on site so please stop me if you see me. I’d love to meet you and find out about your passions or maybe, help you shop! The only thing better than having a mission is to help someone else with theirs.

See you soon!


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