Leather Supplies and New Metal Pendants from Antelope Beads
One of the things I love about hitting the bead shows like Bead Fest Philadelphia is all the great ideas I get for new beading and jewelry making projects! I knew there was something cool in the Antelope Beads booth at Bead Fest when I walked past it, saw rolls and rolls of brightly colored leather and racks of amazing metal beads—and a line of customers that stretched out into the aisle five or six people deep.I went back later when things had quieted down a bit and was immediately glad that I did. That brightly colored leather, Regaliz, is one of my favorite new beading supplies. The colors and styles of Greek leather available through Antelope Beads has inspired me to use some new materials and design some new beaded bracelet projects!
If you’re new to Antelope Beads, you’ll definitely want to take a look through their catalogue! This Florida-based bead business was founded by dedicated crafter Laura Bittner, who became entranced by Kazuri beads. These ceramic African beads are known for their bright colors and decadent designs, making them perfect as centerpieces for necklaces, pendants and other hand-crafted works of art. The company is now owned and operated by Kelly Wright.
Besides the fact that these beads are utterly gorgeous — and perfect for those looking to add an eye-catching statement to their masterpieces—they’re also ethically made. Each one of Antelope Beads’ Kazuri beads is hand-crafted at a fair-trade co-op in Kenya that employs primarily single mothers. Besides gorgeous Kazuri beads, Antelope has begun to expand its offerings to many wonderful pieces of leather and other jewelry making supplies. We’ll cover some of the latest and greatest Antelope offerings here.
Regaliz Greek Leather and Findings
Since I’ve always loved the technique of beading around pieces of plastic tubing from the hardware store, I was really excited about the possibility of beading around these colorful pieces of thick Greek leather. The name “Regaliz” means “licorice,” and this was certainly some of the most scrumptious leather I’d seen in a long time. I was even more impressed when I saw some of the samples of beaded leather bracelets that were on display, and found out that it’s quite easy to drill holes in the leather for accommodating things like head pins and eye pins, and for attaching chains and other embellishments.
The bright colors are what originally drew me to the booth, and I was delighted to see that they also had leather with channel-set Swarovski crystal chain. Talk about an instant jewelry project: to make a flashy, cool, leather bracelet, all you have to do is trim the leather using a large X-acto blade and adhere a couple of end caps or clasps.
To adhere the clasps and end caps, I purchased a small bottle of their Super New Glue, from EuroTool. I have to admit that I’ve never been a fan of glue when it comes to jewelry making, but this glue was amazing. After just a few seconds, it created a very strong bond between the leather and the clasp. Take care when using it, however — in a moment of distraction, I actually managed to glue two of my fingers together.
While there are so many different ways to finish these gorgeous pieces of leather, you’ll want to look into the line of end caps and clasps designed especially for the Regaliz leather. The sleek, modern lines and finishes of these metal clasps and embellishments won’t overpower your beading designs, and they are secure and easy to use.
Dorabeth Designs Metal Beads and ComponentsAt the Antelope Beads booth, there was also a lovely display of the new Dorabeth Designs metal beads and jewelry making components. These high-quality findings, pendants, and jewelry making components are created by Laurra Fitzgerald and Elaine Teevens using hand-carved precious metal clay molds which are then cast in pewter.
Elaine has been involved for several years with programs local to Monument, Colorado that provide support and employment for individuals with developmental disabilities. Dorabeth Designs utilizes these programs to provide direct employment to adults with development disabilities, so you can feel good knowing that your purchases of Dorabeth Designs metal beads and jewelry help to provide employment opportunities for these individuals!
The pieces themselves are delightful. Whimsical and artistic, they feel substantial in your hands, but are surprisingly light when made up into finished jewelry. I selected one of the awesome octopus cones (to use with the bags of tiny drilled shells I have in my bead stash), and two music-themed pendants for some new beading projects. The range of designs and themes aren’t quite like anything I’ve ever seen before, and I love the attention to detail that has gone into these beautiful metal jewelry making findings.
You can find out more about Regaliz leather and findings and the Dorabeth Designs line of metal jewelry making components on the Antelope Beads website.