Meet the New Beadwork Editor Plus Five Free Peyote Patterns

Meet Beadwork’s New Editor, Melinda Barta

by Marlene Blessing, Editorial Director

As of the February/March 2009 issue of Beadwork, Melinda Barta is our new editor of the magazine. I wanted to share a little of Melinda’s story with you. Believe me, she’s every beader’s new best friend—sharing your passion (often obsession) for exploring the infinite possibilities of designing with seed beads.

Melinda has worked at Interweave for six years, beginning as an intern, then assistant editor on PieceWork magazine. In the past couple of years as our managing editor at Beadwork and Stringing, she demonstrated that she was “one with the bead” and ready to help us launch a freshly redesigned, refocused Beadwork (subscribe).

Marlene: What’s your first memory of an important encounter with beads?
Melinda: When I was seven, I bought a daisy-chain bracelet an at airport store. I was so curious about how it was made that I studied the thread path and taught myself how to duplicate it. I’m fascinated with structure, how things are made. And I like to make things.

Marlene: I’m not surprised to learn you were a “grid brain” at such an early age. Does this talent/penchant run in your family?
Melinda: I’ve always liked the techie parts of things. A lot of people in my family are engineers, including my dad and one of my sisters.

Marlene: When we both ended up on the same holiday flight to Seattle this past December, I noticed you were lost in beading. Is this par for the course?
Melinda: I’m lucky. My work is really play for me. I bead when I’m a passenger in the car (my Challenge piece in the February/March 2009 issue of Beadwork was made almost entirely in the car). I love to bead on airplanes—it helps to pass the time and the direct lighting is surprisingly perfect. I even bead when I’m camping. I once beaded by a campfire.

Marlene: You’ve taught at several prestigious craft schools, including Penland School of Crafts. Plus, you’re teaching at many of the Bead Fest shows. What do you like most about that experience?
Melinda: I love seeing the excitement on the faces of the students when they learn things. The students teach you so much more than you can teach them.

Marlene: In 2009 and beyond, what do you hope to bring to Beadwork?
Melinda: We’ll be surveying our readers after each issue to learn even more about what they want. It’s all part of creating an even stronger Beadwork community and the best magazine ever. I’m looking to develop new designers, too, as well as continuing to work with some of our readers’ favorites. (See the submission guidelines if you're interested in contributing.)  I also want to introduce our readers to new spins on their beadwork—especially incorporating a variety of materials with their seed beads. 

Marlene: What’s one of the new features in Beadwork that’s most exciting?
Melinda: The “Designers of the Year.” We’ve selected four bead artists—Jamie Hogsett, Jean Campbell, Lisa Kan, and Marcia DeCoster—who will each create an original design every issue for one year (starting with the February/March 2009 Beadwork). Anyone who’s had at least one design accepted for publication by September will be eligible to be selected as a “D.O.Y.” for 2010. It’s a great way for our readers to get to know some of the best designers even better!

Join Melinda and the rest of our team in the continuing journey of Beadwork Magazine by subscribing today! 

To have even more fun learning and designing with Melinda Barta, buy her newest Interweave books, Mixed Metals: Creating Contemporary Jewelry with Silver, Gold, Copper, Brass, and More, coauthored with Stringing editor Danielle Fox, and Custom Cool Jewelry, a book that teaches the many secrets of creating customized components for your jewelry.


New Free Peyote Stitch Pattern eBook

Our first free beadweaving pattern ebook features 5 peyote stitch projects, plus two full pages of step-by-step illustrated instructions on even- and odd-count peyote, and a sheet of peyote stitch graph paper for creating original jewelry designs.  Download Peyote Stitch Projects with BeadingDaily: 5 Free Peyote Stitch Patterns 


Marlene Blessing is the editorial director of Beadwork magazine and co-author of the four books in the Create Jewelry series:  Pearls CrystalsStones, and Glass (available February 2009).  She is also a frequent presenter on the PBS-TV series Beads, Baubles & Jewels.


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