Sisterhood of the Traveling Beader

This week I'm traveling from Colorado back to the place where I grew up in Central Illinois for my annual family visit. And while I'm kept awake with excitement every night for a week before a visit "home," I always dread the inevitable task of packing up my beads–because, let's face it, I'm not going without them.

And I got to wondering how all my beading sisters and brothers out there do it, traveling from one show to another and one retreat to another and having to pack and unpack it all everywhere. But alas, it's a problem I'd be happy to have. I've not been lucky enough to travel for a beading adventure yet, but here are a few destinations I'd love to check out when I get the chance.

First stop: Bead Fest Philadelphia. Because I know this event will be outstanding fun, it would give me the opportunity to meet face-to-face with so many artists I've come to know through their work and our online correspondence over the past year and a half, and it's on the East Coast.  And it's just days before my birthday to boot.

Participants at the Beads on the Vine 2013 retreat
at the Edna Valley Vineyard, San Luis Obispo, CA;

Photos courtesy of Melanie Potter

Next on my list: Beads on the Vine. I coveted a ticket to the 2013 retreat for 4 main reasons: Melanie Potter, Laura McCabe, Cynthia Rutledge, and Nancy Cain. Four fabulous teachers, catered lunches from a professional chef, trunk shows, winery tour, beautiful scenery, and 3 days of bliss–what more can a beader ask for? I had the pleasure of meeting Melanie Potter when she was her filming her Bead Stitching Chevron Chain with Melanie Potter DVD, and she's a sweet, well-composed, very talented lady. And I'm a huge fan of Laura McCabe. She recently took second place in the beads category of the 2013 Saul Bell Design Award competition–a high honor. Laura's designs are exquisite. This year the BOTV retreat took place in July, so it's something to look forward to in future years.

A retreat that I just recently became aware of is Beading in the Ozarks. This retreat, which is geographically close to my "home" in the midwest, is surrounded by beauty. The whole area around Branson, Missouri is breathtakingly gorgeous, and any trip to that neck of the woods is a welcome one to me. Beadwork magazine contributors Melissa Grakowsky and Leslee Frumin will both be teaching, and there's plenty of time in the evenings to hang out at the pool or peruse the shops in town. It sounds like a weekend full of rest and relaxation!

Not only would these events be exciting experiences in themselves, but traveling for the passion of beading is a fantastic way to meet people who share this common interest. What a way to make friends all over the map!

What vacation-style beading getaways would you recommend? How do you prepare your stash for travel to such events? Share your places and packing techniques in the comments section below.


Bead chic!

Kate Wilson
Project Editor

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