Thankful for 20 Years! Beadwork Celebrates 20 Years of Publication

This Thanksgiving, the Beadwork staff is looking back over the past 20 years and staying thankful for the beading community that has supported this magazine. Thanks to all who have contributed to the magazine over the years — our readers and gifted contributors, along with a talented staff of editors, designers, illustrators, photographers, marketers, and advertising teams have helped Beadwork become what it is today!

Over forty years ago, Linda Ligon founded Interweave on her dining room table. Twenty years ago, Beadwork was launched as the premier magazine for passionate beaders. Join us as we relive highlights from our history and share special memories from past editors and staff.

How it all started

Here’s how it happened: The editorial staff at Interweave was gathered together for one of our weekly brown-bag lunches, during which we would typically brainstorm or problem solve, or just gossip and tell jokes. The question came up: If we were going to publish a new craft magazine, what would it be about? We already had spinning, weaving, and historical needlework covered.

We filled a white board with ideas. Some of them were pretty far-fetched! Some of them sounded like a lot of fun. Among the latter, beading and knitting stood out. Well, why not? We decided to do a special newsstand-only issue on each topic, just one, no big commitment, just for fun. As if everybody didn’t already have a full-time job.

That first special newsstand-only issue of Beadwork was so successful that we soon made it a regular quarterly subscription magazine. Jean Campbell volunteered to be the editor (never mind that she was vastly pregnant at the time). Twenty years later, it’s still going strong, with an honor roll of editors and contributors who have given it their beady all. So, if you imagine that magazines are born from deep market research, focus groups, and financial analysis, forget it. This new magazine came from creative passion and egg-salad sandwiches.
—Linda Ligon, Interweave Founder
Linda Ligon, founder of Interweave

Memories

Jean Campbell

My biggest impression of the past twenty years of Beadwork is how much the beading community has grown since Linda Ligon launched the magazine in 1997. As its first editor of the regular issues, I found myself scrambling to find a bead shop to buy my own supplies, let alone discover artists who might submit their work. Back then, we had about three books from which to learn techniques, and not many people were teaching. Now the pages of the magazine are filled with intricate, artful, thoughtful designs created with new bead shapes and innovative stitching techniques. The talented people who create Beadwork have been at the forefront all along, leading the way.
— Jean Cox (Campbell), Editor 1998–2005
Jean Cox

Marilyn Koponen

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a part of Beadwork for seventeen of the twenty years we’re celebrating. Advertising sales for the magazine introduced me to a new beautiful craft and, of course, I have my own beader’s stash, know the “beaders handshake,” and love to create jewelry.

Memories that make me smile: Jean’s infamous speeding ticket to an exhibit in Wyoming (March/April 2000), the “skin” issue (July/August 2000), publishing “Egyptian” incorrectly on the cover (Nov/Dec 2000), and the “fruit” issue (Feb/March 2001). I feel blessed to be part of this inspirational, fun, supportive, and creative community.
—Marilyn C. Koponen, Media Sales
Marilyn Koponen

Marlene Blessing

When I became Editor of Beadwork magazine in 2005, I knew far more about publishing than I did about the art and enchantment of seed beads. I also knew that the magazine’s founding editor, Jean Campbell, was a beader extraordinaire. I held my breath! Bead artists such as Jean, Maggie Meister, Cynthia Rutledge, Marcia DeCoster, Lisa Kan, and many more — together with the immensely talented staffers Dustin Wedekind, Jamie Hogsett, Melinda Barta, and Leslie Rogalski — generously welcomed me to the amazing world of seed beads.

I’ll never forget proudly showing Dustin a tubular seed bead design I’d just finished. He knit his brows, then said slyly, “We can call this ‘squaringbone.’” It was a mash-up of square and herringbone stitches, the best I could do at the time. But I was off and running on the journey that beaders know so well — going deep into a world created one tiny bead, one stitch at a time.
—Marlene Blessing, Editor 2005–2009
Marlene Blessing

Melinda Barta

During my time as Editor, I was constantly inspired while working with designers, researching new trends, and connecting with others in the beading community. Whether I was reviewing project submissions, working closely with Designers of the Year, or editing instructions, beads were always the focus, and who wouldn’t love that?

I’m also grateful for the many writers, publishers, and marketers I met along the way—a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes when creating a magazine, and it’s only possible with a strong, reliable team. I remember picking up my first copy of Beadwork while I was in high school, so I’m honored to have been part of such a great magazine’s legacy. Happy anniversary, Beadwork!
—Melinda Barta, Editor 2009–2016
Melinda Barta

Then:
  • Beadwork was introduced as a newsstand-only special issue in 1996
  • Premier issue of Beadwork published Fall 1997
  • Only a small handful of bead shops existed in the United States
  • Fewer than a dozen mainstream beading books existed
  • Very few bead societies existed
Now:
  • Beadwork magazine published 6x per year
  • Digital patterns
  • Online community at interweave.com
  • Informative newsletters
  • Bead Fest events
  • Video downloads, online courses, and DVDs
  • Special issues
  • Thousands of beading books available on the market

Through the Years

UNIQUE ARTICLES

Transformations: From the Mundane to the Magnificent, an interview with Tom and Kathy Wegman, by Diane Fitzgerald, February/March 2003 Beadwork
beaded roller skates

The Wonderful World of Laura Leonard and her Seriously Playful Art, by Mimi Holmes, Fall 1998 Beadwork
Beaded sculpture

Larger than Life: Small Beads Tell Powerful Stories, an interview with Deborah Loop by Marlene Blessing, October/November 2006 Beadwork
Beadwork anniversary necklace

The Giant, bead-embroidered work by Dustin Wedekind, who later went on to write the popular Bead Boy column as Beadwork’s senior editor, Winter 2000 Beadwork
Bead Boy, Dustin

CONTESTS AND TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS

Beadwork I: Up Close (1998-1999)
bead woven sculpture

Beadwork II: The Embellished Shoe (2001)
beaded sculpture from Beadwork contest II

Beadwork III: The Beaded Cloth (2003)
bead weaving from Beadwork contest III

Beadwork IV: The Beaded Figure (2005)
Beadwork IV brings us this beaded yorkie

Beadwork V: The Beaded Bag (2007)
Sherry Serafini bead embroidered purse

Beadwork VI: The Beaded Book (2009)
beaded book

Beadwork VII: The Beaded Earth (2011)
beaded grasshopper

Find more on Beadwork’s Anniversary and the Past 20 years at www.interweave.com.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Beadwork Staff!


Visit the Interweave store for great gift ideas!