Thursday, April 19, 2012

Philly Bead Fest Spring....with Friends

      by Staci Louise Smith

I have never been to a big bead show.  Berks Bead Bazaar was the only show I had ever attended.  Not sure why I waited.  Perhaps I was scared of how much money I would drop.........perhaps I thought there wouldn't be anything cool there..........WHO KNOWS WHAT I THOUGHT!  I can tell you this, I waited too long!!!!!

So last weekend I went to the Spring Bead Fest in Philadelphia.  A bunch of the friends I met online were going, and I was very excited to meet them (some of them for the second time). 
*I'd like to just say how thankful I am that networking online has opened up some great friendships for me~I am truley blessed*
Melinda Orr picked me up on her way down to the show. We had a blast riding and talking, she is so down to earth and real, just love her! We both work in metals and patina, and have a similar creative spirit.  We found out over and over just how much our minds think alike (or we are totally copying each other, its still under debate). JOKING! There was a lot of joking and laughing and beady fun all weekend between everyone.

We got to the hotel and found Linda Landig there, with Diana of Suburban Girl Studio not far behind. 

I ended up shopping a lot with Linda Landig, who flew in all the way from Washington state. We had fun checking everything out, thinking about how we'd use different beads, ect.  I think we spent a good 1/2 hour in the czech glass booth alone.  We were just in awe of the vast array of colors and textures. 

Then we all met up for the bead swap at 4:30, organized by Diana. Here are all the ladies who participated in the swap.....

(Linda's photo)

I got to trade with Jan Opernico- she makes awesome lampwork beads, and I just love my loot! Look at those teeny tiny round beads!!!  I can't wait to use them in some cool earrings.

And I am a big fan of her oil slick style- love that focal.

Then I won a door prize, since Diana and I had brought extra gifts, more names were picked and I got one of Diana's extra bead bags! Full of the beige tri-connector too, can't wait to use it with some rustic copper! 

After the swap we all got to hang out a bit, here is Melinda showing us her new patina...

photo by Linda Landig

After that we got to take Erin Siegel's class Bohemian Knotted Earrings. We learned to use waxed linen and I just LOVE this technique. I already gave my earrings to my sis-in-law, and I didn't get pics, but they were cool and I am definitely going to add this to my jewelry.

We also got a sneek peak of the book that Lorelei and Erin wrote, Bohemian Inspired Jewelry. I do not buy many books on jewelry, but this one is sure to get added to my collection. It is so very well done, with lots of beautiful projects and step by step pictures. They did great!

Over the course of the day, Melinda and I kept picking out the same the same color beads during our class, great minds think alike. I would love to hang in the studio with her for just one day!

Here Melinda is copying me again (I kid. I was just jealous that she was the fastest at making the knotted earrings)

picture by Erin Siegel

picture by Diana

picture by Erin S.

I didn't get to go to dinner with everyone, but I am hoping in August I can stay over and hang out more. It looks like they had a great time. 

I did bead shop while I was there. The only thing I really needed was some more pearls, stick pearls mostly, in peacock. But I allowed myself to pick up some one of a kind things I can't really find anywhere is my stash I came home with.

HUGE HUGE pearls.

Giant center drilled riverstones. My first buy, HAD to have them.

GEMSTONES top to bottom- top drilled chrysoprase, stick chrysoprase (can I tell you how happy I was to find some variety in stick shaped stones!!!!!) shell beads, top drilled opal (boulder opal maybe??) and huge giant lapis stick / rectangle style beads. And that was the smallest strand they had. Some of them were massive. I LOVED all the chunky, rough, odd gemstones I found.

Then Diana took me to Hands Of the Hills. This had to be one of my favorite stops. Everything was very rustic and tribal, and thats the look I am going for this season. Here is my loot from there......recycled african glass beads (will compliment my sea glass perfectly), fossilized coral that is drilled so it hangs like lily flowers, and lots of brass bells. I must have an anklet that jingles with them. I also thought they be nice additions to my charm necklaces.

It was so much fun.  I am absolutely hooked on Bead Fests.  Not only are there lots and lots of beads (really unique things I can't find anywhere else), classes to take and learn new techniques, but there are friends.  I can't wait until the August show, where I hear there is much more of a handmade presence. 

Here are a few things I made since I have been home. 

These hoops are made with hammered brass, the new pearls I got, and antique brass bells.  I just loved the thought that many women have probably worn these bells in various ways, and all of them must have felt beautiful. 
These are made with my new pearls, sea glass, and some kyanite shards.  These earrings are hammered copper and handmade sterling silver earwires.
These were made with the blue trade beads I got and sea urchin spines I had picked up at Berks Bead Bazaar.  They have the same findings I made for the top two pairs.
I can't wait to make more!
Wow!  That was a long post.  I have never been known to be short on words, thats for sure.
So how about you, do you bead fest?  Have you ever met up with new friends there?  Any good stories?


Kalaya Steede said...

Jealous! Never been to a bead fest. Last weekend there was a bead show and this weekend our local bead shop is having a Trunk Show. That's as close I have gotten to a bead fest. Hopefully one day I'll get to go and meet all the fantastic people I have met on line. Until then...

p.s. Love the earrings!

Julie Holmes said...

Looks like a fabulous time! The earrings are gorgeous and I can't wait to see what you make next!

Stacie Florer said...

I was just reading Cindy Wimmer's experience! What a great time you must have had! Love the beads you came home with and what a great way to use those center drilled beads!! Love that!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

That was an AWESOME post! I think I overuse the word awesome sometimes, but that is all I can think of when I am "wowed" (not sure if that is a word) by what I see. You look like you had a blast! I hope to be able to go someday.... It will take planning.

Artisan Beads Plus said...
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Off the Beadin' Path said...

Many of us are looking forward to the Bead & Button Show, I'm just about 4 hours away. It's my 3rd time, so there's some familiar faces! Shopping with a beady buddy is the best! You all had a wonderful time and what buys!! Those pearls are keepers! Love the necklace you're wearing, too! The new earrings are a great look, please show all!

Cindy said...

Sure loved reliving the weekend by your great post! And no it wasn't too long - i enjoyed every single picture. You got some amazing beads at the show - wow. And our knotted earring class with Erin really was a blast, wasn't it? It was great to meet you in person! - A weekend to remember! :-)

Shelby Foxwell said...

Looks like yoiur girls had a great time! What a great haul! Love the earrings you've done already! I'll most likely be attending in August too. I love BeadFest, you see a little bit of everything there!

stacilouise said...

I hope to make it to Bead and Button someday! I'd have to fly there, so it would be is a business expense however..............

And yes- soooo fun, the class the ladies, great experience.

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