Penny and Stephanie of Bead Artistry
Oakland - 2008
This show is always full of creativity in the air. Not as many vendors as other shows but the level and quality of fine craftsman is at its' best. There are many artists showing their finished pieces in lampworking, polymer clay, beadweaving, fiber arts etc. as well as patterns galore. This is the place to find collector beads and unusual pieces for one of a kind jewelry. My find of the day were these amazing little baby eyeball beads. I know I know, that sounds strange but they are miniature such as the ones which Laura McCabe uses in her beautiful beadowork pieces. I am going to make a ring! I finally picked up the Karen Shriver video that had been in the works last time I went to babe. Karen Shriver is a polymer clay artist with cane working that is amazing. You would recognize her Kaleidescope and Celtic canes immediately, because they have been featured in many publications. I can't wait to get started on that project. Lisa Kahn was also there. Her book Romantique is one of my favorite bead books. Love her style of beadwork. My LBS bead artistry had a booth here this year. They are the local bead store where I live and I teach beadwork classes. My friend and I separated as always at the beginning and called each other when we saw things we might each like...other than that I didn't see her until the show was at its' end. I did see tons of familiar faces there which was nice!! My favorite seed bead place continues to be Out on a Whim. Their prices are good and they have such a great variety of bugles, squares, hexes, size 15 delicas in all the great colors you could want. I picked up the gold 15 delicas and gold regular size delicas I had been looking for. Pricey but oh when a bead item has these in them, it shines!!! Classes at the show were the usual. Christi Friesen is everywhere as usual too, and sorry, I am just not excited by her stuff. I don't get it. It seems like stuff I have seen in grade school. I have done polymer clay and guess she is simply a matter of taste. Her things are more dragons and turtles and fish which is not me at all. I do like working with polymer but prefer the sleeker realistic lines of Karen Shriver or Janet Farris. Melanie Potter and myself

Always one of my favorite designers, Melanie Potter of School of Beadwork is an amazing beadwork artist. I have learned so many valuable techniques from her that I finally asked if I could have a picture of her. She is so nice. Her patterns are awesome, and have precise diagrams and photos which are easy to follow. I think I have almost every one of her patterns with the exception of maybe 3!! I have never been able to take a class from her. Her workshops are pretty pricey as are her patterns, but I think the knowledge is worth every penny. Her small beaded pins took quite a while to make, but I have made several for family and friends including one with birthstone colors for my grandmother when she turned 100!

Tables and Tables of Beads

Nikia Angel

Nikia Angel was at the show representing Buy the Kit and she had quite a few kits there. Her kits are pretty easy to follow, however I've only bought one or two. I like talking to her because she is from Albuquerque my hometown and she is a nice and knowledgeable person. Her
Sparkly wheel is a pattern that has been seen
everywhere I think in bead magazines books,
etc. and many designers have taught this with her
permission , in their classrooms. She mentioned that
the Bead Renaissance fair coming up is not
all that great and that the one good
one coming up is Bead Fest Santa Fe which
I want to try and go to since it is minutes
away from Albuquerque. Gail Crosman Moore felting a bead
The beginnings of a felted bead! Demonstrated by Gail Crosman Moore
Ok, the minute I heard them announce a demonstration by GCM I ran to the demo table. First one there and in the front row, I had admired her work for many years. I've made felted beads (my version) but never been able to take a class. Her classes are pricey and usually full. She is a delightful person! I enjoyed watching her use her skillful hands to mold and shape these beautiful colorful beads. Just something about the touch you need to whip them into shape. Of course it is all in how you embellish them and choose a shape that is the true skill! I was so so glad to watch her every move and get the inside tips to having a finished bead. Great demonstration and FREE! Gail Crosman Moore also makes awesome and unusual nature beads. Her acorns were amazing! Her floral necklaces again AMAZING

Kate Richbourg demonstrating uses of the letter
stamps and metal blanks for BEADUCATION
I bought my metal stamps 10 years ago and the metal stamps these days have come a long way. BEADUCATION sells their own font which is a cute whimsical version. I got some neat tips about coloring in the letters and sanding for great effects. Free and lots of information in this demo, it was worth watching. I did buy some of their metal stamps in assorted designs. And the greatest tips by far was the metal hole punch. Why didn't I know about the $15 tool before I spent 39.95 for the scrapbooking version "the Cropadile". As far as I know Beaducation are the only people who carry these metal stamps for metalsmithing, although I wonder if they are the same as the tried and true versions of stamps which the leather workers have used over the years.

Fresno - September 2008
Show is held yearly at the Ramada at Hwy 41 and Shaw. I look forward to seeing some favorite booths. It seemed like they had less vendors this year, but there were new faces I had not seen previously. I immediately hit Bead Artistry's booth (they have a local bead store) and they were offering kits for their caterpillar bracelets. They had lots of glass strands in new styles and shapes that I had not seen before. Melanie Potter is always a favorite of mine and her beadwork is one word, EXQUISITE. She is a published artist and I'm always in awe of her use of size 15's in her beadwork. I always buy a kit or two from her because her instructions are very clear and precise and her illustrations are very very good. I did see Janet Farris who does amazing things with polymer clay and is a published artist as well. Her booth was swamped with polymer lovers, and I never did get to it. I was holding back a bit because I have a trip coming up where I plan to buy lots'o'beads, but then I saw Green Girl Studios...Ok that's when my control was a little challenged. I love their stuff. The vendor told us the story of how Green Girl Studios came about...and how each of their little charms is something that has washed ashore that the 'green girl' , mermaid with legs has found. Green Girl is very fairytale and the charms range from mermaids, tree of life, to fairies and pod or leaf pieces. I bought a lot here!!! If you go to the show early, selection is at its' best and you will avoid the crowds. CCBS has a raffle table with items made by all the members for giveaways. The tickets are only a 1.00 and there are many beautiful hand beaded pieces you can win.
San Mateo - JUNE 2008
This show had lots of gemstones!! Lots of jewelry booths too. I was only interested in the gemstones however, and Maria and I split up at the door. She went to wholesale. In past experience I have found wholesale to not be all that great in pricing versus the regular showroom, but I did find a $2 and $3 strand table with amethyst, citrine, carnelian and basic gems. I've seen those in the stores going for $10 and up a strand. No one was giving receipts which I found odd, so I was constantly asking for itemized receipts. My little calculator came in handy as I added my items before checkout. Sometimes "they don't add up" and it's too late to fix that error once your in the car 300 miles away. My phone wouldn't work in here so we only periodically met up just to check up and compare notes with what we were finding. Maria brough along her roll along cart which is perfect if you are buying in huge quantities like she does. I did take a large shopping bag and wore comfortable shoes. I like this show for the good buys. There are no kits/designers selling their kits, which is fine with me. This is a designers buying market and bead store buying place.
Oakland - 2007
This is the first time I have actually made it to this show. Every year, I was either out of town, or had something else planned, so I was really looking forward to it this year. I had heard it is an 'artists show', with mainly lampwork and artist beads for sale. I took the train for the first time as well, and it was fun! Saved quite a bit on gas, so that was fantastic in itself. Upon entering the convention center it was noticeably empty, no lines to get in, and this was definitely a sign of what was to come. It's a good idea to see if anyone is giving away coupons on line for a few dollars off the entry fee. My friends, who I went with provided all of us with coupons for $2 off. There were a lot of vendors, but it was a bit expensive for my taste. Whim beads is a favorite of mine, they sell a huge assortment of seed beads, triangles, bugles, crystals...and I bought colors and shapes I can't find locally. I also bought some pretty lampwork glass flowers from fireweed beads. They sell on ebay, and had some nice charlottes, that I never never pass up! I didn't take any classes, because none really impressed me, and I can only assume the reason it was very slow the day I went, was because people were either in class, or everyone shopped on Saturday. I was looking for specific things, and finally found them in the last booths I came across. I honestly was a bit disappointed maybe because of all the hype I hear about this show. My bead haul wasn't too bad, and I had a lot of fun talking with Nikia Angel, from my hometown Albuquerque.
Seahorse Pendant from Unicorn Beads
Fresno - 2007
September 2007 - I had the pleasure of working with Doug Ho of Unicorne Beads! I love their lampwork beads, and have been buying them for many of my designs for a while now. The company began in 1967, and people would be surprised to know that the company began as glass artists for Disneyland. They have made many of the the beloved Disney character figurines licensed by Disney. I thought that was pretty cool, so they have a nice history with lampworking and glassmaking. Their beads are made of borosilicate glass which is a break resistant glass similar to your glass measuring cup (tempered glass)and this makes it perfect for jewelry. I heard many people commenting that "they must be made in China" because there was such a large quantity and selection of designs, but this is not true. The beads are all made in the U.S.A., and designed by their company to their specifications. They do use glasswork artists in other states to help them out, but they are not made in China. Remember the YO YO BEADS (no holes!!! just a channel), and the TEAR DROP BEADS featured on OPRAH in the May issue of her magazine? Well these are their original designs! I was happy to see many of my friends stopping by the booth and the booth was pretty much busy the whole day with lots of ooohs and aaaahhhs to go with their comments! Good to see everyone, since I have been a hermit lately beading for some current projects I have coming up this year.
I wasn't able to shop too much this year aside from going to a few of my favorite booths, but I saw many of my students past and present and met quite a few new friends. This years show seemed smaller to me and not a whole lot of new faces. I hope next year they bring in some new vendors.
Beadworks Expo Show
Oakland, California April - 2007
For this show, Marty and I got up very very early in the wee little hours of 4am or so, and actually met up at Starbucks at around 5am. She parked her car and we drove out together in mine to the Oakland Show. I really wanted to leave early to get there from beginning to end. We couldn't have timed it perfect enough, and even got a great space no less than 10 yards from the front door of the convention center!!! AMAZING. I parked at a parking meter spot allowing two hour parking....this we had not expected, so we both scrounged for quarters to fill it up and planned to just return and put in more quarters once the 1 and half hours was we could keep it full. Hey better than $16 or so to park in the garage right???? Inside they hadn't even opened the doors yet, so we stood in line and picked up some free samples at the door of lampwork beads in packs of 4. Very Cool!!! Before we even got in I spotted Vickie Cederquist who makes great lampwork beads! She had a booth here as well, so we chatted a bit and then the Doors opened and as usual the adrenaline rush of
Oh mah Gaaah@#@!!!@!!!**&#!!!&**#@! Look at all the beads!! Which way to go? We were greeted up front by Interwweave Press (Beadworks ) employees first thing. The editor in fact was making some pretty cool little 3d raw (right angle weave) box things, and we signed up for the new on line magazine they will be presenting this month with all kinds of bead stuff info on it. My mission was to find kits and unusual lampwork beads and swarovski components as well as Rivolis. Ok, that went out the door immediately as I saw lots of new cool stuff everywhere. Well, I really need to stick to my mission and I was determined to do that. I think Marty was looking more for kits and informational videos on lampworking and classes. Laura McCabe had a booth with her pieces displayed in person. They are so much more beautiful in person and I was kind of in awe of her and that booth. She gave me a 30% discount for my rivolis I purchased from her!!! Very cool. Not a lot of kits at this show, although I did get a few here and there. I kind of went crazy in the Sonoran booth with all their lampwork beads that have glints of gold in them. I had spent a good amount and told them it was no tax, when they said oh....take three free items...any three items are free which I was like ok,,,, this is great! then when they totaled my bill my 3 free items became added into the price and then given a 20% discount....Uh Huh!!! be careful of this my friend. Check your bills before you pay!!!! My favorite booths were the Ubead crystals (great prices). Melanie Potter and Stephanie Eddy had some pretty kits, and there were lots and lots of booths with lampwork leaves, flowers etc. All in all the show was good, we had fun, and plenty of beads. It's a good idea to go to more than one show a year to get a good idea of what is out there. I completed my mission of getting kits, and rivolis and crystals and then some, so I was happy!

Northern California Bead Society Show
Oakland, Ca.
This show was only 70 or so vendors, so we weren't too sure whether it would be a good show or not. It did not disappoint!!! It was in the Oakland Convention Center and I think the quality of vendors there was fantastic. I saw many of the designers who are featured in our beading bibles like Bead and Button, Bead Unique, and Beadwork magazines, many of them selling great kits of which I went waaay overboard in purchasing and I found a lot of unique items there in the way of lampworking and felting materials. I loved this show! It was amazing for me to see just how many designers come from California. What a talented bunch of designers there are! One of my favorite kits I picked up was from scorpio beads. Her lampwork poppies were so pretty! I also got a sunflower to make another kit. I worked it up the next day, no problem. Very easy to make! You can find the kits here: and tell her I sent you! She collaborates with another lampwork artist who makes really pretty leaves!!! They are wonderful as well. We spent over 5 hours here....I was taarred! I am getting old!! I just can't walk all day for hours and hours like I used to! But What fun and my head is exploding with ideas and patterns and design ideas that there are not enough hours in the day!!!

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