Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Favorite 2011 Bead Show Artists & Vendors

For those of you (Anyone? Bueller?) who might want to create a virtual bead show with online shopping, here is a list of my favorite vendors from this year.  Some of the web sites are a little rustic but I am sure if you close your eyes, turn around three times, and say "there is no place like Bead Show," you will get the idea.

I tried to record everything I really loved but I am sure I forgot more than one.  Even though it was only last week, it is already a blur, and my receipts and cards are a mess.  Anyone else who went to the show have faves I missed?

Glass Bead Artists:

Dvora Silberman - beautiful glass, very classy and artistic.

Avenue Beads - I got a number of really nice pieces here - based in Downer's Grove.

Julie Miller - lovely lovely lovely glass.  Little itty bitty vases.  Happy vases.  I did not buy any this time but I WILL.

Patti Cahill - OK, this stuff is in a class of its own.  Whimsical, beautiful, well made, exciting, inspiring.  Sigh.

Beau Barrett - I wanted to buy some of this glass but did not get to at this show, really liked it though, especially the "inside out" beads.

Thornburg Bead Studio - great colors, sense of humor, fun fun fun.  I got some of the squares and discs and am having fun wearing them already.

Marsha Hedrick - wonderful porcelain.

Beads Nest - the web site may be under construction, but the work at the show was wonderful.

Kyoto Studio - unbelievable lampworked flowers.  To die for.

Erin Hook - another web site that is under construction.  Must be busy making beads!  There are some good photos here though, to give you a sense of the talent of this Michigan beader, part of the Michigan Beadworkers Guild (I think, correct me if I am wrong).


MAKUStudio - I bought some from this shop last year, and looked longlingly this year.

Lisa Peters - ditto, above.  I hear she was so popular that most of her new stuff sold out the first night of shopping at the show!  Good thing her older stuff is still so AWESOME.

Multi-item stores / beads and materials:

Knot Just Beads - this is an anchor at bead show, with tons of selection, friendly faces and good prices on everything, including Kumihimo supplies.

Funky Hannah's - great selection of seed beads and good overall assortment.  Plus, if you are in the Chicago area, this could be a great actual road trip!

BeadCats - best best best selection of the tiny tiny tiny ones.  Size 15 charlottes, 16 charlottes, antiques.

Beyond Beadery - MASSIVE sead bead selection.

Raven's Journey - incredible selection, reliable provenance of quality Czeck glass.  Plus, Lenka was really nice to us and loved our jewelry.

Victorian Purses by Sue - wonderful collection of Czech seed beads, purse knit and crochet patterns and supplies, as well as Kumihimo.

Multi-item stores / findings:

Silver Dash - Best. Jump Rings. EVER.   Perfect cuts, perfect circles, right ratios of gauge to ring size for strength.  If you could see me, I would be kissing my fingers.

McDuck Creations- McDuck has terrific not-necesssarily-for-beaders bails and findings, so you can wear your beads without having to fuss.

Grain of Sand - wonderful findings, vintage and otherwise.

Nina Designs - silver and gold, silver and gold... well made, timeless designs, a little pricey, but worth it.

Kits and Patterns:

Cynthia Rutledge - as always, Cynthia was there, friendly and encourating.  I have a couple of kits in the works so I did not buy any, but her work is unparalleled, and her instructions are almost as good as taking a class.

Sabine Lippert - Sabine did not have a booth at this show, but she was in a class with me and I have since checked out her kits and patterns. Wowza.

Leslie Frazier - Leslie taught the class I took and sells marvelous kits.  Ingenious, elegant designs. Very good instructions.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Detail on the finished Tolkien LOTR piece...

Here is the finished "40th birthday challenge" piece.  My friend Fiona and I made this challenge to one another last year, and since our birthdays are both in the coming 6 days, and since this week was Bead Show, we unveiled our work. It took about 6 months start to finish, with lots of other projects interceding.  It also went through many re-designs, mostly which gave me excuses to buy more beads.

The challenge was to create a concept piece using all of our bead-weaving (tiny beads stitched together with needle and thread) skills, designed (with help from books and mags for elements) by ourselves, that would pay "homage" to an author or film director.  I chose Tolkien, specifically LOTR. 

We got loads of attention walking around Bead Show wearing our creations, which was super gratifying. People loved the spiderweb and the Great Eye.  It did make shopping harder, as people kept stopping to chat and take our picture. A few vendors even guessed (with some hints) the inspiration for the piece, and many people asked us what class we took to make them!  I was proud to say that this one, there is no class for this sort of tomfoolery, at least not yet.


From the East. you can see the Elanor flower really well, but I am afraid my leaf of Lothlorien got a little hidden in the end.  The Evenstar hangs down from Samwise's favored flower.

 From the West, you get a good look at Shelob and her web, and hanging down from that the Elassar, which was needed when Aragorn had to heal so many wounded after battle!  You can also get a good look at the Eye of Sauron, which owes a great deal to Diane Fitzgerald's Shaped Beadwork, but which has a free-netted black pupil holding in a black rivoli in a peyote bezel.

Detail of the leaf... my own design, mostly herringbone stitch with some embellishment.

Detail of Shelob, whose legs were a bit wonky.  I did not want to use wire, but if I had, they would have stood a tad more, well, standy.  He is made from two adjacent "plum blossoms" (30 bead spheres) with one fat red bead in her belly to make her look more angry and less cute.  She has 8 red eyes and two little tusks made from size 15 crystal charlottes, so they are almost invisible here.

The One Ring.  Just some embellished cubic right angle weave.  I wanted something that looked old, and heavy, and with enough gaps that one could imagine a message there that only flame could tell...

The Elassar, also owes a lot to Diane.  In Tolkien's description it is set in silver with an eagle behind it, but it was also described as being set in Aragorn's helm.


The base of the piece is a 4-unit lattice, which I learned from a Cynthia Rutledge pattern.  


Making the eye.

While this might be the bit of the piece that to the naked eye is least easily associated with LOTR, this Elanor flower was based on a flower I have always had in my imagination from reading the books.  I based it on Tolkien's own words describing it, and some fan art. 

Well, on to next year's challenge!!!  I learned a lot with this one, it is the first I have ever designed really thoughtfully from start to finished, all by myself.  Also, I pushed myself to pick up new skills in the making. 

Assembly took almost 8 hours, all this Thursday. (Assembly means stitching all the bits and pieces I've spent 6 months making onto the base.)  It was a huge challenge to put it all together with some balance and not be as literal as I had originally intended (moving, map-wise, from West to East with all the items being in their real locale.  Can you say "geek"?