Monday, June 10, 2013

Bead and Button 2013 review

Last year, I neglected to write a review of my first experience at the Bead and Button show.  I was completely overwhelmed by the shear enormity of the convention, my classes, the Meet the Teacher night and the shopping (oh my, the shopping).

I needed time to process the week and, unfortunately, lost my "window," so to speak.  I didn't really blog about it and regret that I didn't.

This year, I was more prepared, less overwhelmed and enjoyed the show even more.

This is a pretty big post, so I've bolded section headings.  If you want to skip to a section, feel free to scroll down.


I am currently posting on my classes and will update this section with links as I post

Chain Maille with Rebeca Mojica
Spinner Ring with Robyn Cornelius
Fold Forming with Kim St. Jean
Metal and Wire with Eva Sherman
Right Angle Weave with Laura Andrews
Bead Embroidery with Sherry Serafini

Experience with tools and TSA

This year, I took a only a few seed beading classes and concentrated on metal working.  This meant that I had to bring a few tools with me.  While all of the teachers brought supplies for the class, I did need a few different pairs of pliers, my hole punch and my wire snippers.

The tools I brought with me were under the 7 inch limit set by the TSA.  I packed my tools (including my thread snippers) in a separate bag that was easy to remove from my suitcase.  In the security line, I emptied the bag of tools into a separate plastic bin.  This way, all the metal pointy things were easily identifiable and searchable by TSA and there was no reason to rifle through my suitcase.

At the show, I bought a riveting hammer.  At the Milwaukee airport, I was pulled aside by a TSA employee.  He explained that the hammer was over 7 inches and that he could not allow it on the plane.  He made sure that I understood the policy and thanked me for separating the tools from the luggage.  He was very kind and polite. 

He mentioned many beaders visit Milwaukee for the show and TSA does not want to upset anyone and hoped that explaining the policies would help us in the future.

I was impressed by this employee.  I have heard many TSA horror stories and was happy to have a positive experience (even though I lost my hammer).

So, if you are flying with tools, separate them out from your other luggage and leave your hammers at home.

Monday night bead soup party

Monday night, Kalmbach Publishing sponsored a small bead soup swap in honor of Lori Anderson's book, Bead Soup.

About fifteen of us gathered in the meeting area of the Hyatt and put our packages of beads into a large crock pot.  In turn, we each drew a package.  Everyone had a great time looking at their soups and admiring all the different soups

My soup was put together by Jo Dresden.

I was immediately taken by the colors of the pendant and crystals.  

After I opened my soup, Jo came over to make sure I liked it.  How could I not?  Those are very much my colors and, of course, the more bling, the better.

Not only did I forget to photograph the soup I cooked up, I also didn't write down the name of the person who received my soup.  She said she would email a photo of her creation, so I will post it when I receive it.  (If you are the recipient of my soup and you are reading this, please leave a comment or email me and I will include your name if you would like).

Everyone *loved* their soups and I would say that the event was a rousing success.  Kalmbach repeated the event on Tuesday night and I would venture to guess that it was just as fun.

Just as in Lori's bead soup blog hop, the participants are supposed to create a piece of jewelry with their soups and send a photo to Kalmbach.

Look for my piece in a few weeks.

Meet the Teachers

Last year, I wasn't sure what this event was and almost didn't buy a ticket.  Wow .. was I surprised.

Meet the Teachers is a huge event.  Each instructor has a table and displays he patterns, jewelry samples, books, etc.  It is a festival of eye candy.  Bead and Button offers classes in a wide variety of techniques and Meet the Teachers is a great place to see the specialty of each teacher and marvel at all the different materials used.

The line for the event stretched around the Delta Center and was in place almost a half hour before the start.  Learning from last year, I planned to wait until about ten minutes after the doors opened before going in.

It is a treat to chat with the teachers and look at the patterns and kits for sale.  Many of the teachers love to know if you have their books or if you made their projects.  

The kits and patterns are a huge temptation, though.  Last year, I bought tutorials and kits that are still sitting unbeaded.  This year, I took wrote down the tutorials I was interested in and took cards from the teachers.  When I get inspired or am in need of a new project , I will know where to look!

Bead market

Thursday night marked the preview of the Bead and Button market.  I had browsed through the vendor list and marked which booths I wanted to visit.

While wandering past the Fire Mountan Gems booth, I was reminded of the Swarovski scavenger hunt.

Basically, Swarovski sent beads to twelve or so vendors and asked us to find those vendors on the shopping floor, gathering a bead or two as we went. 

I ended up with this mix of beads, including a clasp, crimps and crimp covers.

Like the bead soup challenge, we are supposed to create a piece of jewelry using mostly Swarovski  beads.  Hopefully, I will have something to show you soon.

I also passed by the Toho booth and noticed that Toho was also host a bead challenge.  I was lucky enough to enter.  Toho provided  a delicious mix of beads and asked participants to create something with only the beads provided.

I couldn't resist the colors and had to sign up.

Honestly, for someone who had resolved to stay away from challenges for a while, I certainly got myself involved in several.  If you have been counting, that's three in less than a week.

Of course, I also did some shopping.  

I bought these gorgeous copper components from Patricia Healey.  Patricia is famous for the delicious red and orange colors she achieves on copper.  I have no idea how she gets these gorgeous colors, but I am sure glad that she does.

This is a linked pendant chain.  You can swap pendants out easily.

You can find more of Patricia's pendants and charms at Artbeads or Lima Beads.

I grabbed these from Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio.

I love that little zombie face.

You can find more of Melanie's pendants and beads on her website, in her etsy store or at Fusion Beads.

Fnally, I could not resist this treasure from Eriko Page.

If you can believe it, this is polymer clay.  I was struck by the vibrant colors and how Eriko blended the red, orange and yellow into something so gorgeous.

Each of Erika's beads is just as stunning and many look like small oil paintings.  

I picked up matching polymer leaves and a few lovely flowers.

Eriko has an etsy site, though there are no items available right now.  I did find her beads at Sonoran Beads. Definitely take a look.

If you are curious about other things I found in the marketplace (and really wanted to buy), head over to this post.

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork

Kate McKinnon had mentioned a Contemporary Geometric Beadwork meet-up on facebook, so I wore my pagoda bangle, even though it is not quite finished.

It is a bit further along than it was in this post and, as Kate mentioned, it is wearable in all stages of beading.

I was surprised by the number of people who both complimented my bracelet and said, "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, right?"  Kate, you've started a trend!

In addition, I got to see several gorgeous pieces made by Shelly Gross, whom I had seen on Facebook (and whom I got to know during a few of my classes).

I met Barbara Briggs and saw her Sea Dragon wrap in person.  It is stunning!  Barbara has that and many other patterns inspired by Contemporary Geometric Beadwork in her etsy shop.

I also had an opportunity to chat with Suzanne Golden.  She was wearing several of her beaded bangles and they were all popping with color.  Suzanne just has a way with bright colors and her work is fabulous!

Whew!  This might be my longest post ever.

Remember, I'll be reviewing my classes later this week and I will update this post with the links.


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Sorry you "lost" your hammer...what a bummer! Your description of the polymer an oil perfect? How in the world did she get such definition on those beads??!!! Incredible! Your bracelet is truly looking awesome...I hope you wore it with great pride! Gald you had such a good time at Bead and Button and best od luck on all of your challenges!

  2. I love your post! We had a planned visit if the weather didn't so hubby worked. I am off to visit all your names! Glad you had a good time and so sorry you lost your is good to hear a good story from the TSA people.

  3. Glad you had a great time and thanks for the review.

  4. Wow Tanya! This was a fantastic post! I dream about getting to the B&B show one day and now you've totally made me want to go even more!!! :) I'm glad you had a great time. Looks like you did great with your purchases too!

  5. So glad that you had a good time! It's too bad that you lost your hammer, but at least the TSA employee was polite. They searched my checked bags on the way over, but not on the way back, even though I had essentially the same things in my bags in both directions. Weird.

    I've found that they can't scan through several kilos of seed beads when they're all packed together in a big pile, so I take them out of my bag and put them into one of those bins to have them scanned separately when they're in my carry-on luggage. It saves a chunk of time and hassle!

    I'm sorry that I missed seeing you this year! Looking forward to next year!

  6. Great review of the show! It's been almost a week and I'm still processing everything I learned... and unpacking all of my goodies. I look forward to seeing what you make with the challenge kits and your amazing finds in the Marketplace.