I can’t imagine any hardship greater than attending a huge bead show with literally of thousands of amazing art beads available to view and purchase. Really, it’s almost as bad, if not infinitely worse, than being forced to spend a day in a huge, excessively well-stocked bead store. Nevertheless, I and my companion set off with grim determination on Sunday to spend a few hours at the Bead & Button Show Marketplace.
Okay, okay, this is a complete lie. I was so excited by the prospect of all of the beady goodness spread out before me, that it was all I could do not to run screaming into the convention center with my arms wide open. Not even the imminent threats of flooding and tornadoes could keep me from that venue. (I was told by several artists that the convention hall was actually closed off Saturday night, and people were not allowed to leave for a couple hours due to inclement weather conditions. As Robert Jennick put it, most attendees didn’t find it all that much of a hardship to spend a little extra time with the beads.)
To paraphrase Calvin & Hobbes, there really was treasure everywhere. There is absolutely no way I can do justice to the full scope of the show, but I would like to take the opportunity to show (off) a few special beads that a shopper could find this year.
My first purchase of the day was at ceramic artist Diane Hawkey‘s booth. The moon and sun beads, pictured above, represent some of her new work. She is also well-known for creating beads around both mythic and very organic themes. You will find horned gods, clever-looking beasties and a variety of animals (such as the above bear – I think of it more as an “ursa”, but that’s me) in her body of work. I find Diane’s style to be vivid, strong and completely unique – I am a great fan of hers. Further examples of Diane’s beads can be found on her website or at her Etsy store.
I have also been a fan of lampwork artist Isis Ray‘s work for a long time. Her booth was replete with lovely, colorful sets of beads, as well as larger, intricate focals, including her well-known Frida Kahlo bead. This gentleman is Bacchus, the God of Wine. For anyone unfamiliar with the technique, this bead is an example of a portrait murrina, a bead made by painstakingly assembling a portrait cane from glass, in this case of the profile of Bacchus surrounded by grapes and leaves. Her beads are available at the Pike Street Market in Seattle and at various bead shows throughout the US.
This Sphinx pendant is a Green Girl Studios original, handcrafted by Cynthia Thornton. The bezel is fine silver, the Sphinx is painted polymer clay and the whole piece has been filled with clear resin which (I think at least) gives the piece a nice depth and a storybook quality. I also think that the amount of love and care that is expressed in the incredible detail of the figure of the Sphinx is amazing. If you would like to see the other examples of this type of pendant that were available at the show, please visit Cynthia’s blog. Of course, other Green Girl Studios beads and pendants may be viewed at the company’s website.
Here’s a cool, dotty cube by Joan Miller Porcelain. The level of detail in Joan’s work and her cheerful color palette are always attractive. She collaborates with silversmith Penny Michelle to create whimsical creature pendants (I am particularly fond of their skull pendants). She also makes a truly beautiful series of buttons, for any knitters or sewers seeking something original to put as a finishing touch on a hand-made garment. To view more of Joan’s work, visit her or Penny’s website or her Etsy store.
Here is some new work by one of my favorite lampwork artists, Michele Goldstein. The larger bead is, of course, “Love Sprouts”. I love the moustache in the small set, typical of the sense of humor that you often find in Michele’s work. You can see more of Michele’s work on her website. She has also lately been collaborating with lampwork artist Stephanie Sersich. Their work can be found at the Hearts and Bones Studio.
Last, but not least, it’s Steampunk Time! Art Bead Scene’s own Melanie Lukacs had a beautiful setup at her Earthenwood Studio booth (for pics of the “dry run” of her display, please visit her blog). I know regular readers of Art Bead Scene are probably already familiar with Melanie’s work. Let me just say that her Steam Stones are even more beautiful in person than in the photos. Of course, you can find Melanie’s work on her website, as well.
Needless to say, all of the above is only my own personal stash. If you were there this year, what’s in your Bead & Button stash? And if you weren’t there this year, what are you waiting for? For more information on the show, including next year’s show dates, please visit this website.