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bead shows

Art Beads

BeadFest Review

I was thrilled to participate in BeadFest as a vendor again this year. The biggest bead show on the east coast packs 3 days of shopping and classes. While this show is smaller than Bead & Button, it packs an art bead punch thanks to it’s Artisan Alley featuring handmade beads and jewelry designers.

I loved meeting so many enthusiastic jewelry makers and feel completely inspired by the vibe and visuals of the show. And of course, meeting up with my favorite beadmakers and friends is the icing on the beady cake!

Here are some of my newest Humblebeads for the show. I was inspired by the ideal of an Opulent Forest and mixed darker hues with metallic accents, woodland themes, leaves, moths and cicadas played a big part of my display.

Fellow Art Bead Scene team member Ashley Bonney of Summer Wind Art debuted at the show this year. Ashley worked hard to stock her booth with her best sellers and new work.

I had to stock up on a few new favorites! I should have bought twice as much. I love the look the hand-painted touches with the graphic lines on these wood beads.

I stocked up on the star cut semi-precious beads from Dakota Stones. Those adorable acorns are from my friend Julie Nordine of Credit River Art Glass. The leaves are from Ren Fransworth who has an amazing scene of color.

Clockwise from top left: Leonardo Lampwork, I love those tiny little disk beads! I picked up some of metallic and matte lampwork by . I discovered a new ceramic bead artist – Tracey Donoughe. Lampwork disks from HMB Studios. And in the middle are hand-painted metal clay charms from Trixie’s Jewel Box.

I went a little crazy at the Marsha Neal Studio booth, I needed these ceramic disks in just about every color!

Clockwise, top: Some beads I stock up every chance I get and Diane Hawkey’s ceramic word beads and branches are at the top of my list. Wouldn’t be a bead show without coming home with a new pile of Green Girl Studios pewter beads. And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Thornton family, so I picked up a few new treasures from Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery, the polymer leaf pendant in a perfect autumn shade and a silver metal clay pendant with a chrysanthemum design. That rustic and gorgeous moth is from Jenny Davies-Reazor. Be on the look out for more moths from Jenny!

I also picked up a lots of Czech glass, metallic leather and this gorgeous brass that I will be using for bracelets and pendants. I didn’t have much time to shop, but it’s amazing what you can sneak in a few minutes before the show and an hour of power-shopping!

A few trends I noticed: lots of bug designs such as moths, fireflies and cicada beads. Metallic finishes and ‘mercury glass’ coatings on beads. More organic, rough textures in the handmade bead world were spotted. Rose gold and raw brass offered a fresh metallic touch to designs. I saw lots of bead frames and cluster style pendants. Wire work was everywhere, combined with every style of beads. Leather was another fiber I saw often worn on the show floor. And another trend I saw was crocheted chains embellished with the beads to show off artisan pendants.  I pinned a few examples here.

Did you attend the show? What caught your eye this year?