Bead Weaving with the Experts — Cheers and Sparkle Included

There is a lot to be said for that moment when you learn a stitch and feel “eureka!” Whether you learn it from a book, a friend, or an online course, you feel such gratification when you finally “get it!” Now, picture yourself at a bead show, surrounded by like-minded people when you exclaim “Aha!” out loud. There are cheers, applause, and confetti falling from the ceiling. That would be pretty sweet, right? Well — this is exactly what you’ll find at a Bead Fest event (minus the confetti, but add in lots of other cool stuff).

Learning a new bead weaving stitch is a wonderful thing. Using the stitch to create a beautiful finished design brings a whole other layer of satisfaction. It can also be intimidating to the point you find you’re afraid to start. Well, let one of our expert faculty members guide you along on one of their designs so you can feel that satisfaction and have a beautiful design to wear home.

To follow are just a few teachers that we know will get you to that next level and only a sampling of what they have to offer. Oh, and these designs are chock full of sparkle which makes them extra perfect!

Diane Dennis Bead weaving

Diane Dennis

Faux Marcasite Bracelet
Using a combination of different sizes and shapes of seed beads and the newer Demi beads, this bracelet is delicate in nature and very lightweight. Stitch a dual-layered focal point with a Rose Montee and Swarovski crystal rounds, connecting half-loops to the focal for the bracelet band.

bead weaving
Faux Marcasite Bracelet by Diane Dennis

Girls Just Want To Have Fun
These simple but elegant earrings remind me of the earrings of the glamour girls of the past and the jewelry they wore — Sophia Loren, Joan Crawford, to name a few. These earrings feature chatons and a pear-shaped fancy stone. You have the option of utilizing several options for earring findings, including an ear-wire or a post, so these are perfect just for you (or as a gift for someone special).

bead weaving
Girls Just Want to Have Fun Earrings by Diane Dennis

Shae Wilhite

Shae Wilhite

The Marilyn Bracelet
Learn hubble stitch and turn it from basic to blingy by embellishing — then embellish the embellishment! This bracelet is worthy of long gloves and a walk on the red carpet!

bead weaving
The Marilyn Bracelet by Shae Wilhite

Amy Katz

Amy Katz

Double Vision
Create a sparkly multi-look bracelet with great versatility. Combine a Swarovski *galuchat, crystals, and seed beads to obtain different looks. Wear it to highlight the sparkle or a chain look. Can’t decide? Just wear it down the middle to show it all. Learn how to connect parts and components in a way that adds to the intrigue of the piece. A hidden clasp is also a highlight of this bracelet, giving it more wearing options.

bead weaving
Double Vision by Amy Katz

* “Fascinating yet discreet, Crystal Galuchat’s subdued sparkle is inspired by the otherworldly, sandpaper-like skin of the stingray. It reconnects us with our sense of touch while offering a glimpse of mystery and ethereal magic.” –

Leslie Venturoso

Leslie Venturoso

Arabesque Necklace
This necklace showcases the classic quatrefoil or clover shape. The clover shape is used everywhere in jewelry, architecture, and all types of designs. To some it means good luck (four-leaf clover) or harmony. This elegant necklace will be sure to bring you compliments and good luck as well as amp up your bead weaving and CRAW skills.

bead weaving
Arabesque Necklace by Leslie Venturoso

Cindy Grayson

Cindy Grayson

Earth & Sea Kumihimo Graudating Necklace
Graduating bead sizes has never been easier. Learn how to use a center cord to support beads and prevent collapse in kumihimo. Learn “pattern coding” to easily apply and choose patterns by bead type/size. The goal of this class is to teach you how to begin creating your own graduating kumihimo bead patterns using your own beads

bead weaving
Earth & Sea Kumihimo Graudating Necklace by Cindy Grayson

Quick and Easy Kumihimo Braiding with Beads

Maggie Thompson

Silken Threads Kumihimo Bracelet
The Silken Threads Kumihimo Bracelet is your little slice of the “Heavenly Kingdom!” It features mixed elements of silk cords and seed beads. This unique design is easy to create and even more fun to wear! Learn how to make the basic 8 cord kongo gumi spiral braid, including how to use the necessary equipment. Each student will also learn how to determine bead gauge to determine bracelet length as well as proper braiding tension.

bead weaving
Silken Threads Kumihimo Bracelet by Maggie Thompson

Mary Soucy

Mary Soucy

Lacy Navette & Rhinestone Bracelet
Create maximum sparkle with gorgeous navettes, rhinestone montee beads, and Japanese chain maille techniques. You will learn how to mount rhinestones onto jump rings in a variety of formations. Then, use very basic chain maille techniques to link all rhinestone components together in a lacy pattern. This bracelet is an amazing statement piece that will dazzle the eye with color and glitz.

bead weaving
Lacy Navette & Rhinestone Bracelet by Mary Soucy

Be sure to visit for complete information on the above and all other workshop listings — there really is something for everyone. And stay tuned as there will be other announcements on what more Bead Fest holds in store for you!

See you at the show!
Editor, Beadwork magazine and sparkle girl at heart

Learn from the Experts at Bead Fest: Kumihimo with Maggie Thompson

Hello to all my fellow beaders & braiders! My name is Maggie Thompson and I LOVE to design and make kumihimo jewelry. I started out as a bead weaver 30 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. My design road took an abrupt turn about 4 years ago when my boss at Beadville USA in Chaska, Minnesota, handed me a foam kumihimo disk and said “figure out how to use this—we need to offer some new classes.” Well….she had no idea what she’d begun!

Bead Fest kumihimo with Maggie Thompson
Beadville USA owner Bobbie Wikre (right) and Maggie Thompson (left).

Ever since that fateful day I’ve grown to love kumihimo more and more. It seems I never run out of different ways to use all kinds of beads within my kumihimo designs. It’s kind of like a puzzle for me—how can I use this bead or that bead in a unique and original way?

Bead Fest Maggie Thompson
Hearts Afire Necklace by Maggie Thompson, kits available here.

Lately, my focus has been on designing with my friend Lisa Krupp-Dooley. We created a necklace together called AVA’s Planet that was included in my last eBook, 10 Kumihimo Projects to Braid: Kumihimo Bracelet & Necklace Patterns with Shaped Beads.

Bead Fest Lisa Krupp-Dooley and Maggie Thompson
AVA’s Planet in the Ancient Gold colorway by Lisa Krupp-Dooley and Maggie Thompson, get the pattern in her eBook here.

Lisa is an accomplished bead weaver and comes up with the most incredible beaded beads. We incorporated one of her designs into the Ava’s Planet necklace and the feedback has been great. My eBook features the original colorway of mixed color AVA beads and three different colored braids (hematite, crystal magenta & semi-glazed rainbow soft blue). Since then we’ve come up with an alternate colorway called Ancient Gold. It features copper tones in the beaded beads and three cream colored braids, each with a different “fade” bead color. We had lots of fun creating this colorway!

Holey Tubes Cuff
Holey Tubes Cuff by Maggie Thompson in fuchsia and blue.

My new kumihimo challenge for myself is to offer more of these creative collaborations in both necklace and bracelet designs. Stay tuned to Beadwork magazine for more on these new ideas!

Kumihimo with Maggie Thompson
Kumihimo 3 Ways by Maggie Thompson, kits available here.

I am so excited to make my first visit to Bead Fest! I’ve heard lots of positive feedback from other artists in my area—among them: Adele Kimpell, Doris Coghill, and Suz Klumb. They’ve all been attending for years and thoroughly enjoy their time in Philadelphia. Please stop by to say hello — I look forward to receiving your feedback in person as I unveil a new design I call I Spy. A necklace and bracelet set in three unique colorways also featuring one of Lisa’s unique beaded beads.

Kumihimo with Maggie Thompson
I Spy Earrings by Maggie Thompson and Lisa Krupp-Dooley featuring Lisa’s beaded beads.

In addition to having an exhibitor booth, I’ve decided to jump in with both feet and will also be teaching 3 classes — won’t you join me?

Kumihimo with Maggie Thompson
Oh! Bead Kumi Bracelet Workshop with Maggie Thompson.

Oh! Bead Kumi Bracelet – Friday 8/17 @ 8:30-11:30am

Bead Fest kumihimo
Silken Threads Kumihimo Bracelet Workshop with Maggie Thompson.

Silken Threads Kumihimo Bracelet – Friday 8/17 @ 1:00-4:00pm

Bead Fest Dragonscale
Dragonscale Kumihimo Earrings Workshop with Maggie Thompson.

Dragonscale Kumihimo Earrings – Saturday 8/18 @ 8:30-11:30am

All three of these are beginner classes; however, they will appeal to a larger audience no matter the level. They include a lot of beginner tips & tricks as well as the actual instructions for each project.

Come visit us in my booth and sign up for a class if you can. I look forward to seeing you all in Philadelphia!
Happy braiding my friends!

For quick Kumihimo tips, read: Kumihimo 101: 5 Easy Steps for Braiding Beads, and More Kumihimo Tips

See What’s New and Trendy in Jewelry Making for Bead Fest 2018

Bead Fest 2018 isn’t just for beaders! If you want to learn to water cast metal, weave chain maille, torch enamel, use a host of jewelry-making tools, or delve into many other skills and techniques, you can do that at Bead Fest 2018!  Read on for details about all the 100+ bead and jewelry workshops on offer and sign up today! Continue reading “See What’s New and Trendy in Jewelry Making for Bead Fest 2018”

Bead Fest 2018, Philadelphia – See What’s New and Happening!

Bead Fest 2018 is returning with all the things you love and have come to expect. You’ll find an awesome expo filled with all the beading and jewelry supplies you can’t wait to add to your studio. There will be non-stop jewelry and beading demonstrations happening on the expo floor. And, there’s a great line-up of workshops for every skill level and interest. Check out these workshops featuring new, trending, and hot topics sure to keep your skills up-to-date in the latest techniques and designs.
Continue reading “Bead Fest 2018, Philadelphia – See What’s New and Happening!”

Register quickly before your favorite Bead Fest classes fill up!

Bead Fest Philly 2018 Workshops Are Live!

registration for BeadFest beading and jewelry-making workshops is now open!
Registration for Bead Fest workshops is open now!  Discover new beading and jewelry-making techniques and learn from the industry’s top teachers and experts. Plus, shopping! Dozens and dozens of vendors are bringing beads and other jewelry-making supplies from all over the world. Continue reading “Bead Fest Philly 2018 Workshops Are Live!”