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!
Maggie

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


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