I have to confess, I was spoiled by attending Embellishment at a very young age. It was a fantastic, huge, multi-disciplinary bead/embellishment/craft show in Portland, OR. Unfortunately, it has gone the way of the dodo, but I still buy from vendors I found at those shows…and miss going to a large bead show. There doesn’t seem to be one held in the South-East. We do have Intergalactic and the American Bead & Gem shows though – they both travel through the larger cities a couple times a year. Yesterday I decided to brave the 100 degree heat to attend the ABG show at a new location.
While sparsely attended, the new location had lots of bright, natural light in each room. And honestly, while I know the vendors were a little disappointed with the turnout, it’s nice not to have to elbow your way to the beads! I have attended these shows for the last seven years or so, and know several of the vendors by name, others by sight. It’s always a nice little reunion. Now, for me, the one downside of these shows is the lack of a seed bead vendor. There is usually one or two people selling a few seed beads on closeout, but you can’t count on it. So I usually go in just looking for something new/old/interesting/shiny or otherwise whimsical. Here’s what I found this time:
I had hoped to encounter some ancient Roman glass…I’ve been wanting to acquire my own strand for awhile now. The Afghani vendor had some really fantastic strands – epic strands with gorgeous iridescence…that I could never afford. Then I noticed these funky little strands – lots of color…and BIRDS!!! Ancient glass bird beads! WHAT?!?! When he noticed my interest, the vendor came over and explained that these beads were cut from broken glass bangles. So cool, don’t you think?
I had to pick up some of these patina’d copper eye and scarab charms. The scarabs are light enough I might be able to wear them on my hoops. And the eyes were just irresistible…I love eyes, and their ancient, worldwide symbolism.
One of the vendors I know by name is Leo. He always has gorgeous quality pearls and stones…and fantastic discounts. I suppose it helps that I was introduced to him at one of the Knoxville shows by a mutual friend. Today I walked away with some super smooth and flashy labradorite ovals, gorgeous pearly gray moonstone, large grape coin pearls and hilarious bubbly white star pearls. I’m beginning to have quite a collection of star shaped pearls, but some of these are super teeny, and others have round pearls attached. They just make me smile.
I picked up this strand of painted powder glass beads from Melody of Soul of Somanya. Melody and her Ghanaian counterpart run a 501(c)(3) non-profit that teaches jewelry making skills to young adults in Ghana. She brings their creations and beads back to the US, and travels the regional bead shows every weekend. I’m always impressed with the quality and design of their powder glass beads, and usually pick up at least one more strand for my collection. I love how dainty these are, and look! More eyes! You can learn more about Soul of Somanya on their website, or shop their Etsy page. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
This was my last purchase of the trip…I know, you’re probably groaning “oh Lindsay, dyed Magnesite? Really?” Well, yes, these made me happy! They remind me of a fresh box of crayons. I’ve also seen a lot of people making really cool jewelry out of this shape…I already have ideas on how to work them into my style…now if only I could find time to bead sometime this year!
Don’t miss out on your small local bead shows – you never know what you’ll find!