Bead Show 2011


After a marathon day trip with Nicole (my favorite Bead Show buddy) to the 2011 Bead and Button Bead Show, I am already looking forward to next year. It was just wonderful: a sweet road trip, a ton of beads, and such a nice day spent with a cool girl that I keep around just for this annual pilgrimage. (Joke, Nicole. Joke.) Here’s the run-down.

Bead shopping weakness: yellow. This surprised even me, people. I set out to buy some yellow gemstones for a linky copper necklace I like to make, but I came home with at least five different strands of yellow beads. Rich ocher and golden honey yellow were mis favoritos.

Best vendors: I had lots of great haunts this year, but my supreme favorite was a dude named Sandy Schor (yes, I think that’s his real name). His booth looked like gypsy’s caravan: gobs of vintage treasures and patinaed relics. His booth was one of those places where you discovered things you didn’t even know you needed until that moment. I nabbed Georgian copper stampings and a strand of kitschy vintage glass pear beads from the 1950’s fruit fervor trend. (With these I’ll make, what? a tasteful Carmen Miranda bracelet?! I’ll keep you posted.)

Big Pop count: 3. Again I was tempted by the beer booth, but I held out until after the show. At the end of the day, Nicole and I found a great Mexican restaurant called Conejito’s Place where we had the best enchiladas. It was humble and unassuming and packed: I think that’s a sign of good, authentic Mexican food. And the margaritas were great.

Best score: a 16″ strand of aquamarine nuggets for $1. I kept asking the vendor who was end-of-the-day-dumping beads onto his “cheap” table, “Are you sure? Are you sure?!” But he was sure, and I was ecstatic. I didn’t hug him because they’re just beads.

Most excited about: some silver rosary beads that I’ll use to make delicate pendants on a chain (I’ve had an inexplicable Catholic hang-up for a long time) and a huge hank of Afghani coin pendant that should last me until Jesus comes back.


Trends: the Pandora craze has given way to metal stamping and metal work (yay!). Large metal beads, oxidized chain, collage elements (bezels and industrial trinkets), leather cord, gloppy lampwork, vintage cabochons, and seed bead work.


The one that got away: I looked for lentil pearls at a great price and never did find them. Sigh. (Next year!)

And where were . . ?: The wooden beads! This is a legitimate trend in beads, but I didn’t see as many wooden beads as I thought I would. I saw, like, two.