…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist
by Warren S. Feld

Excerpts From This Ever-Evolving Tale.....

I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.|





Bead shows travel across the country, back and forth, and come to many of the mid-sized and larger cities and towns across the US, as well as some smaller places. Bead shows showcase many vendors who sell beads, gemstones, cabochons, findings, books, supplies, and other things related to beading and jewelry making. Some are small and may have 20 vendors; others are very large and have hundreds of vendors. The bead show of all bead shows occurs in Tucson, Arizona every January/February, with a smaller repeat in September.

The bead shows are there to overwhelm you with choices, and get you to part with all your money – the money you brought with you, that you found hidden away under the pillows in your couch, or planned to use to buy something else in the future. Very ENTICING. Fun. Exciting. Thrilling. Exhausting. This is one of those settings where you could easily use the phrase, “the energy in the room was palpable.”

I remember my first bead show visit. There were beads everywhere. I couldn’t catch my breath. I didn’t know where to start.

To get through these shows, to be sure you’ve seen the most important stuff for you, and to be sure you survive with some change left over for buying dinner, I offer a few tips:

o Wear comfortable shoes
o Bring copies of your tax form, if you buy wholesale
o Have a mix of cash, checks and credit cards. Some vendors might take cash, but not checks or credit cards. Others some different arrangement.
o Bring a tote bag.
o Bring a small ruler or gauge
o Wear your glasses. You might also bring a magnifier.
o Bring a small notebook and pen.
o Bring a bottle of water.

Do a Walk-Through first. Get the lay of the land, so to speak.

Set a budget and stick to this budget.

Collect business cards from all the vendors. If they have a website, be sure you leave with that information.

Ask the vendors you bought things from how you can re-order items from them.

Ask the vendors you bought things from when they might expect to be back in your town.Especially if you are buying something directly from an artist, such as a lampwork artist, take some time to talk and get to know that person. You’ll learn a lot. It’s not often you get direct access to artists.

Play close attention to the quality of what you are buying. At these shows, quality varies widely. The prices of things are often lower than what you would find in your local bead store – but the quality might vary too.


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Land of Odds provides bead and jewelry making artists with virtually all their beads, supplies,
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