First Bead Retreat, First Class, GREAT Fun!

Well I cannot believe it has taken me so long to update my blog, but despite all that is going on I am determined to at least write a little about the wonderful Shreveport Bead Retreat I was lucky enough to attend last weekend! This was my first bead retreat ever, and certainly will NOT be my last. I had the honor and privilege of taking my first class ever from Gayle Goddard who was a total delight. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I took every class I could fit in over the four days we were there, and on Saturday night beaded into the early hours of the morning in order to finish my challenge piece.

I must have been mad to take it on, as the challenge I chose was basically all that was on the table when I finally figured out what it was all about! I ended up with a three to four inch piece of thick copper wire like you'd find in a coat hanger; a large plastic donut pendant that has a copper tone, but brushed with gold; a one-inch gold-colored bead; various - about 8 - different smaller beads (some VERY pretty) and a plastic silver-colored half-inch daisy-spacer for want of a better description. NOT the nicest group of items and very, very challenging.

Believe it or not, my piece was the second-place winner and I can only say I was totally chuffed to hear my name called to receive the lovely tote that was the prize. I also received a Melanie Doerman CD with her Venus Flytrap bracelet tutorial which I will enjoy at some point in the future! This was truly a surprise and I have to say I got a great kick out of it all. I was honestly just MORE than happy to simply see the project through -- there was simply SO much talent on display at the retreat.

I found Jill Wiseman's Kumihimo class to be the most fun class of all, and perhaps the most satisfying. I have to hand it to Jill as she is truly a great teacher and her kits (yes I made some purchases!!) and instructions are just wonderful. The Kumihimo Class was a full capacity class, but most students finished their first ever Kumihimo bracelet! VERY satisfying and I am looking forward to delving into this even more over the next few weeks.

I was not able to fit in Janie Warnick's bracelet class "It's All in the Loop" but I was thrilled to receive her kit, and to be put through my paces by Janie after her class, and I HAVe to say it is a first-class quality kit for a very reasonable price and just the most versatile of bracelet patterns. I just LOVE it and send many thanks to Janie for the pleasure of working with her kit! Thanks Janie!

I also enjoyed Ann Page's class "Not Just Another Rope" and feel this versatile Russian stitch will turn in very handy in the future.

There was a wonderful bracelet exchange at the retreat and that too was just good fun! I participated and made a bracelet using a Ukrainian stitch.

I met SO many talented ladies it was just like being a kid in a candy store, seeing everyone's projects!

However one of the more unexpected events at the retreat for ME was when my table-mates decided I should teach them how to make the bracelet I had constructed while playing with the combination of ndebele (herringbone) and peyote stitches that I've enjoyed from Diane Fitzgerald's Book on Shaped Beadwork! I love green and this combination of green beads 'worked' for me.

This bracelet is simply a series of 'squares' that are then joined in any variety of ways (I've made three others) embellished, and then finished whatever way an individual might like! This particular bracelet has a Swarovski closure that became the focal point.

Everyone at the table wanted to learn and so in no time
flat there were many beautiful versions of the squares and I just cannot wait to see all the finished bracelets!

Thanks to Carolyn, Michaele, Gina and Mabel.

I could write for hours about the fun, the sharing and the talented beaders I met at this retreat. I feel I made some terrific new friends and I am truly grateful for this. I SO hope to meet these wonderful ladies again in the not too distant future and I hope our relationships can continue to grow.

I cannot close without of course saying a big Thank You to Ida Williams who arranges this every year. The teachers ALL volunteer their time, so all in all the retreat is reasonably priced and just a very friendly and warm gathering of like-minded crazy beaders. Thanks Ida! None of these things happen without a lot of hard work in the background and I know I'm only one of many who are grateful for this wonderful experience.

Click the title of this entry to learn more about the Shreveport Retreat!

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