Cool people and jewelry at Bead Fest Wire 2011!

I’m just settling back from a great weekend in Pennsylvania at Bead Fest Wire 2011 by Interweave Press.  Here’s a quick wrap-up of the folks I met there, along with some of their projects.  Enjoy!

Joe and Anat Silvera with Joe’s recently released book – Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen-table jeweler, currently on the best-seller’s list on Amazon!

And of course, chainmailler Sue Ripsch, long-time instructor at this show and author of her own best-seller, Classic Chain Mail Jewelry: A treasury of weaves.

Instructor Kaska Firor was new to me.  Her chainmaille designs caught my eye (obviously) but really, I completely fell in love with her wirework, in particular the Ocean Waves Necklace (shown on her website, and also visible in the center bottom of the photo below).  Pictured is Kaska on the left and her daughter on the right.

The final chainmailler at the Meet the Teacher’s reception was John Fetvedt. I bought one of his instructional CDs, and if I like it, you might just see Blue Buddha carrying them!  (Unfortunately, they are only available for PCs….and being a Mac/Linux fan myself, well, you know.  *grin*)  If you know you’d be interested in the CD, leave a comment–that’ll also help us determine if we want to stock ’em!

A major highlight of the weekend was meeting some customers face-to-face, especially those I’d never met before.  Here is a long-time customer wearing a scale necklace she made (using plain aluminum and iridescent gunmetal scales).  Of course, I spotted the scales before I spotted the person.  heh.

Another highlight was talking with Denise Peck, editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry.  We brainstormed ways to make the chainmaille projects in the magazine even better….and came up with some great ideas.  Stay tuned for more info–and submission requests, because I know a lot of you have some awesome projects that really should be in the magazine!  In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment with any chainmaille-related requests you have for magazine projects or topics.

And finally, the person who touched me the most over the weekend was Maryann Corey, founder of The Portable Playhouse.   I saw her at Bead&Button last year, but we didn’t get a chance to talk, so I didn’t get to find out exactly how cool of a lady she is. The Portable Playhouse is a non-profit organization dedicated to art therapy.  As a fundraiser, she is working on the worlds largest necklace (shown below). Please visit for more info and to make a donation.  For only $1, you can have a bead added to the necklace and help raise funds and awareness for her amazing organization.  So yes, you really can make the world a better place one bead at a time. :-)

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