Fun at the Bead & Button Show

At the beginning of June I traveled to Milwaukee for the Bead & Button Show. I didn’t really need any more beads, but I found a workshop I wanted to take and decided to make a long weekend of it.

After my drive I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, where I was overwhelmed with new art and new information. After spending most of the day there, I decided to explore the Thursday evening preview night and find out where my class would be located.

I bumped into Brenda Schweder pretty quickly.

With fabulous assistant Sara Hanus she was marketing her brand-new Now That’s a Hammer! She designed this hammer based on one of her vintage finds that our JigUFacturers coveted, and worked with Fretz Design to create a hammer that can withstand steel and give us more texturing and forming options as we work.

I picked up my pre-ordered set and we had to take a selfie.

Brenda also fixed my high wire stickman figure that kept doing strange acrobatics before.

I checked out the loot of our fabulous swag bag in my room. Many tiny sample projects.

I decided to complete one just for kicks.

The next day I had my workshop, and decided to wander the show again after class. That was a good thing, since some super-fancy statement beads I had my eye on were already sold out! Inspired by my class, I picked some hearts I could practice my new weaving learnings on. I had a very hard time sticking to my budget at Diane Hawkey’s Booth.

I swung by Brenda again and saw her demonstrate the hammer too many interested attendees.

Their Mannequin was bedecked with the The StartrPeg101–Vellum Pattern Template. All the 101 shapes you see on this body can be made with the Now That’s a Jig! StartrKit. I can already see some of these embellished with paper and other ephemera.

I oriented myself for the designated shopping day.

On Saturday I wore my Aquatic Critter Necklace and was complimented quite a bit. It’s one thing to have random people appreciate the necklace, but to have practiced wireworkers and veteran jewelry makers praise your technique is quite validating!

This year the Bead & Button Show held a metals competition for the first time, in addition to the intricate beadwork showcase they have each year. I was very intrigued by the medusa necklace by Christine Hallett Rio.

The Briar Rose Warrior Fairy stole my heart. Kimberly Newman has amazing skill and such imagination!

I focused on chain, and also picked out wire colors for my new weaving projects.

Then I picked up the What’s New Pussycat? Round-Robin pieces. Now that I understand the work that goes into making these things I regret not playing along during my first Bead & Button Show. These whimsical projects incorporate beads by four makers, and then a wire form to fit the theme by Brenda. Last year I made Fly Me to the Moon.

I picked out my Kitty, who then dictated the rest of the color scheme.

Since Brenda’s booth was limited she pre-made the wire forms this year, but she has a demonstration of the cat pendant on her facebook page.

I’m in love.

I put it all together that evening.

It wears well out and about.

I made one more round and allowed myself a splurge of druzy agates, which also lend themselves to my workshop learnings. The quest for the byzantine bangle beads I saw in a magazine was fruitless, but I improvised with some exotic silver dangles. I’m looking forward to sharing my projects with you in upcoming posts.

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