Jean's Top 4 Bead Trends for 2009

Mar 4, 2009

Jean’s Top 4 Bead Trends for 2009

I don’t wear the latest fashions, have a cutting-edge hairstyle, or know the latest greatest new bands. In truth, my fashion needs don’t require much more than a T-shirt and jeans, long hair means no fussing, and the soundtrack to my life includes music purchased on CDs rather than on iTunes. But there is one thing I know I am truly hip to and that’s beading. Since I bead for work AND pleasure, I’m steeped in it all the time, so I’ve got a pretty good sense of what’s hot in the bead world. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I could call myself a bead mod.

Danielle Fox, editor of Stringing, is a bead mod, too. She recently shared an article she wrote for Beads 2009 on upcoming bead trends, available on newsstands April 21, but you can reserve your copy today.  Don’t know Beads 2009? You should check it out. It’s one you should keep handy all year long. Danielle told me that this year’s version will feature over 100 of the coolest products on the market--products you might not otherwise find with a casual internet search. The comprehensive calendar of national beading events is worth the cover price alone—it’ll keep you with something beady to do all year long.

I suppose everyone has a bit different take on what’s popular, but here are a few things I see when I look into my beaded crystal ball for 2009:

1. Beading with a meaning
There’s a major buzz among top designers about making work that’s not only beautiful, but that also has an underlying meaning. They’re creating that meaning by incorporating found objects and personal charms, altering store-bought beads and findings, and working in significant colors to create pieces that read like journals or awareness ribbons.

2. Mixed metals
I’ve seen a huge resurgence in the use of pewter, brass, and copper as viable findings alternatives over the last year and I think that will only keep growing. The influx in demand has meant that the manufacturers who make these beads and findings have come up with truly creative and innovative products that encompass all kinds of styles, from vintage to contemporary. These metals aren’t the best for those with metal allergies, but they do offer a lower-cost choice to silver and gold.

3. Embracing craftiness
It used to be that beadworkers and jewelry makers were a little snobby about the techniques they’d use. For instance, using glue was a major no-no. But I think jewelry makers will start thinking “anything goes” to reach an end result. Resin-infused pendants, hot fix crystals, permanent ink stamped on findings, and Ferido are all “crafty” directions I’ve seen beaders embrace recently and I think it’s only the beginning. 
4. Bead society meetings
I find people in general are going to start getting tired of meeting people only via Facebook. Bead and needlework society meetings will have a renaissance as these venues fulfill a basic need for face-to-face contact. Plus, these meetings provide a great low-cost, high-fun way to get out of the house for an evening.
What do you see in your bead trend crystal ball? What new trends have you been exited about? Are you a bead mod? Share your thoughts on the website.  

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website.  

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on Mar 4, 2009 1:17 PM
I know we are seeing an upsurge in the membership of my group: the Bead Society of Southeastern Virginia. We've got a lot of great programs and classes and very talented bead artists.
BrendaH@38 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 1:23 PM
I have recently started using more pink stones and gems in my work which tends to be chunky and includes wire. It is my twist on the "Pink Ribbon" As a breast cancer survivor, I want my work to reflect the strength that I found on my journey.
MiriamG@9 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 1:28 PM
Is there a Bead Society in Tampa Bay, Florida area? Is there a specific criteria a starting a Bead Society? Are there dues that have to be collected?
on Mar 4, 2009 1:29 PM
Hi Jean! What exactly is a bead mod? I am finding all kinds of new terms like mod, indie, etc. So, I thought I'll ask you. Thanks
NicoleL@19 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 1:36 PM
Was chunky jewelry a 2008 thing. I've been seeing chunky jewelry and a lot of multi-strands. And I am thinking about joining a bead society or starting and I am going to start taking classes and giving classes this year. I don't know how I'm going to find the time, but I am investing in my craft.
ALICES@28 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 1:59 PM
I am having trouble logging in to preorder the Beads for 2009. Can you help?
DeborahB@67 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 2:26 PM
I'm glad to see copper is still in, since I work mostly in copper and want to expand into brass. I just love some of the vintage look brass charms! I'd love to be in beading group, what fun place to swap techniques and leftovers!
on Mar 4, 2009 3:02 PM
Hi Tammy- Check out this description of "mod", a 1950/60s hip cat: Then imagine beads thrown in there. I guess that's what we all are, eh? Bead mods?
CorneliaB@3 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 3:17 PM
I am part of a Beading Club of the Expat group in Nanjing China, and we experiment with everything. Also, because we all travel a lot, we travel with everything we find and like, starting from the markets in Laos to a Fleamarket in Beijing and Bangkok and Tokyo or a little shop in Bhutan. or Bali. It is amazing what you can incorporate in your beading work, and what you find if you keep your eyes open!! I love it!!
on Mar 4, 2009 3:44 PM
I see a huge trend AWAY from sterling sliver. I am sure it's a direct result of the economy. Sterling silver has become prohibitively expensive. There are more and more plated findings and beads, as well as copper, brass, and composite metals that previously were avoided by the beaders in my area.
jan@3 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 4:52 PM
Is there any beading daily here in Australia I can contact or similar
Regina@29 wrote
on Mar 4, 2009 4:52 PM
I work in the Tampa Bay area and responding to MiriamG. Check out the Tampa Bay Beadwork Meet Group at 1543 S Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa 33629,. phone 258-3900. This group has been meeting since October 2006. I am not a member so I am not sure what they do at their meetings. The group was founded by Holly Hancock who also runs a bead store at that location and can also be contacted at: I hope you find this information useful. Happy Beading.
on Mar 4, 2009 4:53 PM
hi, i agree about bead societies. im fact i run 2, 1 in illinois and 1 in nw indiana with my mom. we meet several times a month to bead and have a blast. plus im a member of several other bead groups. beading is a fun way to make friends and do something i love. melanie silver
on Mar 4, 2009 8:37 PM
Jean! That is so funny, I could have swore they were talking about the 80's. Thanks for the link.
SandraG@34 wrote
on Mar 5, 2009 3:19 AM
There is a beading group that meets at the Lutz Florida Public Library(Tampa Area) every other month. WE charge NO fees, and meet on Sundays, so even working people can attend. There is no pressure to buy anything(the library prohibits any money from changing hands) and we don't teach projects, you just bring a project of YOUR choice and work on it in a clean, bright room with people who also enjoy beading. We also have a Polymer Clay Group that meets on opposite months as the Bead Club. We are not Fancy/Schmantsy, or call ourselves a Bead Guild, we are just a bunch of beaders who have fun when we get together for 5 hours on a Sunday afternoon. Please contact : for more info on either club...use the Beadclub or Clayclub as the topic of your email, so I know to open it. I hope to see some new members from the Tampa area. Thanks...Sandy
Hugie wrote
on Mar 5, 2009 5:12 AM
You seem like a good person.....drop the terms mod, hip and hot from your vocabulary... too elitist. Thanks Gario
Hugie wrote
on Mar 5, 2009 5:17 AM
If you coat your pewter, nickel, copper,etc. with Plastic Luster the allergy effects would be reduced. Gario
Pat K.T wrote
on Mar 5, 2009 9:56 AM
Took a "REAL" jewelry class at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg & the running joke was "it's not gluing--it's chemical bonding!" At any level, especially with mixed media jewelry, whatever works is a viable option! So, Jean, semantics go a long way in renaming words that can be problematic for some people!
on Mar 6, 2009 9:26 PM
i believe i may de addicted to swarovsky crystals!!! i think people are getting more and more creative with their desings the possibiliies are endless!
Pam I am wrote
on Mar 19, 2009 1:49 PM
Gario, what is Plastic Luster? Where?