How to Bead With A Friend...Or Not

Aug 26, 2013

I don't often get the chance to bead with friends, so when Stephanie Dixon, aka The Dixon Chick, told me she was coming to upstate New York for her summer vacation this year, I jumped at the chance to spend a day with her. Because it had been so long since my last get-together with friends to bead, I had to refresh my memory on these four simple steps for how to bead with a friend...or, not.

Step 1: Bring snacks. Lucky for us, there happens to be an amazing gourmet cupcake bakery on my way out to Stephanie's vacation spot, so I stopped and bought a six-pack for us to share with her family. (I don't know if I should mention or not, but I actually belong to their frequent buyer club. That's a lot of cupcakes.) Snacks are important to keep your energy up while you're beading, and these yummy treats were the perfect finish to the large lunch we shared with her family. Only thing better than sharing beads with a friend all day? Sharing great food.
Step 2: Make sure you get a tour of the premises. Stephanie's little vacation spot happened to be her Aunt Penny's beautiful house on an Adirondack lake, complete with tea house, pottery studio where her uncle creates gorgeous ceramic art, and a downstairs craft room where her aunt beads and sews. We went for a little stroll down to the lake where we stood on the boardwalk and admired the beauty of nature all around us. The more Stephanie showed me around, the more I got the impression that this was such a special place for her and her family, and I was honored that she shared it all with me.
Step 3: Check out your bead stash. Before we got down to do any actual beading, we had to check out the bead stash that we had each brought, peruse the selection of beading books that I had brought along for reference, and take a good look at Stephanie's newest wire and gemstone bead designs! Because...well, this was all getting us ready to bead, right? We had a little bead exchange -- Stephanie gave me a plastic baggie full of crystals, wire, and crystal cup chain, and I left her with one of my favorite Bead On It beading boards.
Step 4: Sit down to bead...finally. Stephanie has done mostly wire work and wire crochet during her jewelry-designing career, but since I first met her in Tucson back in 2012, she's been learning how to do bead embroidery and off-loom bead-weaving! Her latest project has been to learn how to bead odd count peyote stitch, particularly with that funky turn at the end of every other row. Thankfully, we had a little bit of time left before I had to go home where we could sit down and look at her beading and I could demonstrate a couple of different techniques for making that peyote stitch turn. And I actually had a few minutes to finish making another component for a piece of geometric beadwork that I was working on at the time.

The day just went way too fast! Before I knew it, it was time for me to pack it in and head back home where my family was waiting for me. But in the hours we spent talking and eating and beading, we learned so much from each other! Beading with a friend is always time well spent, even if you don't actually get around to doing all that much actual beading.

If you're planning on beading with a friend, sometimes it helps if you have a couple of projects picked out ahead of time. Need some inspiration for great beading projects? Check out the 2012 Jewelry Stringing Download. You'll get four issues of Jewelry Stringing magazine that you can download instantly on your favorite desktop or laptop computer! Browse, search, and print out just the pages you need for the next time you want to bead with friends. Get your copy of the 2012 Jewelry Stringing Download today and start planning your next beading get-together!

Bead Happy,


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on Aug 27, 2013 4:21 AM

It is such fun isn't it.  I belong to a beading forum here in Austalia.  The Brisbane, Queensland  group hold monthly meet ups where those who can make it, enjoy a great day together.  We have show and tell, eat, chat, share our knowledge and bead.  Each month a challenge is set, usually projects from either Beadwork or Bead & Button.  Those statements of " Oh that looks an easy one" often turn into heavy sighs and groans as we battle our way through together.    We have covered a number of mediums and even though I am a dedicated seed beader I have tried quite a bit if wire work.  

It is such a pleasure to get together with like minded friends and to have a whole day of beading.  I recommend everyone try it.

silverdawn wrote
on Aug 27, 2013 4:51 PM

Beading isn't just...well... beading. It' s meeting new people of all walks of life. Hanging out with new and old friends. Having a reason to pop out for the evening. Or Saturday afternoon. Bring out the goodies. Talk about life, kids, pets, work, bosses, partners and beads.  Beading gives a creative outlet, I have seen beads absolutely every where, and used in hundreds of ways. There is no wrong way.  Then sometimes magical things happen, inspiration comes from others and spectacular items are created while friendship are solidified. Who new, the little bead is so powerful? Plus Steph rocks, which is another story.

on Aug 28, 2013 12:18 AM

Sometimes being an artist is a solitary life.  I have designed and painted for over 30 years and operate a gallery/gift shop in a remote community of southeastern Oregon.  My gallery is located on our ranch and it is just 2 miles from town but this year business has been very very slow and I get lonely.  To solve that problem and share my skills I offer free beading workshops two days a week.  You see, I taught myself to bead three years ago and haven't picked up a paint brush since!  The ladies, young and old, that attend my workshops are so much fun and so inspiring.  I never felt comfortable teaching painting but I love to teach beading.  I do bead embroidery, weaving, stringing, and embellish wallhangings and handbags.  Happy beading everyone!

Cindy@398 wrote
on Aug 31, 2013 6:57 AM

My friend and I get together once a month for a "beading day".  We pick a project ahead of time, one neither of us has done.  Then we start in to work something new or teach ourselves a new technique.  Of course, it always includes lunch.  We try new lunch recipes too.  It's a great way to spend a day with a friend.

smtcan wrote
on Aug 31, 2013 9:23 AM

I have taken classes with Stephanie in Toronto and have learned a lot from her.  I will miss the Creatv show this year, but she is always top of my list when I am selecting classes so hopefully I can catch up with her again next year.