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How did YOU get started beading? Part 2!

Part 2 of our reader anecdotes, asking how they first got started beading - all in the name of Bead&Button's 25th anniversary celebratory fun!
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Silver is the current buzzword among the Bead&Button staff, and it's easy to see why!

If you haven't heard the news yet, we have officially launched our 25th anniversary celebration! And why is silver on our minds, you ask? Because silver is the traditional gift to honor 25 years, not to mention a common source for jewelry-making. It's also a beautiful reflective material, and what better way to reflect back on 25 years of beading fun than by asking you, our readers, to share your memories and stories with us?

Last month, we launched a poll on Facebook asking readers to respond to a simple question:

How did you first get started beading?

From self-taught beading through instructional videos to learning from the talents of friends or family members, the sources of inspiration are endless. Maybe it was a piece of jewelry early on in life that became the vehicle for a budding passion. Or maybe it was picking up a copy of our very own Bead&Button magazine that has served as a faithful companion throughout the years. Whatever it was, we are glad that you are here and can't wait to celebrate 25 years with all of you.



The stories that we received are inspirational; stories of beading as a form of meditation, a hobby-turned-career, or beading just for the sake of beading. We couldn't wait to share a handful of beading stories brought to us by you, our readers. Before you read more, be sure to check out our first two stories

USE First Off Loom
SHERYL THEN
Sheryl's very first off-loom piece. 
USE LOOMED Boot Bracelet
LOOMED BOOT BRACELET
From Sheryl's "Western boot stompin' days!"
SHERYL STEPHENS

Has been beading since taking an early retirement. 

Main source of inspiration: A bead loom purchased at a store. 

Sheryl's story: 

"I became bored after taking an early retirement, and decided to buy a basic bead loom, more for fun than anything; but soon after creating as many barrettes and bracelets as my friends and family wanted, I graduated to a larger, sturdier adjustable loom, which I purchased at an actual bead store. That trip opened my eyes to endless possibilities. I created a few more loomed items after that day, but once I learned about OFF loom weaving, and even simple stringing, the rest was history. My style progressed, my appetite to learn new things (and buy new beads!) progressed, to the point where I can now teach others some of my favorite techniques as well.

 

My passion for beads, especially semi precious gemstone beads, even turned into a brick and mortar bead selling business for a few years. Ultimately though, I realized that designing and creating was my heart, so I became a full time designer, working from home and joining the local art fair circuit. One of those art fairs even brought me the opportunity to consign items in a prestigious area gallery; which, 5 years later, offered me my own successful gallery exhibition!"

USE  FIRST DENIM
An example of Sheryl's work with denim. 
EXPERIMENTATION
"At some point I discovered that using recycled materials and vintage items--denim blue jeans, old jewelry, etc.--was a unique new direction to take with that embroidery. It has become the focus of Cool Moon Creations, and I love figuring out fun new ways to use as many inseams, cuffs, waistbands, belt loops and even zippers as I can."
SHERYL NOW

"Even so, my love and passion continues to be the large bead embroidered statement pieces – for myself, and for competitions.  I am currently awaiting word regarding placement in an annual international competition, and a second gallery has since agreed to consign my (mostly) denim creations.  I am also in the process of fulfilling a bead journeys’ long dream – creating a space in my home that can be used exclusively as a beading & teaching space.

I couldn't even tell you where I put that big bead loom."

 

Some of Sheryl's bead embroidery work, showcasing how far she's come from her off-loom days!

USE Mariposa
MARIPOSA
USE Eye Catching Collar
EYE CATCHING STATEMENT NECKLACE


13669837_10154450420238203_2909154163654282520_n
One of Lena's original pieces. 
LENA GILLESPIE

Started beading in high school and picked it back up many years later as a way to relieve stress. 

Main sources of inspiration: Beginner classes at a local bead shop, a love for arts and crafts, and a mentor. 

Lena's story: 

"My creative journey started when I was in high school. I had a love for arts and crafts. I used to embellish my shirts with sequins and beads just to look different. My family was not well off and I often took broken jewelry and repurposed them into something current that I could wear to school. After high school there was art school. Pottery was a class I didn't really enjoy. I think mostly due to the fact that the first piece exploded in the kiln. But I turned it around by making porcelain brooches which I totally enjoyed."

26 YEARS LATER

"Then life kicked in and so did working in an office for 26 years until one day when my doctor told me to find something to do to take my mind off my stress.

Traveling home one night I noticed a new bead shop and remembered how much I enjoyed creating something new. I stopped and went in to inquire. They had free beginner classes just buy the supplies there. That was perfect and the first step on my creative journey.

Three years ago I created some beautiful beaded flowers using a component from a local bead wholesale company. They won first place at the local fair. When the bead wholesaler posted on social media about their new component I posted my flower. Nothing ventured nothing gained right? That night I was contacted by their Creative Director wanting to know if I would collaborate with him on some pieces. He became my mentor on this journey. 

Now, five years later, I no longer work in an office. I design from home."

 

More of Lena's original work! Visit Lena's site for more of her work.

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The only thing we love more than sharing our beading knowledge with all of you is hearing your own stories of how you began to bead.

If you'd like to share your experience, or show us your pictures of your early projects and your work today, email us at editor@facetjewelry.com, or watch for posts on the Bead&Button magazine Facebook page. We love to know more about our readers!

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