The Bead & Button Show was held Milwaukee, Wisconsin from June 3-10, 2007. The Show opens to the public on June 8th (2007), the earlier dates are for classes and receptions for the numerous vendors.
On Friday, June 8th hubby and I went to the wonderful Bead & Button Show.
It was held at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Called the “Biggest consumer bead show in the world”, we were really looking forward to it! We patiently waited until Friday afternoon in order to beat some of the rush. We wanted to be able to meet with some of the vendors and understood that the opening hours would be their busiest time.
Some basic details follow:
More than 14,000 enthusiasts attended the 2007 Show!
There were 500 classes and workshops for all skill levels. These ran for 8 days. Attendees numbered 2,800.
This is the 7th year the show has been held in Milwaukee.
370 vendors from around the world packed the marketplace floor.
There was 120,000 square feet in the exhibit hall.
The Show Manager is Marlene Vail.
We verified this information with Matt Quandt of Kalmbach Publishing. They are publishers of various collector’s magazines including Bead & Button, and Beadstyle, and Art Jewelry. They were also the publishers of the program for this show.
Here is the beautiful Midwest Airlines Center and some happy customers!
We were overwhelmed by the variety we found. Ropes of glass and crystal (including Swarovski), ceramic beads, loose beads of all colors and materials, semi-precious stones, and lampwork, fused and dichromic glass by true artisans.
The vendors were very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. And passionate about their products!
We stopped at ECLECTICA which was a real treat. They had 14 spaces – a wonderful array of ‘beads from around the world. In addition to their stores in Brookfield and Mequon (Wisconsin), they sell on the internet. They’ve got beads, kits, repro glass and cabochons. They are real pros – having been in business for 14 years. Their next big show is in Tucson, Arizona.
Another delightful stop was meeting Kelly Wiese of the Bead Parlor. Kelly has been in business for about 10 years, and specializes in classes and original bead kits. Beautiful work!
We also found the Pema Art Tibetan Beads booth fascinating! The owner is Pema Gurung and her sister told us that she has been working with beads for 28 years, starting out when she was a very young girl! She lived in Tibet and sells unusual beads from the Himalayas and antique ethnic tribal arts jewelry. She sells wholesale and retail and does shows – heading to Denver for the next one. There was a wide variety of product in her booth.
And who could ever pass up the Gita Maria booth? Once you saw the bold colored, unique items, you were hooked. She is celebrating over 25 years of designing handmade enameled embellishments and they were ‘to die for.’ We picked up a large commemorative catalog which was bright and colorful but seeing them in person was the real treat! She makes things called ‘Hugs’ (made of glass enamel fired over silver plate.) These are designed to lay flat on all types of fibres and in your hair and have a ‘stick’ to secure them. She also makes all sorts of brooches and pins, charms, bars and pendants, bails, knit sticks. She does a lot of pendants with ‘flying fairies and flower sprites!’ Gita herself was off instructing a class. The lady in her booth was one of her biggest fans and told us you can wear rather plain, unimaginative clothing and put on a few of her creations and ‘oila’, you are a star! Be sure to check her out!
Another delightful stop was at Glow Glass LLC. We met with Moraine, one of the owners. They are “specialty color suppliers” and their glass is made in 7 glow-in-the-dark colors. These are made from “rare earth minerals’, a new technology. They make beads and pendants. The light green is like the vaseline glass of the olden days! From the Bay Area, they sell at trade shows and local art shows. Moraine started in the business about 8 years ago, but has been selling for the past 5 years. Very personal and enthusiastic – loves what she’s doing and proud of what the company has to offer. (Just could not pass up a few of those beads that glowed.)
We came across a large gathering of craftsmen from Australia, very friendly and with incredible offerings. Wendy Hearn, Glass Artist from Guru Creations, did beautiful fused glass! The pieces were large and ‘layered’, very bold! It was her first show in the USA but from the reception given her, she was confident it would not be her last one! She was very complimentary about the city of Milwaukee too, which we were glad to hear. She has been doing shows for 8 years.
Being ‘silver lovers’, we just had to stop at Designs by Mary Poineal. She is a top-notch silversmith and has been enjoying it for 9 years. Mary sells internationally, and at the big shows in Chicago and Minnesota, etc. Her latest creation is an absolute must-have for the bead lovers out there. She calls it the “Revolution” and it is a combination of attachments that can fit on or be taken off a silver necklace. The photo does not do it justice, it has so many variations and is reasonably priced. You can change a ‘ho-hum’ outfit into a ‘zowee’ with the addition of this system. Incredible silver work!
For a change of pace, we stopped at C.A. Therien – Polymer Clay Arts. “Cat” Therien was teaching a class but her husband was very knowledgeable and helpful. He showed us some of her creations and also the millefiore canes she uses for them. She sells a lot of these canes and is well-respected for her offerings. Lovely butterflies – they’re some of her favorites. It was her first show in Milwaukee and he said they were very pleased with their response. She’s been in the business for over 7 years. Check her out!
Gold & Glass Designs by Joy Thomas was our next stop and it was fantastic! The two ‘workers’ in the booth were decked out in her creations and had wonderful things to say about Joy and her work. She is into teaching big time and was doing just that when we were at the booth. She does not sell on the net, only does shows. Very highly respected as a craftsman, she recently was interviewed on PBS! She does fine art fairs and home shows too. Once you see her work in person, you’ll have to have some.
Boy, this is getting harder and harder to pass things up. Maybe I can find just a few more open spots in the old jewelry cabinet! These are top-quality pieces and one must sparkle!