What does this have to do with artists? beads? jewelry? I hear your questions and will get to the point. I wanted a second reason to visit bead stores. The first reason - to shop - was valid, but I don't NEED anything, and am on a tight budget. So a blog post? A second valid reason? OK!
The first stop was Legendary Beads.
My thoughts: This is a good basic bead store. It is on the small side but they have some of everything; strands, Czech glass, gemstones, findings, wire, tools, chain. Plenty of loose beads if you need just a little something.(I didn't see many artisan components, but that didn't really surprise me. ) They have a workspace set up, and their website lists small classes (Limit 5) for repair, stringing, private lessons.
Pros: multiple needs met. Helpful staff. Variety.
Cons: small size=limited inventory. Class space tiny, and right at front door.
Rating: Normal- very good.
Second Stop: Bead it!
This store is like a Tardis. (Dr. Who humor - bigger on the inside.) An adorable bungalow with parking, its located a block or so from Legendary Beads. This is the store that has all the things you never imagined needing because you never knew they existed. Ample quantities of pearls and gems in a plethora of colors. Czech glass modern and vintage. A wall of chain. Antique beads, vintage glass cabs, ribbons, notions... Vintage stampings! Sari fabric on the work tables in the Large and comfy class room! Layer upon layer of eye candy.
(Oh sorry. I don't sound very objective. This store is the mixed media artist's favorite. Could you tell?)
Pros: Unusual finds, huge selection, antique and vintage selection, unusual finds... Great people to chat with... Hip.
Cons: no real seed beads. Spend alot of money.
Rating: Quirky. Fab.
Third stop: Sea of Beads
Seed beaders! Its your store... oh they had great Czech glass and the standard supply of gem strands - anything you could want, but the seed beads here were the win. every shape and color, a diverse class class curriculum, a open yet separate class space... Daggers, lentils, faceted, small, large, triangles, hexes... Very friendly staff - in fact a customer came in while I was there to bead and hang out. The store is spacious, flooded with natural light. Plenty of loose beads as well as strands. Findings - I neglected this category here. Oops.
Pros: good selection. Sea of seed beads! Friendly people.
Cons: not as well stocked for wire, metal.
Rating: Normal. Great.
And what did I actually buy? Here's my loot - labeled by store for the curious. My mother requested a long green necklace - and Mothers Day is around the corner. So the abundance of green was with her piece in mind.
|Top row - Stampings, vintage and wood blocks: Bead it!|
Second row left - seed beads, gems, pearls and Czech: Legendary Beads
Second row right: Czech and kyanite: Sea of Beads
|Next time you are in Austin - don't miss the BBQ, the S. Congress St Bats - and the bead stores!|