Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Secrets Revealed...the Mission for the perfect bead display in an imperfect World

I haven't done a "bead show" since I first started making beads about 7 or 8 years ago. My set-up then was literally cobbled together with bits and pieces. And it was definitely NOT ideal.

Fast forward to 2013. And my last minute decision (June!) to vend at Bead Fest (August!). When you read this, I am probably already on my way to Pittsburgh to pick my handsome husband up from the airport before we continue on to Philadelphia (yes, you read that's kind of complicated).

Glass addictions booth
My jewelry display from a show I did in April. 

And I literally went shopping for my bead display stuff yesterday afternoon. Because I work better under pressure. Also, I procrastinate. So it's sort of still a cobbled together display. 

I went shopping with the thought that I would buy cheap wood trays from the craft shop and fill them with something to create a nice soft bed for my beads...rice? seed beads? coffee beans? Definitely NOT sand. I did that the first bead show. It was a disaster. 

I stopped at Kohl's first so I could buy some jeans for hubs. And I took a quick look in the cookware department. And I found the perfect solution to one of my major problems....small inventory. 


The small square bowls are very simple, elegant, and only about 3" or 4" across. Because I mostly have focals, each bowl will be a perfect showcase for a focal bead. I bought 3 trays of 3 bowls. So I only need to put out 9 focals at any given time. I can add a few to the long rectangular tray as well.

Because my deep dark embarrassing secret is that I just don't have very many beads. It's been a crazy summer (I long for kids whining about being bored and me not having to drive miles and miles and miles every single day) and I signed up late. Oh well. Call this a learning experience and have fun. Meet new people. Buy beads.

I decided I wanted a black or dark brown filler. There are several reasons I went that direction. Because my entire set-up is black, white, wood, and metal. Also, it would have driven me insane if the white rice was "off" from the white of the dish. So I ran next door to Walmart to look for something black. Black beans? Black wild rice? I decided on the rice.

Wild rice

 But I was worried about my glass headpins being too heavy for the rice to keep upright in the 8 oz. canning jars I had put in the cart. I bought 4 bags at $5 EACH to try (which seems kind of expensive for rice! But what do I know? I rarely eat rice and have never eaten this kind.)

The next stop was Michaels (just a few doors down from Walmart) where I found...sand. Yes, I know I said I wasn't going to use sand. But PEOPLE! This sand is coarse. And black. With a little bit of sparkle. And it didn't stick to the sides of the plastic bag it was in...a very good sign.


And at only $3/bag at nearly twice the amount in the bag as the rice, I was certain this was my answer.

I rushed home to try everything out.

Bead display Glass Addictions Jen Cameron. #beadfest #artjewelryelements #glassaddictions #aje

This particular style murrini really needs to be seen top down. Laying on their sides on my table looks pretty unimpressive

How NOT to display these glass headpins #artjewelryelements #aje #beadfest #glassaddictions

And in the jar:

Glass headpin display glass addictions Jen Cameron #beadfest #glassaddictions #aje #artjewelryelements #lampwork

An additional benefit of the jar of sand...easy to pack away:

Jars of sand

I'll be returning that wild rice when I get back from Bead Fest.

Check out the postcards we ordered to give out:

The huge box of postcards have arrived! We will be debuting these at #beadfest next week. #artjewelryelements #aje

Stop by and say hello if you're going to Bead Fest. If not, say hello in the comments below.
Have a great week!

-Jen Cameron
Glass Addictions


  1. Wow you made some good purchases. That wild rice is very good, you should try at least one before returning it!! That sand is cool, almost looks like charcoal and looks like it works perfectly!!

  2. Very inventive Jen and love the headpins in the jar - the sand is a great foil.

  3. Wild rice is very expensive. Don't return it all, try some. I love it! Your display is looking pretty darn great. I love the sand with the sparkles. I hope the show goes well for all of you! I wish I could be there. I have other plans for this weekend and can't make it. Next year I am definitely going! Have fun and happy sales.

  4. Creative and striking ... I love a black background and how the sand highlights your beautiful beads! Those AJE postcards are quite awesome as well. And, I totally get that best-under-pressure-procrastinator element of time management ... I know it aaallllll too well I'm afraid! Have a great show and a great time!

  5. I wish that I were somewhere close! It sounds like it will be a lot of fun. I can't imagine setting up a whole booth with just my own beads. That would be terrifying, but I think you did a great job because it will showcase and make each one as special as they are! Have a GREAT show and say hello to all those bead peeps from me. Enjoy the day! Erin

  6. Your display came together very well! And I don't know about returning may HAVE to try that wild "rice" (which is expensive because it's wild and not really rice at all). As the others have said, it's great.

    Good luck at Bead Fest.

  7. You booth looks great! See you soon!!!

  8. I can not wait to see it in person!!!!!


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