Thursday, December 4, 2014

Beads at the beach: a bead retreat

Two weeks ago I headed to the beach. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to be exact. We were having the coldest temperatures of the year to date - It was like 16 degrees F in the morning! But I was headed to a wonderful three day retreat,  doing bead embroidery.  What did I care about the weather?

I took about 10 minutes on the beach one morning. Until my ears froze. Had the place all to myself - heaven!
Many of you might know Meg and Moggie of BEAD My Love. They are regulars of the bead show circuit, from Beadfest to Tucson. Their company sells everything a seed beader could need: Ultra suede, stiff stuff, needles, cabs... and beads! (And so much more!) This charming and talented mother/daughter duo also host retreats.

I signed up after Beadfest August, if I remember correctly. Their retreats happen a few times a year, and fill up fast. The November retreat I attended was Tuesday - Thursday; perfect for my teaching schedule. I have been doing bead embroidery for approximately a year - and was ready to challenge myself, learn new stitches, go bigger?
Starting out: my kit, some beads from home... my orderly Virgo approved workspace. 
We arrived at 4 pm - a very welcoming group who adopted me and made me feel right at home. Many attendees were there for a second, or third time! Upon arrival we selected our kit for the weekend. Returnees arrived early and lined up at the door to get first pick! Meg makes up stellar kits with everything you need start to finish - in such fabulous color palettes! My kit included: 2 agate cabs, a face cab from Melanie/Earthenwood Studio, needles, thread, and beads ranging from 15s/11s/hex/drops... (More beads than I used up - I am excited to continue to design with the palette I chose. )

Once settled, and introduced around the room - we opened up kits and started to dream up designs. The room is set up to shop - I quickly decided the ammonite  (above) HAD to go with one of the agates... And we started beading. And chatting. And shopping. Designing, discussing, sharing. Meg and Moggie gave one on one instruction to any and all; beginners were started of with the basics of peyote stitch for a bezel. More advanced students planned larger, layered pieces, and composite pieces made from components beaded and joined together.
My neighbor Diane working on her piece with a Marsha Neal Studio button. A gorgeous palette of sages and copper; finished piece on the right. 
A forest of Ott lights: the room seen from the far corner. Thats my empty chair at top right... 
It was exciting to see things from the other side of the table... as a beader, not as a ceramic artist. BEAD My Love has carried my cabs for a few years. ( I'm still honored, and excited by that...) Watching people select their kits - Lisa Peters cabs, Earthenwood Studio , Marsha Neal, and my own "Mythic Nature" cabs... knowing these artists, their clay, their glazes... It was great fun, and inspirational to see the women at the retreat work their own creative magic with the ceramic cabochons. It presented my own work to me in a new light, and for that I am grateful.
My fellow attendees work in progress. Yes - thats my lunar raven in purple! 
Still orderly... All the bags on the left were my "kit". Tubes and labeled bags in the center were my additional beads. 
The three day weekend (I know it was during the week! It FELT like a weekend) was phenomenal. I would highly recommend a BEAD My Love retreat to anyone that is into bead embroidery - or wants to learn. There were break out groups throughout the 'weekend' to demo brick stitch, soutache embroidery... We worked all day and socialized over lunch/dinner. We came away with new friends, and new skills.  The structure was relaxed and informal. The people I met were interesting, creative, and funny! with diverse careers, interests and experience. I left the 'weekend' sad that it was ending/invigorated with new ideas/inspired to try new things/and happy tired. 
From my weekend: two completed pieces and one work in progress. The WIP piece is an enameled focal from Anne of Gardanne Beads
There is even a newly created Facebook group for BML retreat alumni to keep in touch and share pictures of new creations. All in all a fab weekend. When can I go again?

For now - you know I am bead embroidering Holiday gifts... off to the studio!
Goodbye Rehoboth! Until next time... 

The retreat included your project kit, and additional supplies, one dinner, 2 lunches. Snacks and beverages were also provided. Lodging was not included. 

I received no loot, favors or free stuff from BEAD My Love in exchange for this review. 

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