Art Fair Insiders

Art Fair Insiders


This year I got to the point in my jewelry making (or is that selling) career that I started looking at bigger shows.  I’ve done well locally and was encouraged by several of my mentors to spread my wings.  It is kind of scary, like jumping into the deep end of the big kids pool.  I’ve learned a lot via the Creative Bead Chat group on Facebook and a few other groups, but I needed to find a place where there were a lot of experts who could hold my hand through the process.

Art Fair insiders shotI saw an article from Larry Berman and as I clicked the link it took me to Art Fair Insiders.  If you haven’t heard of him, he is THE GUY when it comes to photographing your jury photos.  I don’t have the funds to pay him to do mine, but he kindly shares his experience on both Art Fair Insiders and his own blog.  My pictures were definitely holding me back so I took all the information he freely shared and started to change how I took and edited my photos.

AFI featured blog AFI most popular post shotI then decided to wander around Art Fair Insiders to see what other information I could get.  I joined, not so much because I needed another group to keep track of, but because you can only see so much as a visitor.  So much information… freely shared to help me climb up to the next level of shows.  One of my favorite things to do is go look for a review of any show I am looking at applying to.  They allow all members to write reviews that include number of visitors and sales.  You also get to write how you feel about a show and if you would go back.  I always check to see when the review was written as sometimes a show changes over the years and an old review may not relate to the show today.  I also check out the discussion area to see if anyone wrote about a show recently.

I’ve changed my tent, my table layout, my displays and my photos… all due to information gleaned from the other artists.  I am pretty proud of how my jury photos come out now.  Yes it is work but that work pays off.  Jewelry always receives the most applications and anything I can do to stand out I am willing to try.  This year I got into all but one show I applied to, and I got into two shows that are rated in the top ten by Sunshine Artists, Winterfair Cincinnati and Columbus.  I really believe that all the information I got from Art Fair Insiders helped me to reach goals I never thought I would.!

My new booth setup

My new booth setup

Art Fair Insiders is Creative Bead Chat on steroids. A great group full of experienced artists willing to share.  You can learn from people who do art shows for a living and figure out what you need to do to up your game, you can learn about what type of set up you need for some of the big shows (who knew I’d have to fire proof everything and there is a spray for that), the really brave post pictures of their booth for review.

How do you find out about shows? Please share! 

Bead Circle Will Travel:    Bead Fest 2014

Bead Circle Will Travel: Bead Fest 2014


Getting Serious About our Beading!

Recently a few of us have been discussing the idea of a Bead Circle for our CBC community. Ideas are flowing and we are still in the planning stages but recently we had a mini Bead Circle event at the Bead Fest in Philadelphia. Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 11.37.37 AM

Marlene Quigley of has been sharing some of her wonderful knit herringbone bracelets on our CBC facebook page.  A mixed media artist located in Eastern Pennsylvania,  Marlene creates one-of-a-kind pieces taking her inspiration from her garden and nature.  She does awesome beadwork as well as metal work and often combines the two in her pieces.  When asked about her thoughts on this process, here is her reply “as an artist I feel it is an obligation of sorts to share what I know and do with other eager learners of the craft, for by sharing the art form will never be lost. It is great to sell my pieces, yet better gratification teaching and seeing the “lightbulb” go on in somebody else’s brain that they accomplished their very own masterpiece. ”


Here is the tutorial base for this bracelet from Potomac Bead Company.

Marlene has made some interesting changes to this pattern by substituting O beads for some of the size 11 beads in the pattern. Some of our group wanted a closer look at the bracelet and she graciously agreed to share her technique with us at Bead Fest.  Saturday morning a small group of us met in one of the hotel conference rooms and gathered around the table for a mini demonstration.  She is a great teacher, very thorough in her explanation and very calming in her way of teaching.

Bead Fest Pic

Bead friends joining in the fun!

With a little hands on stitching and some scribbled notes, I went home with a small sample and instructions on how to make the changes. As most often happens to me, I didn’t have the color of O beads or Super Duos I needed to start my bracelet immediately and being too impatient for my order to arrive, I headed to the local bead store to pick up some supplies. Back home with several new colors of Super Duos and a coordinating O bead I began my bracelet. Now I don’t know about you, but my memory needed jogging after the weekend, so I turned on the You Tube video to refresh my memory. After starting, stopping, and ripping out my piece numerous times, I finally got the hang of it and got my rhythm going.

This is my first attempt at the knit herringbone stitch but certainly not my last. I love how it turned out. Thanks so much to Marlene for her wonderful instructions and so graciously sharing.

Knit Herringbone with O Beads

Knit Herringbone with O Beads


Behind the Scenes of Bead Fest

Behind the Scenes of Bead Fest


It is that time of year when the bead community gathers just outside of Philadelphia to shop, to sell, to take classes and of course meet up with other like-minded bead people. The Artisans among us spend months creating components, preparing booths and laying out game plans for the biggest single weekend of the year.

But what happens once we’re all there?

Well, beyond the obvious SHOPPING, there is a whole lot of laughter and camaraderie. At least from what we saw with the Creative Bead Chat crowd. On Friday night friends head out to a nice dinner over at Legal Seafoods restaurant in the King of Prussia Mall. This year we had just shy of 30 people, many of the faces around the room are familiar ones showing up regularly on the CBC Facebook page sharing their talents.

Friday Night Dinner Beadfest

You’ll notice Heather Powers, Anne Gardanne & Karen Totten, Diane Hawkey, Linda Younkman, Diana Ptaszynski, Lorelei Eurto and Amanda Leonhart around the room early in the evening before it got a little loud. When you get that many bead ladies (and a few guys) in a room who haven’t seen each other for quite awhile the volume just tends to turn up. 

Diana always gets things riled up and this year was no different!

The next big event is late in the day on Saturday when Diana hosts her annual Artisan Bead Swap. There is always lots of eye candy getting passed around the table as everyone mixes up their beads and picks someone else’s gift.

Annual Bead Swap

Hey Kristen! You were supposed to be smiling for the camera.  Absolutel no texting while photo taking, if Diana saw, you would have been in BIG trouble!  haha!

Around 4 in the afternoon most of us start to feel what we call the “Bead Haze.” It’s that look you get after wandering through football fields of booths full of beads, and fiber, and metals and well pretty much anything you can imagine. But by the time Diana’s swap kicks into swing, you see these ladies catch their second wind and the laughter sets in; as you can see by the multiple takes needed to get everyone organized for a group picture.

Diana Swap - Take 2

Back at the hotel where we have a block of rooms for the Creative Bead Chat group, Melinda Orr throws a causal get together with wine, snacks and another round of gift swapping.  This one tends to go well into the wee hours of the night, but we’ll leave the details to tell by those who joined us.

Sat Night Dinner


A fun time had by all!  Do you have some great photos from Bead Fest or have you blogged about it?  Please add your image below or comment with your blog post and we’ll get them added!

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CBC Hosts a Meet & Greet during Bead Fest Philadelphia – You’re invited!

CBC Hosts a Meet & Greet during Bead Fest Philadelphia – You’re invited!


Join us for our 3rd Annual CBC Meet & Greet at the Marriott Courtyard in King of Prussia PA. Saturday August 23rd we will be hosting a gathering of component & Jewelry designers. Other events and directions listed below.

CBC Beadfest 2014Directions for the Marriott Courtyard /King of Prussia-Valley Forge: 1100 Drummers Lane Wayne Pennsylvania 19087  More details HERE

Details for BEAD FEST Show Details for Bead Fest click the image below:

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Please leave a reply below.

Marsha Neal has created an Etsy Local Marketplace of vendors coming to the show.  Many of which are Creative Bead Chat members! Bead Fest Philadelphia August 2014   Aug 22

OTHER GOINGS ON Diana Ptaszynski (Suburban Girl Studio) organizes a bead swap every year meeting up in the cafeteria at the Bead Fest show on Saturday afternoon. The swap is closed, but stop by around 4:15 and visit with your beady friends. Read all about it on her blog Suburban Girl Studio

Last year’s swappers!

Diana graciously offers a coupon for a show discount! Be sure to print and bring along!

Don’t forget you coupon!


Heather Marston coordinates a wonderful NYC Bead shopping trip after the show ends ~ She’ll get you to some of the best bead stores in the city!

Visit her blog for all the stores they’ll be visiting and details for hotel & dates, etc.  CSW Designs You don’t want to miss this trip!



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