Thank you for 27 years! went offline permanently on November 1, 2017. For those of you who have been a part of Baubles & Beads history, we thank you so much for your decades of support and creativity. For all of us at Baubles & Beads life is about to change a lot. We all have to get “real” jobs now, kind of… Check out what we are looking forward to:

Lisa Kaufman, the owner of Baubles & Beads, has always been a master curator. Whether through the selection of beads and findings to display at her bead store or the eclectic bits and pieces she assembles in her jewelry line @ Korut Studio, Lisa has a fantastic eye for rich, subtle details. She is looking forward to focusing her attention on her jewelry line and extensive art practice. Check out her upcoming events & shows. Be sure to check out her work online or at one of the many retail boutiques that carry her line.

Lisa Claxton has worked with Baubles & Beads since 1997. Beside teaching, selling & designing beaded jewelry Lisa is also a great collector (aren’t we all) of beads & jewelry components. Not one to let beads slip through her fingers, Lisa is joining the team of one of her favorite sources: Nina Designs. Baubles & Beads was proud to sell Nina Designs components and we are excited for where the future will take her. Be sure to check out their website and if you are a new customer mention: “Lisa Claxton” in the comment section when making a purchase and get $5 off.

Thanks again to all of you! We look forward to the future but will always treasure the relationships build upon the Baubles & Beads Community.

Bead Well,

Lisa & Jim Kaufman, Lisa Claxton, Denise Daniel, Mary, Myra, Onna, & the dogs: Marley, Bonzai & Ella. is Closing

When I picked up my first beading needle nearly 30 years ago I never would have guessed that very moment would shape my adult career. Ten years later I walked into Baubles & Beads in Berkeley, CA and decided that was the place I wanted to spend all my time, work with those people, and of course, buy all those beads.

Twenty years after first walking into Baubles & Beads in Berkeley, CA I find myself sitting at my desk in the back office for the last time. Beads strewn everywhere, piles of half finished blog ideas, and ziplock bags scattered around me like you wouldn’t believe all surround me. In September the owners of Baubles & Beads announced that they were retiring from the bead business. The owners, Jim & Lisa Kaufman, are woven into the fabric of my life. From professional to personal they have supported me throughout my adult life; Jim even officiated my wedding. For the past 20 years Lisa & Jim Kaufman have supported by quest for bead knowledge. How lucky I have been to work with them all these years.

But I also want to thank those of you who read this blog. BeadShopGirl has always been one of my favorite tasks. I love to teach, but motherhood prioritizes my time. This blog allowed me to continue working on projects for others and to break down the steps into easy to follow instructions.

The bead world has changed so much over the past few decades. In the 80’s my mother used to drive me to Native American Pow Wows in Tennessee. There, the old ladies would give me advice and ohh and ahh over my childish beadwork. In college I found Beadworks in Boston (I worked there for a while) and thought I found Heaven. In 1997 I moved to Oakland, CA and HOLY COW I had come to the right part of the country for a bead lover; so many fabulous bead stores all over the Bay Area! But most of them are closed now.

If you are lucky enough to live near a local bead store, please support them or you will lose them. Brick & mortar stores at times cost a bit more but you are paying for something that the internet will never give you: face-to-face community. In a world where technology continues to isolate us; community is worth every penny.


For the time being this blog will remain. I will keep an eye on it from afar. Maybe one day I will pick it up again and continue my work here. is currently liquidating their stock.  Many of the items I have linked to throughout this blog are no longer available through them. However, I hope the projects will keep you inspired.

Thank you all for supporting us over the past 25 years,

Lisa Claxton (BeadShopGirl)

DIY: 11 Fast, Fun, Easy and Done Designs

With the upcoming holidays we are all feeling the pressure to share a bit of our jewelry making talent with friends and family. What we often forget is that sometimes simple is the best expression of love. When it comes easy, it is meant to be. With that in mind we have created a dozen designs to help you finish your gift list. Each piece can be completed in about five minutes, uses only basic jump ring connections, and is easy on the budget. Keep it creative by customizing your selection of colors and materials. Check out our collections below and links to the supplies to make your own. At the bottom of this post are some tips to working with jump rings.

The Necklace Collection

The Fiesta Necklace

BaublesAndBeads necklacefiestachainMaterials Needed:

I love, love, love this chain! Use steel design stamps on the individual links to customize your creation. On this piece we cut our Fiesta chain in to 2 pieces; one measuring 10 inches and the other measuring 12 inches. Any chain can be used for the back of the necklace. Simply connect all pieces of chain and the clasp together with jump rings.

The Shag Necklace

BaublesAndBeadsnecklacebardropchainMaterials Needed:

This chain is so perfect that one doesn’t even need to add additional embellishment. Simply use jump rings to connect a clasp; makes a great bracelet too.

The Art Deco Fan Necklace

BaublesAndBeadsartdecofannecklaceMaterials Needed:

Originally I intended to only use 3 of the art deco festoon connectors in the front and fill the rest of the necklace with chain, but they looked so good that I changed my mind and used the connectors throughout the necklace.

The Charm Necklace

baublesandBeadsnecklacecharmcollectionMaterials Needed:

Quite possibly the easiest and most personal jewelry one can make for another. Simply find a charm that represents the person and feed it onto a finished chain or cord. Make a statement by stacking several different charms onto the same necklace.

The Bracelet Collection

The Chevron Bracelet

BaublesAndBeads braceletchevronchainMaterials Needed:

Another example of how a great chain is all one needs to make a great piece of jewelry. Simply cut the chain to size and attach a clasp with jump rings. Makes a great necklace too!

The Druzy Dust Bracelet

braceletdruzyconnectorMaterials Needed:

Any connector or link can be used to make a easy statement piece. As with all the designs featured here, jump rings are your friends.

Adjustable Bead & Leather Bracelet

baublesandbeadspicassobraceletMaterials Needed:

Okay, this one is super easy and is a great use for large hole beads. A few well placed overhand knots will keep your beads in order while the ingenious adjustable String-On clasp will give this bracelet great functionality.

The Earring Collection

Mixed Metal Ring Earrings

earringsmixedmetalringsMaterials Needed:

Any 2 link can make for a great earring and so simple all one needs to do is connect the links to the loop of the earwire.

Spike Drop Earrings

earringsspikedropMaterials Needed:

Any pendant or charm can be easily attached to an ear wire. Visually check to be certain the charm will face forward once connected to the ear wire. If not use a jump ring to connect the two pieces together so that the charm faces forward.

Filligree Donut Earrings

earringsfiligreediscMaterials Needed:

We just had to sneak in a bead, we are Baubles & Beads afterall 🙂 Attach beads to any connector by stringing the bead onto a headpin and making a simple loop. We have a great tutorial on making simple loops here.

Edelweiss Earrings

baublesandbeads-edelweissearringsMaterials Needed:

The ever popular Swarovski Edelweiss pendant is always a winner. Simply feed a pair of hoops through the ample sized hole. Easily make a necklace by attaching a jump ring through the hole and feeding the pendant onto a finished chain.

Jump Ring Techniques & Tips

Jump rings tend to be the weakest link in most jewelry designs but at the same time they are the work horse of jewelry connections. When selecting a jump ring we recommend using the thickest gauge (diameter of wire) that will fit through the pieces to be linked together. Ideally we prefer using 18 gauge jump rings whenever possible, but this size is often too thick to fit into small link chains.  When working with fine chain one often must use 22 gauge (the higher the gauge #, the smaller the diameter of wire). Jewelry using 22 gauge jump rings for connections are often considered delicate pieces and should be worn accordingly.

baublesandbeadsclosingjumpringsWhen closing jump rings it is essential that the two sides of the ring come together completely. Ideally one should use two pairs of chain nose pliers (many people prefer working with one pair of chain nose pliers and one pair of bent chain nose pliers. Hold one side of the ring steady and use your dominant hand to align the two sides of the ring together.

These are the steps I use to close rings although everyone seems to have their own personal touch to closing a ring:

  • Hold one side steady using a pair of chain nose pliers.
  • Feed on all links to be connected together by the ring.
  • Using a second pair of chain nose pliers, grip the opposite side of the ring and slowly bring the two ends of the ring together.
  • Often times when closing a ring I will perfectly align the two ends only to have the side I am moving spring back open. This can be corrected by slightly over-closing the ring so that when I release my grip the side will spring into perfect position.
  • Practice makes perfect when it comes to closing jump rings. Remember, they are the weakest link and care should be taken to properly align and close the ends snug.

DIY: Summer Chain Stack Necklace

ChainStackBaublesandBeadsSummertime jewelry ensembles require simplicity both in assembly and wear. Designs that feature chain provide the best of both worlds. We love this simple stacked necklace design that incorporates colorful glass beads with charms & chain. Make the design your own my using mixed metals, changing up the chain styles, using different lengths of chains and charms to set a mood.

materialsChainStackBaublesAndBeadsMaterials Required

Assembling the Three Chain Strands

Baubles & Beads Summer Chain Stack Necklace Step 1Step 1: : Cut the cable chain to a 18” length (or longer if desired). This will be the shortest strand. If needed attach a jump ring to the charm so that when it is strung onto the chain the charm faces forward.

Baubles & Beads Summer StackStep 2: On one end of the snake chain use chain nose pliers to fold each side of the fold over crimp securely against the chain. For best results, fold one side down snugly then fold the second side down over the first side. If any chain protrudes at the loop end simply cut off the excess chain with wire cutters.

TIP: Securing one end of the chain before stringing on the seed beads will ensure the beads don’t accidentally fall off the chain later. 🙂

Baubles And Beads Summer StackStep 3: Cut the snake chain 2” longer than the first chain. Embellish the chain by adding color with size 8/0 seed beads. The amount of beads you use and the pattern is up to you. For reference we strung on about 6 inches of beads. Secure a fold over crimp onto the unfinished side of the chain. This will keep the beads from falling off the chain during final assemble.

TIP: Traditionally when making a multi-strand graduated length necklace each strand should vary in length by 2 inches.

baubles and beads summer stackStep 4: Cut the rolo chain to measure 2” longer that the snake chain. This is the longest strand. If needed, attach a jump ring to the charm so that when it is strung onto the chain the pendant faces forward. String on the final charm.

Attaching the Chains Together Summer Stack Step 5Step 5: Feed one end of each chain onto a jump ring and close the ring with chain nose pliers. Repeat this step on the opposite end of the chains making certain that the chains do not twist around each other in the process.

TIP: Soldered chain links can be stretched larger by inserting a tapered beading awl into the end link and gently forcing the awl into the link. By stretching the link in this manner the jewelry designer does not have to compromise durability when using small linked chain.

Step 6: Attach a swivel lobster clasp to one of the rings used to connect the chains together. Swivel style clasps help keep multiple strands from twisting during wear. On the opposite side of the necklace attach one additional ring and close it tightly.

TIP: Using additional rings to attach the clasp keeps the chains out of the way when putting on or taking off the necklace. Chain Stack Brass

Let us know what you think by commenting below. On July 18th we will randomly select a winner from the comment list to win the Summer Chain Stack Necklace in Silver! Good luck and happy summer beading!! (UPDATE: Congrats to Elaine who rocked the party and won herself one of the samples.)

TierraCast Tour

One of my first purchases from an official bead store was in the mid 1990’s, at a bead store in Cambridge, MA. It was a small antique silver plated goddess charm by TierraCast. I still own that charm as at the time it was just too special to actually use. Across the country in Berkeley, CA Jim & Lisa Kaufman’s bead store, Baubles & Beads, was in its infancy, and Julia, our current store manager, was a high school student who shopped at their store. None of us knew one another, we were all just beaders who could never imagine that nearly two decades later we would all be working together at Baubles & Beads and going on a field trip tour the TierraCast facilities. TCI-Logo-WebChances are if you have ever made jewelry with base metal beads or components you too have introduced TierraCast products into your own collection. It was with great pleasure and much anticipation we were given the opportunity to tour the factory and learn more about the production of those fabulous finds and meet the people who create them.

We were met by Julia wearing a fabulous ring made by Tania Skevos, a former store manager of Baubles & Beads who is now quite famous.

We were met by Julie who wearing a fabulous ring made by Tania Skevos, a former store manager of Baubles & Beads who is now quite famous.

Upon our arrival we met up with Julie, our ambassador for the day. Her bubbly enthusiasm immediately struck a chord with us as we too are excited to share the story of growth and change of another small business.

Meet Tracy, she is TierraCast's marketing guru.

Meet Tracy, she is TierraCast’s jewelry designer and marketing maven.

She began by introducing us to several people we had interacted with on the phone, through email, and whose names we’d recognize from years of doing business together.

Alan Joseph, one of the company owners and product designer, was our tour guide and he guided us through the entire impressive compound, in order of production from design idea to finished piece. Every piece is made under the same house except for the plating including: design, production, manufacturing, sales, and marketing.

Digital rendering meet the finished piece.

Digital rendering meet the finished piece.

Alan works entirely through graphic design templates on his computer when designing the beautiful and detailed signature TierraCast pieces. He has a background in fine art, so the process starts with that in mind. The products go through rigorous testing periods before they make it to you, the beader. Only 1 in 10 design ideas actually make it into the product line.Scotts BenchAfter all design specifics have been developed digitally he then hands the work off to his team of metalsmith geniuses to begin the task of making a model.  Above is a picture of Scott’s bench, he trained at Tiffany. Be sure to zoom in on the pic to get a good look at all his tools. The window directly in front of his bench looks out to a tranquil garden setting, now that’s what we call a good day’s work! microscopePerfection is required, evident by the microscope in the room. Once the piece has gone through the intensive and fastidious design process, they begin production by making a mold.stackofmoldsMolds are made by pressing silicone in a steel plate that is heated. We were impressed by the organization in the mold making room. Notice in the background of the photo above how the finished molds are arranged. There is a whole back room filled with molds.MoldsEach mold only has a lifespan of about 300 uses. The mold maker was on vacation the day of our tour. He just celebrated 25 years at TierraCast. Definitely a sign of a good company to work for.pewtersolidTierraCast excels in the use high quality pewter. The standard for lead content in culinary pewter is 500ppm. TierraCast uses a pewter alloy called Britannia that contains lead in the minute level of less than 100 ppm. Most pieces have about 25-35ppm of lead content.MoltenMetalWe step over to the next room and find a vat of molten metal next to the casting machine. casterWomanRocksThe caster pours the molten metal into the opening of the mold located in a centrifuge. Centrifugal force pushes the molten metal evenly throughout the mold making for consistent results. Angela, the caster pictured above is one of the fastest casters at TierraCast.buttonsOnATreeOnce the caster has produced a large quantity of product they then simply break the pieces off the “tree”. It is a testament to the fine craftsmanship of the mold maker that no hand finishing is required after removing the product from the tree.removalofbeadsHow dreamy that the day we visited they were casting one of our best-selling items: the Buddha Bead.  A short walk away is another building that houses the finishing room.HomemadeTumblerMy little Lortone tumbler is nothing compared to TierraCast’s homemade version. These drums are filled with cast pieces and different tumbling media to help quickly remove any burrs or imperfections. Once the pieces are tumbled they are sent off-site to be plated. Plating is the only process that does not happen in-house. Upon return from the plater, TierraCast applies chemical antiquing as needed.fillingorders

When we opened the door to the order fulfillment office a blast of cold air struck us; a true sign of women working in here. This room was filled with drawer after drawer of beads, charms, pendants, bails, button, findings, clasps, earwires, oh my gosh I can’t list all of the wonder inside. Sorry the pic so so fuzzy but those ladies work fast!! julieandlisaThe conclusion of our tour left us time for photo ops with each other. Above is one of myself and Julie. We all know Julie well as she has been TierraCast’s sales rep for a long time. We often meet up at the bead shows in Tucson and Milwaukee. lkandjulieNext up is Lisa Kaufman , co-owner of Baubles & Beads, and Julie. Have we mentioned how fun Julie is?organizationAnd to finish us off we have Julia, our store manager, loving the tidiness of the entire place. Interestingly enough, between three of us photographing our tour, Jim Kaufman (the incredibly handsome co-owner of Baubles & Beads) never made it into any of our photos.


Student Exhibit -Opening October 1st, 2013

Student Exhibit

Showing at Baubles & Beads
through November 18th

It is amazing how so many of us begin our journey into jewelry making propelled by the idea that we just want to make a single piece. Somehow along the way it turns into an addiction and we feel compelled to learn more, make more, and of course collect more beads. Each of the following artists began the same way: with a single step. Although this exhibit features beginners and professionals alike there is a common thread amongst them all that binds them into the same show, a love for beads and metal and bringing forth something beautiful from them.

Visit the entire collection at the store in Berkeley, CA.

Here are a few highlights from the exhibit:


Perhaps one of the most time consuming forms of beadwork, seedbead woven projects easily span many months, even years for larger pieces, of dedicated work.

Mary Staats has been beading for over a decade. Her love of seedbeads is beautifully displayed in this piece: Tidepool Beaded Bracelet

Tidepool Beaded Bracelet, an original design by Mary Staats

Pods, an original design by Judy Sinclair

Pods, an original design by Judy Sinclair


Metalwork & PMC

Rivets, flame, hammers, files and sweat go into making fabulous metalsmithed jewelry. We are proud to see so many of our students branching out to design and create their own works of wonder.

Spiral Ring with Beads and 5 Domes & A Feather, both original designs by Jennifer Magnusson

Spiral Ring with Beads and 5 Domes & A Feather, both original designs by Jennifer Magnusson

Punched & Pounded Bib, an original design by Sara Dinelli

Punched & Pounded Bib, an original design by Sara Dinelli

Textured Copper Earrings and Copper Laurel Teardrops, both original designs by Lorah Gross

Textured Copper Earrings and Copper Laurel Teardrops, both original designs by Lorah Gross


Wire Work & Stringing

A wrap here, a tuck there, wirework and stringing demonstrate the art of seamless beginnings and endings. Each art form focuses the attention toward beads and the use of color, texture and form.

Charleston Sunset, an original design by Storm Harvey

Charleston Sunset, an original design by Storm Harvey

Chrysoprase Jewel Necklace and Tourmaline Wire Wrapped Scroll Bracelet, both original designs by Lisa Spiegelman

Chrysoprase Jewel Necklace and Tourmaline Wire Wrapped Scroll Bracelet, both original designs by Lisa Spiegelman

Silver & Gold Elegance and Spinell Drop Necklace, original designs by Judith Greifenhagen

Silver & Gold Elegance and Spinell Drop Necklace, original designs by Judith Greifenhagen

1st Fused Glass Earrings, an original design, and Wire Wrapping Practice #2, both by Mary Gilles

1st Fused Glass Earrings, an original design, and Wire Wrapping Practice #2, both by Mary Gilles

An original design by Cheryl Rowe

An original design by Cheryl Rowe

Huib Petersen: Flowers, Ocean Life and Right-Angle Weave

Huib Petersen
Showing at Baubles & Beads
Thru September 30th

For many years Huib Petersen’s jewelry enchanted those of us lucky enough to connect with him. With a studio in San Francisco, he was one of our local treasures. After nearly two decades he remains a local treasure, the greatest difference being that we must now share him with the world. Recognized internationally for his designs and instruction, Huib is now one of the most sought after designers for bead woven jewelry depicting flowers, ocean life, and right-angle weave structured forms. We are honored to showcase 18 pieces from his collection, including bracelets, necklaces and handlets, each piece worthy of awe.

Wall Flowers

Wall Flowers Necklace

Needlecrafts first caught Huib’s attention when he was a child growing up in a small town in Holland. Encouraged by his mom, grandma, and the local needlecraft store owner, he picked up crochet, knitting, tatting, macramé, bobbin lace, needle lace, and embroidery with ease.

Going Medieval

Going Medieval

In high school, Huib discovered the theater and loved every aspect of it. He strengthened his existing skills and learned new ones — acting, directing, puppetry, costume design, stage design, backdrop painting, singing, and writing.

In 1995, Huib moved from Holland to San Francisco and opened a small arts and crafts workshop and gallery on Nob Hill. Inspired by a chance encounter with 19th-century Russian beadwork, he discovered the beauty and challenges of designing with beads.

Swim Around My Wrist Bracelets

Swim Around My Wrist Bracelets

Huib uses different sizes of beads as a building material — like little bricks — and a variety of traditional stitches as a flexible, tensile sort of mortar. Placing beads one by one, row by row on top of each other, he combines his needlework, theater, and jewelry skills to create sculpted bugs, butterflies, birds, and sea creatures in their environments. The result is a unique kind of wearable art that offers the intricacy of embroidery and lace, the depth of a theater set and the durability and brilliance of glass.

Enchanted Waters

Enchanted Waters

Huib has been doing beadwork full-time for many years and all of his pieces are unique. His work is featured in Beading Across America. As an instructor, his endless creative energy is very apparent in the classroom and to all of us who know and work with him.

You can view more of Huib’s work on exhibit at our store in Berkeley, CA or visit his website.

Stringing A Necklace On Thread

We have two great new videos to strengthen your technical skills. The first video will guide you through materials selection while the second video will teach you how to attach a clasp with clamshell beadtips.

The materials discussed in the previous video can be found on our website.
Threads: Silk, Nylon, C-lon
Hypo Cement
Twisted Wire Needles
Flocked Design Board
Chain Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers
Thread Snips

Thanks for taking the time to watch us in action. Let us know what other techniques you would like us to cover by commenting below.

Beaded Purses Exhibit

Beaded Purses: Curated by Emily B Miller
Showing at Baubles & Beads May 24th-June 19th

Tiny beads made of glass and steel that have been out of production for nearly 100 years, silk thread, needles, fabric and time make up this great exhibit. A beaded bag could take anywhere from a month to nearly a year to complete. From the Victorians and the Flappers to modern bead workers, beaded handbags have always been a canvas to explore color and mastery of technique. Our newest exhibition features handbags that span over 100 years, from delicate knitted versions with the soft drape of silk yarn holding thousands of beads together in decorative patterns to sweet dance purses designed to slip over the fingers of a flapper, the perfect size to hold a lipstick and mirror. The exhibit also features French steel cut examples and several modern loomed handbags that are meant to show the skill of the bead worker on a large project.

Bead Knitted Purses

Two fine examples of knitted glass beaded bags.

Two fine examples of knitted glass beaded bags.

From the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s there was a rise in the commercial manufacturing of beaded purses which fostered a market for the sale of patterns and supplies for making beaded purses and accessories at home. Knitting was a staple in every household from the poorest to the richest; women could express their creativity with fiber and needles. Bead knitted purses were made from patterns or kits, each bead was strung on ‘purse silk’ in a pattern using tens of thousands of beads. Each knitted stitch included a single bead. Steel beads allowed for many metallic colors, which were often mixed with colored fibers. Loom weaving was also used producing flat canvases to use for design. Popular patterns included flowers, garden scenes, strong geometrics, and popular culture trends of the day such as the Egyptian Revival styles that followed the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

French Steel Cut Bags

A French steel cut purse. Notice the colors of the beads distinguishing it from American steel cut beads.

A French steel cut purse. Notice the colors of the beads distinguishing it from American steel cut beads.

Both France and the United States produced steel cut beads. The French versions were by far the most exquisite and sought after as their manufacture included chemically and electrolytically colored beads in an amazing variety of hues. Many of the bags made of steel cut beads were loom woven by hand, many originating from Austria. The demise of the steel cut purse was due in great part to the deterioration of both bead and bag structure. The steel beads were prone to rust, and the sheer weight of the beads caused the silk threads they were strung on to break.

Notice the damage caused by wear in this bag. The silk lining is shredded and beads are coming loose from the sides.

Notice the damage caused by wear in this bag. The silk lining is shredded and beads are coming loose from the sides.

Swag Beaded Bags

A knitted glass bead bag. Notice the exquisite frame that has at one time been reattached to the purse in contrasting thread.

A knitted glass bead bag. Notice the exquisite frame that has at one time been reattached to the purse in contrasting thread.

Swag designs became popular in the early 1910’s. These designs often incorporated the color of silk with solid color blocks of beads. These patterns were widely available, quick and easy to make, and rather inexpensive.

Dance Purses

A collection of purses featuring the tambour technique of beading.

A collection of purses featuring the tambour technique of beading.

The Roaring 20’s signaled a different need in handbags, something that kept up with the current fashions and allowed for more freedom for women. Young women were attending casual events and dancing was a large part of the entertainment. Smaller bags with beads embroidered on the surface using a new technique, tambour beading, allowed for the faster application of beads with flowing patterns including swirls and curls in the designs. Mixed types of beads, glass pearls, faceted ‘cut’ beads and one-facet charlotte beads were popular. Many of these bags were imported from the Czechoslovakia, Belgium and France.

Beaded Bags in the 50’s

A small clutch purse.

A small clutch purse.

There was still a market for ‘lady-like’ handbags in the rock and roll era of the 1950’s. Bags took on a more structured look. The popular styles included box shapes, with firm sides, often with a short strap or as a clutch to be hand carried. These bags had matching mirrors and compacts. Imported bags were the norm, with handmade bags falling our of favor to machine made styles.

Contemporary Beaded Bags

A contemporary loom woven bag by Emily B Miller.

A contemporary loom woven bag by Emily B Miller.

There are many techniques currently being used to make beaded handbags. Knitting, crochet and loom weaving are some of the most popular today. Patterns are hand drawn or can be digitally designed. Loom weaving can be used to produce flat or round shapes depending on the experience of the beadworker. On exhibit are two pieces in process. One is still threaded on the loom while the other has been removed from the loom and the artist is in the process of weaving in the warp threads. Bead embroidery has also emerged as a popular method for embellishing fabrics and leather to create a beaded handbag. Improvements in the manufacturing process of beads has resulted in creating beads with consistent shape, size, and larger holes, making for faster and more even results.

More information about beaded purses can be found in an excellent book by Evelyn Haertig: More Beaded Purses ISBN# 0-943294-009.
In 2007 the Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles, located in Berkeley, CA, held an exhibition celebrating the beaded bag. Visit their exhibition page to view slides of their showing.

About Emily B. Miller and her love for beaded handbags…..

“When I saw my first small white purse I imagined a young woman out to dance and have a wonderful time… as I saw more and more of these little purses, (mostly white and cream) I was drawn to their naiveté, simple sweet purses just the right size for a lipstick, compact and a bit of mad money…”

“I started my collection pretty innocently with a purchase on Ebay of one little bag for $10. It quickly spiraled out of control! I’ve found bags at antique stores, yard sales, thrift shops, and flea markets. I have collected so many that I’ve been known to give a piece of jewelry in a beaded bag! I’ve learned a bunch by rehabbing a bag, how to replace the lining, make a new strap, and fix the loose beadwork. Making my own designs into bags was a huge undertaking, but the results are bragging rights for a lifetime. Any special event calls to carry a beaded handbag, and sometimes just for every day.”

How to Wire Wrap a Briolette

beginningHere at Baubles & Beads we answer a lot of questions. After polling the staff we all agreed that wire wrapping a top-drilled bead was one of the top demo requests. Join Heather as she guides you through the process step-by-step.

There are so many ways to achieve the same results. Do you have a tip that others may find useful? Feel free to comment what works for you.

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