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I checked out a couple of workshops at the Bead Expo in Oakland earlier this week and am thinking of going to their Bazaar tomorrow. It’s an amazing experience to see so many people coming from all over the country, drawn by their love of beads and related crafts! They have over a hundred workshops running through the weekend (and last time I checked there were still some openings), as well as a symposium and a giant bead bazaar. My beading experience was minimal before this weekend, but I had a great time learning a bit more about it.

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I took a felt bead bracelet class with Gail Crosman Moore, who is a great teacher and a fantastic felter. She made these incredible floral lariats (look closer for the exquisite bead embellishments). I didn’t get a chance to actually string my beads into a bracelet, but I had a great time getting soapy with the other ladies in the room as we rolled our wool into an amazing variety of felt beads, sparkling with silk thread or tinsel yarn. Here are my completed beads:

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I also took a chain maille class with Deanna Kittrell, who is an unbelievable jewelry-maker. Her intricate bracelets and necklaces are incredible, and after hearing that she makes all her own jump rings, I was even more impressed!

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Deanna transformed me from a complete chain-maille neophyte into a confident twister of metal. She gave a bunch of great tips and I am now the proud owner of a handmade Japanese chain bracelet. (Now my mom wants a necklace.) Thanks, Deanna!

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The Bead Expo runs through tomorrow the 15th, so if you’re in the area, be sure to head over and check it out!