Where do we go from here?..


On July 15 of this year, FB’s beading groups lit up with the sad message that Bead & Button Magazine, a beaders’ companion for 25+ years, was soon to be “discontinued.” Discontinued!? That’s a word to use for dropping a t-shirt brand; it doesn’t quite capture the loss of a source of inspiration to beading enthusiasts around the world.

Bead groups were a-buzz, with beaders agreeing that getting the magazine in the mail was like getting a present.

Blaming the pandemic’s impact on public events as well as “changes in the DIY jewelry market,” the last issue will be October of 2020.  

Although the magazine’s editor, Diane Bacha, did not specify what the DIY market changes were, it’s quite likely that online classes and patterns are taking over in-print resources.

Here are a couple of magazines that are left, and note that they cleverly adapted their annual bead festivals!

  • Journal from The Beadworkers Guild, U.K. – a subscription also provides access to the Guild’s website stash of patterns and instructions. They recently brought their annual festival online.
  • Beadwork Magazine from Interweave publications, U.S., which has also brought its festival online.

Back issues of Bead & Button are still available for now, from here.

What’s in store for our beading future? I recall that although many businesses closed following the 2009 recession, soon after new ones sprung up.

Does this mean a new magazine will be launched? (I can imagine a plucky group of beaders meeting, scheming, plotting, and conjuring how they might fill this beady void!)

Even if no new magazine fills the void, nonetheless online resources are growing. Here is a short list of pattern makers and teachers that I’ve come across:

And, don’t forget those who have shared their techniques and styles in books:

Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, Beth Stone, Jamie Cloud-Eaking, Susan Huguenard, Margie Deeb, Marcia DeCoster, Laura McCabe, Heidi Kummli, Sherry Serafini, Sabine Lippers … the list is long and I swear it grows daily!

Along with lamenting the end of an era, many beaders on FB shared that their brick and mortar bead stores had also closed. With no income to pay rent, the decision was likely inescapable.

As an online store, we love serving our clients from Canada, U.S., U.K., Germany, Mexico, and beyond. The Beading Room is humming! By the new year, we should have an amazing and responsive mobile site that will make ordering much easier. And we’re working our business plan to become a Miyuki-specialized bead source – that goal will take a bit longer!

So take heart, fellow bead addicts! Even if things change, they don’t disappear; they simply morph into new forms. We love our beads, adjust we must!

Your beady buddy, Cathy

(Originally published September 23, 2020)

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