Bead Fest is an extravaganza held every year in Philadelphia (and a few other cities). It is an "expo" in the sense that there are tons of classes and vendors occupying a convention hall. Up until now this event has been held in Fort Washington, which is actually a suburb of Philadelphia. That venue closed, so LJ moved the event to Reading. It is much farther from Philadelphia and PHL so I think that contributed to the numbers being down this year. I helped Lynda out at the Blushing Bead booth and it was pretty quiet all weekend. In years past I remember being a shopper at their booth and having to wait in line to see certain colors of Czech glass, then waiting in line again to check out. Rumor has it that they may move the event to Baltimore next year so they can have it in a big city again.
I stayed at my friend Mary's house (halfway between mine and Reading) and the best part of that drive was getting to see mountains with changing foliage. Delaware is quite flat and paved, so driving to Reading was like being home in the Shenandoah Valley. Ahhh...
Anyway, I took a lampwork class on Friday with Karen Stavert from Arkansas (actually she's from Canada as in I'm from Virginia but I live in Delaware). It covered fun things like pulling goldstone/aventurine stringer, making twisties, applying silver foil & wire, mica powder, and reduction frit. Karen is a big fan of the HotHead torches, which don't burn as hot as my Mini CC, so I had to be patient. Plus, there wasn't very good ventilation in the room, and definitely not enough for 20 mapp torches at once, so we had to take frequent breaks to get fresh air. Other than that, the class was good. If you're looking for a picture, I forgot to pick up my beads from class. Nothing spectacular anyway, just practicing different techniques.
On Friday and Saturday nights I took beaded-bead classes with Barb Switzer, a wireworker from California (okay she's from Wisconsin, but...). The top set of beads are Beadily Dee Beads, and what got me interested in this class is that I couldn't figure out how to make these from a picture. They weren't hard once I learned how, so I hope to make more to integrate into my jewelry. The other class was Wire Framed Beads, which starts with a small piece of 1/2" hardware cloth bent into a frame. That is embellished with beads and Bali findings and capped off with Barb's own bead caps created specially for this project. The end result is quite large (the bead pictured is over an inch long) but I think I can use these for focals.