by Jessica, Copywriter Administrator, Content Development Group, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads experienced the 2010 Bead and Button Show like never before! Held the first full week every June in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Bead and Button Show is the largest consumer bead show in the country and is hosted by Bead and Button magazine. The 2010 event (June 6-13) was the 10th anniversary for the show and brought in over 14,000 consumers, connecting bead artists, instructors and retailers with the jewelry-making community. Over 650 classes were held over the course of the week with topics ranging from fundamental beading classes to advanced metalsmithing and lampworked glass workshops.

The week began early for Fire Mountain Gems' team, with the Ask the Experts teachers arriving on Sunday to set up for an early Monday morning class. Tammy Honaman taught a 2-day workshop using BRONZclay™ and COPPRclay™ to create a beautiful custom bracelet made of metal charms, links and drops.

Tammy's classroom was located between polymer clay experts Jill Erickson and Christi Friesen. Fire Mountain Gems sponsored the class materials for Jill's 3-day Fundamentals of Polymer Clay workshop, in which the students successfully learned the basics of the medium and left with the materials and knowledge they need to create at home.

Jill Erickson

Christi's students got a taste of her "Steampunkery" style during her 2-day class, combining polymer materials mixed with found objects, watch gears and dials.

Chris Freedman and Tom Triplett

On Tuesday, Tammy's class finished their pieces while Tom Triplett began his first class of the week, Crystal Kismet--a Swarovski crystal bracelet using the right-angle weave technique. Chris and Stuart stopped in to see their sparkling creations.

Tom Triplett teaching Harlequin Bracelet

Tim Cronkhite

Others from the Fire Mountain Team arrived Tuesday night, just in time to enjoy a wonderful group dinner and prepare for the busy week ahead.

Wednesday morning was Tom's second class, Harlequin Fantasy--a popular new design created by Tom. That evening, Tim Cronkhite taught a full class how to create pavé jewelry using Apoxie Sculpt, Swarovski crystals and the Tweezer Vac.

Tom Triplett, Tim Cronkhite and Tammy Honaman

Then it was off to Meet the Teachers--a grand event sponsored by Swarovski crystal. The Fire Mountain Gems area was surrounded by high-profile industry artists introducing their new books, selling their patterns, kits and more--this event was full of energy and creativity. Among the many teachers in the room were Laura McCabe, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Christi Friesen, Lisa Pavelka, Jamie Cloud Eakin, Melissa Grakowsky, Kim St. Jean and many other distinguished artists.

At 4:00 p.m. Thursday, the doors opened to give the class participants a sneak preview of the show floor. Thousands of beaders flooded the show floor to meet with their favorite vendors and stock up on new treasures.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Booth

Ask the Experts team with Chris Freedman

The show was open to the public Friday, June 11 through Sunday, June 13 and was busy the entire time. Our booth featured free product and technique demonstrations every hour, as well as introduced NEW how-to videos (coming FREE online soon) on a 40-inch television. Demonstrations included ICE Resin®, Apoxie® Sculpt, crochet with wire, beaded crochet with thread, wire-wrapping, riveting and more. The team of experts that joined our group were:

Melissa, Platinum Supervisor, greeting customers

Tammy Honaman--Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator

Tom Triplet--Content Development Manager and Noted Jewelry-Making Expert

Tim Cronkhite--Noted Jewelry-Making Expert

Sandra Lupo--Renowned Jewelry-Making Expert and Instructor

Debbi Simon--Swarovski crystal Ambassador

Laura Timmons--Swarovski crystal Ambassador

We held a raffle once each day and presented the lucky winners with a beading tote stuffed with over $500 worth of jewelry-making supplies, including a pliers set, Accu-Flex® beading wire, Zebra Wire™ for wire-wrapping, Swarovski crystals, gemstone beads, precious metal findings and much more.

Faith-Ann, Saturday's Raffle Winner

Melissa J. Lee, the grand prize winner of the 2010 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Jewelry-Making Contest featuring Metal Clay, Metal Beads and Chain visited us in our booth on Saturday. It was a wonderful treat to be able to meet her in person and have the opportunity to see more of her amazing artwork.

Quilted Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Bag

Saturday night was the Bead Social, sponsored by Rio Grande, with a live and silent auction. We won four of the five beaded quilts, and the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads bag embellished with the remaining beaded squares, from Jeanette Shanigan's Bead-it-Forward Project, as well as lampworked glass beads, seed beaded jewelry and polymer creations. All donations go directly to the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center.

Alice in Wonderland Wall Hanging

Leah Fairbanks, a glasswork artist from Ashland, Oregon, was recognized for her glass artistry and is the artist for this year's commemorative bead. Leah is also the designer of the first commemorative bead from the first show in 2000. Tatianna Van Iten teamed up with other seed bead artists to create a fantastic wall hanging with the theme of Alice in Wonderland.

Loreen the Rodeo Queen (AKA Donna Penoyer) graced us with her Texan personality and kept the auction lively. She even deputized our team with glittering star badges (stickers!) and made balloon hats for the Bead and Button show staff. Fun was had by all this night and over $15,000 was raised for breast cancer research.

Donna Pennoyer

We were glad to be back this year, and it was great meeting all of you!

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "Bead and Button Show 2010 - A Review," featured in a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"Wow! It sure made me want to be there. Looks like everyone had a good time. I live in Grants Pass, Oregon and show my jewelry at our Growers Market. Our little business is called "Almost One of a Kind" and we sure love doing our thing. Hope to see some of you around town."
- Barbara

"The article was very enjoyable. The pictures made it even more fun. Guess one could say that it's the next best thing to being there! Anyway, just wanted to say Thank You Fire Mountain for all of the great newsletters and articles contained within your e-mails. And yes, people DO really read them."
- Mary

"Thank you for sharing the Bead and Button Show experience with us. I am on a limited income and cannot afford to go each year, so this is a wonderful way for me to experience the excitement. I imagine I won one of the tote bags, got to meet all the wonderful artists at the show, etc, through your e-mails. Thanks again."
- Rebecca

"Hello, Tammy and The Wonderful Fire Mountain Team!

My sister (Jan Scully) and I attended our very first Bead and Button this year, and it was a real treat to meet some of you as you came into Jill Erickson's classroom! We got a chance to thank you, personally, for the WONDERFUL packets of materials you donated to our class for us to learn on. It was also a special treat to recognize faces that we have seen in our Fire Mountain catalog as well!! You guys rock!

Thank you for the recap of BandB 2010, and thank you again for all the wonderful polymer clay materials. We will look for you there in 2011!"
- Leigh

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