Meet Your Teachers!
After a lengthy stint teaching art to children at DC's The Owl School, Kathleen Manning bounced to Beadazzled in 1997. Cheerfully and with some relief, she admits that her life came together then. Even ten years later, anyone who's taken a beading class with Kathleen would agree that her position at Beadazzled is a good fit for the petite Minneapolis native.
Kathleen's classes are intimate and energetic, and students can't help but mirror her enthusiasm. Clearly, offering hands-on guidance and creative advice is Kathleen's specialty. But when she began teaching beading and wire classes at Beadazzled about seven years ago, she was nervous.
"I had never taught adults!" she says. "Adults are not like kids. They want to know how to do something, but are apprehensive about the next step. For adults, you need to explain the process, but kids go right into it."
In class, Kathleen's mission is to focus on the building blocks of well-made jewelry. "Over the years, the main thing I noticed is how people hold their hands," she says. "I'd go home and do my wire wraps and think, 'I have to start thinking about how I'm doing this.' I had to learn from my own mistakes in order to teach others."
So now, Kathleen is sure to teach the simple act of holding a tool or a piece of wire properly while instructing her group. This is useful information for even the most experienced students.
Despite years of practice, Kathleen continues to face one specific obstacle as a teacher. "I worry that my students might not get it," she says. "But the way I teach, if I can't go in through the front door, I'll go through the back. And if I can't get in through the back, there must be a side door!"
She offers this bit of wisdom to prospective students: "Ask questions! Don't be afraid to learn. Don't be afraid to not make it perfect. It's a process. You'll constantly be learning. You'll make mistakes, but you can do it! Don't be afraid of it." Kathleen's instruction doesn't stop at Beadazzled. Other students include docents for the Museum of African Art, Montessori teachers, and members of the DC Art Education Association. "I've taught teachers! That, to me, feels like my biggest accomplishment. I've never taken an education class in my life," she laughs.
2. Sterling Silver crimps - they look great and hold well! Before working at Beadazzled, I used sewing thread and I still love how easy crimping is!
3, 4, and 5. Labradorite, Shell, Turquoise - I love all three of these - I hoard them in all forms - pendants, shapes and sizes of beads. They are always thrilling and beautiful to work with!
6. Stretchy gemstone bracelets - that sounds silly for someone who makes jewelry, but I love the ones we sell - they are easy to put on and pile on, and fun - great for traveling. Good energy, and go through security easily!
7. Indian Silver Jewelry
8. Old Indian silver pendants and jewelry parts to remake yourself - Indian silver is so sensual and beautifully handmade. It feels so good.
9. Seed bead mixes - with names like "Big LA Orange, "Chocolate Mud Pie", and "Witches Brew", it's gonna be fun!
10. Books - Beadazzled: Where Beads and Inspiration Meet, and Susan Ray's Beaded Jewelry - The Complete Guide and Wire Jewelry Workshop. Am I tooting our own horn? YES! Because we are in them and made them! They are great!
Skilled with tools of all kinds, experienced with construction techniques and diverse decorative arts, Dotsie adopted beads as her main form of artistic expression nearly a decade ago. Today her creative and stylish necklaces can be found in all three Beadazzled locations. After being hired in 1999, she "began teaching almost right away." Her first classes were Beginning and Advanced Wire, which were a sort of trial-by-fire. She was asked to take over when the teacher relocated to Pittsburgh. "I was, of course, a bit nervous, but I enjoy working with people and teaching," she says.
It follows that those two wire
classes stand as the foundation of her teaching oeuvre, but Dotsie has built upon
it with an abundance of inspired and creative workshops. These include Garden
of Glass Bracelet (create a colorful garden-themed bauble), Spiral Pearl Bracelet
(centered around whimsical wire-work), and Vintage Style Cluster Bracelet (learn
to effectively use decorative headpins with chain, pearls and crystals). She also
teaches Wire Rings and Multi-Strands, which are extremely valuable classes for
anyone interested in creating more advanced handcrafted jewelry. Keep an eye on
the Beadazzled class schedule to see when these workshops are offered.
When teaching, Dotsie focuses on technique and design, but she's also a firm believer in enjoying what you do. "I find that the hardest part of teaching is getting my students to not be so hard on themselves," she says. "Have fun, relax, enjoy yourself, push the limits, express yourself, and don't try to be perfect the very first time."
2. "Catnap" pads - Aside from the cat using them to nap (one of my Ollie's favorites), the catnap pad keeps my beads from rolling everywhere and gives me a great workplace for all of my projects.
3. Beadcaps - One of our former staff members called them "party hats for beads"; I have to say they add a bit of pop and excitement to my creations and I find them to be a useful transition from small to larger beads.
4. Crimp covers - Crimp covers finish off a piece of jewelry, giving it a professional look.
5. Leverback ear wires - I love leverbacks; before I started using them I was constantly losing my earrings. The hinged mechanism keeps them secure, even when shedding layers of clothing. And they don't poke you in the neck while you are talking on the phone. I highly recommend them for bridal parties as well... the last thing you want is a picture of your bridal party and someone has lost an earring.
6. Soft touch .019 - Unless I'm knotting this is the only stringing material I use. Soft touch is super strong and flexible, which means the pieces of jewelry that I turn out are quality with long-lasting durability.
7. Chain - I use it for bails, and creative earrings and necklaces. It has a great drape and looks elegant.
8. 2mm round smooth sterling silver beads - I call these my pivot beads. I use them to fill the space between beads where I think the stringing material might show.
9. Toggles - Toggles are hands-down my favorite clasp. There is always one to match perfectly with my creations and they are easy to put on and take off by yourself!
10. Orange handle flex wire cutters - a favorite of mine; they have a sharp cut and a slim head, allowing me to get into the tight areas.
Penny began seriously collecting beads when she lived in West Africa in 1972. Throughout her college years at UC Berkeley and in Boulder, she designed jewelry with beads and sold her work at craft shows and through galleries in California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Nevada.
Moving to DC in 1976, she worked at the Library of Congress and National Geographic Society, but never stopped working with beads. Starting out as a street vendor she later moved to a spot at Eastern Market. In 1986 she quit her “day job” and turned to beads full time, selling wholesale to museum stores and galleries all over the US, as well as in Canada and Great Britain.
In 1989, tired of the grueling trade show schedule, she opened Beadazzled in Washington DC, and discovered a whole new level of multi-tasking. Undeterred, she launched the additional two Beadazzled locations a few years later.
In 2005 she collaborated with Bill Allen and put her journalism degree to use publishing Beadazzled: Where Beads and Inspiration Meet, a book that celebrates the artistic talent and diversity among top beaders. Penny has written all of the Bead Business tips on our website and many of the Dictionary of Beads entries. (Check both out under the Reference tab on our home page.)
Penny has taught a variety of beading techniques as well as small business classes for artists and has lectured on her travels in Africa, Asia, and South America in search of beads. The Color Class is a unique experience she developed based on pioneering color for beaders work by Kate Richbourg and Winnie van der Rijn. Penny also teaches yoga, ayurveda, and aromatherapy. She is currently working on combining her passions for yoga and beads into a workshop that uses yogic techniques to support the creative process.
Penny’s jewelry can be found in all three Beadazzled locations, but especially in Washington DC. Penny continues to explore the world in search of beads and translates her experiences into jewelry that honors the origins and history of the beads she uses, while transforming them into necklaces and earrings women can comfortably wear every day.
Dawn has been working at Beadazzled and teaching classes for just over four years. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1998 and has practiced everything in the artistic spectrum from drawing to puppet making.
Jewelry making was somewhat of an accident after a friend from high school introduced her to it many years ago. Only fairly recently has she decided to pursue it as a career and teach others what she's learned. To Dawn, jewelry making offers "a wonderful way to do something crafty while also feeding my love of art, fashion, history, science, socializing and making cute things."
She urges her students to ask questions. Everything she's learned about beading has come from classes, staff members or customers at Beadazzled. Now she appreciates her opportunity to give back by teaching others. Dawn wants all of her students to make their pieces reflect what they would like to see rather than what they've already seen. Her goal is for everyone to make their own mark on the beading world. Dawn's personal research into artists, jewelry trends and fashion adds an important element to her classes. She delights in interpreting current fashion trends and strives to teach her students to do the same when creating their own unique jewelry.
2. Plastic Box Fliptop with 24 containers - easy visual storage for your small beads and findings! These also lessen spills since everything closes up, and allow for easy travel with beads.
3. Twisted wire needles - there's no need to size needles since they fit most stringing materials and go through most beads. I find that they have solved many difficult stringing situations, such as working with french wire and seedbead project repairs.
4. Smithsonian Rock & Gem Book - this is a new book at Beadazzled. It covers more science behind many rocks, gems and minerals, and includes hard-to-find information in an easy to understand format.
5. Crystals by Harding - this book has wonderful pictures of gems in color order, which is a great format. It is a good resource for metaphysical gem information and lots of other infomation, and makes it easy to find gems without first knowing the name.
6. Cat Mats, otherwise know as beading mats - this is the best 99 cents you'll spend on a tool at Beadazzled. They keep your beads from rolling away, and can be used with projects of all types.
7. Beading Tweezers - among all the tools used for knotting, I found these to be the best way to get the desired results, I promise! They are great for beginner and advanced knotting techniques.
8. Handpicked Box Clasps - these aren't your standard clasps. They are picked with care, style, and an eye for what's beautiful, while also functional, and can really make your pieces unique.
9. Selection of chain - the amount of choice alone is great, from precious metal chains to all sorts of fashion chain. And it's sold by the foot, which makes project management a lot easier. Our chains are very popular - they can be used in everything from earrings, to necklaces, to bracelets.
10. German Pliers, both round and chain nose - after doing many projects these tools still feel like butter; they still have smooth movements and can face many, many projects without the need for replacement. The one-time cost leads to beading happiness. You'll have no worries about tool distortion with these professional grade tools.
Nikki studied economics and political science at UMBC, but later in life she discovered her true calling: seed beads. Currently, Nikki works as a bookkeeper by day and beader by night. She usually has trouble going to bed at night due to her love of beading! "If new ideas are running through my head or I'm in the middle of a necklace, I cannot stop no matter what time it is." Nikki's favorite stitch is the caterpillar stitch, and as a result, there is caterpillar jewelry all over her house. She also loves to greate peyote tubes and incorporate seed bead trees, leaves, and flowers into her jewelry.
Nikki is happily married and lives with three adorable cats. In addition to beading, she loves the beach and industrial music. For Nikki, beach trips are a regular necessity, and if she can combine the beach with industrial music, well...she's in heaven!
Nikki is excited about teaching seed bead classes at Beadazzled, such as the caterpillar stitch bracelet and the "Lost in the Forest" bracelet, and her excitement rubs off onto her students. Nikki is patient, friendly, and loves to teach both beginning and intermediate level students. During her classes, she emphasizes that relaxation is a number one priority. "Students often find those tiny little beads scary and intimidating, so my goal si to help students become comfortable and confidant with seed beads." To do this, she carefully teaches each step, provides helpful diagrams, answers all questions, and works with each student individually after working in a group. Students find Nikki's classes to be very informative and therapeutic.
2. Seed beads in sizes 11 and 6 and size 11 Delicas- There is so much I can do with seed beads and delicas. Owning as many colors as possible is important because I never know what color I'll be in the mood for.
3. Decoupage beads - These beads are a lot of fun. Decoupage beads can have beautiful designs or pictures on them with lots of color, and when I mix decoupage beads with seed beads, the color pallette can be gorgeous and unique.
4. Gemstone chips - What I love about gemstone chips is that no two are alike. They add texture and unusual shapes to my jewelry. Plus, they mix well with seed beads.
5. Japanese 4x4 cubes - Cubes come in lots of unusual and irresistible colors. Like gemstone chips, cubes add texture to my jewelry and mix well with seed beads.
6. Fireline thread - This is an absolute must for me. Fireline thread is super tough adn withstands a lot of tugging and pulling. As a result, I don't have to worry about the thread beaking, fraying, or stretching.
7. Toggle Clasps - Toggle clasps are so easy for the wearer to manipulate, plus they come in all sorts of unique designs that can be matched up with my jewelry.
8. Bead board - I always work with a bead board. It helps me measure and plan projects. In addition, I do not have to worry about my seed beads getting away from me.
9. Split rings - I find split rings to be more durable than jump rings. I know people can be tough on bracelets and necklaces, so it's important to me to use split rings.
10. Big eye needles - Big eye needles are a necessity for me. They are so quick and easy to thread!
Cas Webber's unique style infuses everything she does at Beadazzled's Baltimore store. She manages the store, travels for bead buying trips, sells her own work and teaches beginning and intermediate level classes as well as photographs for Beadazzled’s website and display advertising locally & nationally. Since 1994, she has been sharing her "knowledge about the history of beads as well as designing techniques that inspire the hidden talent in us all." Her wide variety of classes covers many techniques, but all teach unique, handcrafted jewelry made with the highest quality materials.
After earning a BFA in Photography and Performing Arts in 1992, Cas discovered that "creative diversity and freedom has been her life's passion." Her range of artistic interests has included building for a props and sets company, custom painting, rehabbing her house and shooting photos commercially. She always finds herself immersed in some kind of creative experience.
Cas uses her upbeat teaching style to inspire even the most seasoned beading veterans. Her many years of experience with Beadazzled have taught her that "every bead tells a story" and has the ability to bring cultures together to promote world harmony. Beads are her passion and she has a true gift for sharing it with the countless numbers of beading enthusiasts who have had or will have the pleasure of working with Cas as she teaches her classes.
2. Color wheel - Long ago I had a real big issue with using pink, anything pink! Blah, ick, horrific pink! Thanks to the fantastic wheel of color, I now have harmony including all colors in the spectrum. The color wheel has taught me to respect all colors, as well as teach me that each hue is in need of another to reach its full harmony.
3. Ajah beads - Drawn striped glass seed beads traded in Africa, then altered by heating and squishing. They end up in many of my designs that I keep for myself.
4. Kiffa beads - I adore them and consider then to be the "Queen of All Beads." Anyone who knows me is sure to know how to bring a smile to my cheeks... all they have to say is "KIFFA BEAD." They will be forever in my collection along with renditions from Africa and Indonesia. I enjoy showing off the contemporary renditions to my customers.
5. Indo-Pacific Tradewind Beads - Named for the winds that carried traders on the seas, these beads were produced in India, Sri Lanka, and Southwest Asia from 300 BC until approximately 1000 AD. These beads are considered to be the most commonly traded bead in history.
6. Majapahit Bird Beads - I fell in love with these beads while on a trip in Portland. Actually, they are not very pretty, nor are they colorful. When I hold them in my hand they feel spiritual and that is how I regard them...
7. Beads of the World by Peter Francis Jr. - I recommend this book for all those shoppers who want more information about collectible beads... how old they are, where they come from, etc. Peters' book has a pricing guide, however, we live in a much different world than from 1994 when it was first published, and the price guide is outdated, but the information is a treasure.
8. Spin-A-Bead - Got a lotta seed beads to string but have the need for some instant gratification? If so, then the spinner will be your best friend. Just load the beads in the spinner; spin, and watch the beads jump onto your string!
9. Bracelet mandrel - I like to make cuff bracelets and find that using a mandrel is the best way to form a shape for your wrist. I find that they are heavy to handle, which also makes for a good arm exerciser while being creative.
10. Nylon jaw pliers - I work with wire frequently and find that it is hard to work with wire that has kinks and bends throughout. My nylon jaw tool allows me to prepare the wire prior to manipulating. Running the tool over a length of wire pulls out imperfections, which allows my final product to have better quality.
Emma Moore has always been creative. She started her beading journey when she was just a teenager and is going stronger than ever today. While attending art school in Philadelphia, she also discovered her passion for teaching others. She holds a degree in art education and hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like, but will agree that beading and jewelry making is one of her favorites.
When teaching the basics, she believes the motto; practice make perfect. Once you know the basic techniques, the ideas and possibilities are endless. Her practical attitude and a simple way of breaking down the techniques into step-by-step makes her students feel at ease when learning new skills.
1. Freshwater Pearls - I use them with gemstones as spacers for a lot of my designs.
2. Bali Style Spacers - I use these in almost everything I make, especially earrings to highlight a focal bead.
3. Czech Glass Beads - These beads are what I used in my very first designs. I love the fire polished ones.
4. No-Roll Bead Mat - I have them in both light and dark depending on what color beads I’m using.
5. Chain - For adding another texture to a design, or for making an extender to wear designs at different lengths.
6. Swarovski Crystals - To add a little sparkle to any design.
7. Round nose pliers - For making my favorite project, earrings! Get good quality ones to start so you don’t have to replace them later on.
8. Copper Wire - I use this to practice techniques before I start on precious metal wire. It’s much softer and similar to the feel of sterling or gold –filled wire.
9. Faceted Rondelle Gemstones - These are almost always good quality stones and I love the way they sparkle.
10. Olive Jade - I love the color of this yellow-green stone. It makes the most dynamic color combos with amethyst and amazonite.