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This weekend I went to the Art Glass and Bead Show right in my town of Madison, Wisconsin.  It has been many years since I’ve attended this show, so I was interested to see how I would like it.  I am pleased to say I was very happy with the experience.  There was enough variety and quality in the vendors for me to feel like I got what I wanted, yet it wasn’t totally exhausting for me like Bead and Button can be. I went with my parents, and they felt the same way.

One thing I wanted to get at the show was chain.  I never have enough chain.  I never feel like I can find what I’m looking for on line, and even if I read measurements, I’m terrible at translating that in my head.  So it was nice to be able to pick it out in person.  I love that blue dangle chain!

The chain motherlode, though, was at Diakonos Designs. They had a huge selection of a nice variety of chain.  It’s a store I’ve been to in person since it’s in a town only about 30 minutes away.  I’m starting to wonder why I don’t go more often because I was fairly impressed with their nice variety of beads when I went one or two times.  They have a different variety of things than my local bead store.  They’ll be seeing me more often, especially as I need more chain.

I also got a few other bits and bobs from the Diakonos booth.  They have some good clasps.  They even had some Diane Hawkey beads!


I picked up a cactus pendant from local lampwork artist Cathy Lybarger of Aardvark Art Glass.  I really love her work and have other beautiful pieces.

I also got some lampwork from Tanya McGuire.  That big, multicolor bead in the upper left corner is big, but it’s very light because it’s hollow.  I love that!

This strand of coral is very unlike something I’d usually pick, but I saw it in someone’s tray as I was passing a booth, and it looked so good I found it in the display and bought a strand!


I have wanted a pendant by Kristi Evenson of CB&Co for a while, and this was my chance!  Her booth was a beautiful set up with old wood and beautiful fabric. It was fun to stand there, look at her wares and choose the one I wanted.  I had narrowed it down to this one and maybe one other when my mother looked at the display and picked this one out immediately.  She knows me well.


The East of the Sun booth was quite popular.  There was a ton of stuff I wanted, but when I saw these trade beads, I looked no further.  I really hope proprietor Ramsey Finger is there again next year!  He said he wants to get his website up and running but he travels a lot, so I’ve linked to his placeholder.  I’ll be checking back patiently because he really had nice stuff and great prices.  He told me these are kakamba beads.  I had a strand of them years ago, and they were some of my favorite beads ever.  I am so happy to have gotten some more.

I was thrilled that Dakota Stones was there. Their booth was this huge layout of gorgeous strand after gorgeous strand.  My mom and I said that’s where we want to spend our time next year.  I was standing there trying to talk myself into or out of (I’m not sure which) buying this apatite and citrine.  Another shopper picked up the only two strands of apatite in this cut, size and finish. She was carrying it around while shopping, and I stayed in the booth for at least 15 minutes to see if she was going to buy them both.  I moved slightly (and picked up the turquoise) but the minute she decided not to buy them, I picked one up, scooped up the citrine and made my purchase.

At the end of the show, my mom and I had purchased much more than my dad, so my mom pointed out some metal beads she thought he would like in the Elka Designs booth near the entrance. Of course while he was looking, so were we.  I am not good at focusing when looking at a ton of strands, but my mom found these keshi pearls.  She mentioned they were half price while she was waiting in line to buy them, so I couldn’t resist and bought a strand too.

I really enjoyed the show and look forward to going again next year.  I felt like Goldilocks – it was just right!