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  • Newsletter

    Karen Ann Hoffman

    Karen Ann Hoffman

    Join us on January 15th, 2024 for this Amazing Artist

    Happy New Year everyone! 

    Here is the information for our next speaker, on Monday January 15th.  

    Karen Ann Hoffman will be telling her stories and showing her work.

    This will be a joint meeting with Toronto Bead Society.

    Enter a caption here or remove

    The Artist

    Karen Ann Hoffman is a Haudenosaunee Raised Beadwork Artist, and a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. She is a 2020 National Heritage Fellow and a 2022 United States Artist Fellow. 

    The beadwork student of Samuel Thomas and Lorna Hill, her Raised Beadwork is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, Chicago’s Field Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum of Indian and Western Art and the Fenimore Art Museum’s Thaw Collection among other fine institutions. 

    Karen Ann beads, forages, hunts and raises heritage white and blue corns, squash and beans on her 40 acre homestead poised on the edge of the Fogerty Marsh in Central Wisconsin.

  • Newsletter

    Gayle Goddard

    The Clutter Fairy

    Ever look at your stash of beads and wonder how to make it neat and tidy?

    Gayle Goddard  The clutter fairy is going to show us some tips and tricks.

    Gayle doesn’t possess magical powers for making order out of chaos- just a natural sense of organization, and a lot of empathy, a  keen insight into the relationships between people and their “stuff.” She spent more than 20 years organizing financial data as a CPA before turning her skill and passion for conquering clutter into a professional organizing business As owner of the The Clutter Fairy, she offers organizing services and ongoing support to help clients conquer clutter and focus on what they really want to be doing. She is also currently producing a webcast/podcast called The Clutter Fairy Weekly, available as video on her YouTube channel or podcast platforms everywhere. For fun, she has been beading for 3 decades, and she hangs out with some serious beady chicks in Texas.

  • Newsletter

    Ancaster Show

    Ancaster Show

    GRBS is at the Ancaster Gem, Mineral, Bead & Jewellery Show!

    The Ancaster Bead Show is in full swing and GRBS has a table there amidst all the excitement!

    Thank you to all members who came out in support of the GRBS and beaders everywhere.

    A huge thanks to Evelyn and our volunteers for the great job they did representing the GRBS.

    A special thanks to Naomi Smith for her stunning display of work along with the Beadwork magazine.

  • Newsletter

    Carrie Story

    Journey Of Project X

    Join us for Carrie's Story

    Please join us for Carrie Story’s journey. Incase you aren’t sure who we’re talking about Carrie is the creator of Project X metal clay and the Founder of Clay Revolutions. 

    Join us and the TBS as Carrie takes us through her journey on creating Project X and some of it’s amazing applications! Not only will this meeting be informative, but hopefully it will also be dazzling.

  • Newsletter

    AGM and Special Guest Artisan Craig Ewing

    Members Sale & Swap, If yo;u can't attend, watch from home via Zoom.

    Monday September 18, 2023 is our AGM. Incase you missed the AGM is June, we didn’t form a Quoram, so it’s been moved to our first meeting of the year! 

    In June Gillian gave an amazing presentation of our survey results and maybe she’ll do it this time too (you never know.) So come join us as we do our business, vote, and then get down to the fun stuff!

    Craig Ewing is back! Don't miss out on his amazing style and presentation!

    Craig is a Toronto-area artist who makes gorgeous, glamorous jewellery using off-loom bead weaving, bead embroidery and LOTS of crystals. He’s also a long standing member of the GRBS! 

    Want to check out more of Craigs amazing work? We’re sure you do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Click here

    A picture of Craig Ewing at his work space. He is a member of the GRBS and will be doing a presentation on Sept 18th, 2023.
  • Newsletter

    Specialist Tools with Richard Pikul

    Wednesday Sept 13, 2023

    Get ready to Learn about crafting Specialty Tools that We all Have or Want

    This is a Special joint meeting with our Sister Beading Society the TBS! It’s for members who paid their fee’s by the deadline of August 31st.

    We will be joining Toronto Bead Society to hear Richard Pikul of Tilted Woodshop talk about his business,  making specialist wooden tools for Needlework, Braiding and Lace-making. Our very own Naomi swears by his pin vise tool as an all-purpose piercing and poking tool. Richard will use his precision lathe to actually make a small tool for us live on camera!  

  • Newsletter

    Fall-ing For Colours in Jewellery

    It's a New Year For GRBS, Let's Fall Into It!

    Ahhhh, the changing of the seasons brings new possibilities for jewellery making. Fall is the time to start putting away the bright, vibrant colours and bring out the muted, rich tones. Colours for Fall always mimic nature. The changing of the leaves with their yellow, orange and red. the deeper earthy tones of purple, black and brown.

            These can be used in many combinations to make lovely Fall jewellery. You can find all these colours or variations of them in beads, crystals and gemstones. You can also find them in pigments for resin, polymer clay and resin clay. You can also combine colours in these mediums to create various fall colours.

       With all these possibilities for Fall, there is no reason not to make some beautiful Autumn jewellery.

    Here’s some examples of my work. What does yours look like?

  • Newsletter

    Show & Share June 2023

    Sherry Stockton

    Beading work by Sherry Stockton

    Recently I beaded this summer set consisting of necklace, bracelet, earrings and anklet. The necklace, earrings and anklet are using Myuki 8/o beads and the bracelet using 11/o.  This is necklace and bracelet are twisted herringbone using Jill Wiseman’s video instructions.  The earrings and anklet are RAW.  When I finished beading the necklace it seemed quite squishy so I stuffed it (threaded through) using the white braided netting in picture.  I purchased the netting at John Bead, without knowing exact use many years ago and it came in handy now. Necklace is still flexible but not wobbly or as squishy. 

  • Newsletter

    Taking It Personally

    Taking It Personally

    Showing Metal Engraving

    Engraving and Stamping are two very different styles that achieve the same goal. They make a statement on your jewellery or artistic piece. They also make it as personal as you want it.


    Engraving is a way of hand writing personal messages. You can also make pictures and images. Putting a name on an item is easy with this method. There are a number of ways to engrave something. 

    There are special pens you can use, these are probably the easiest to use for a beginner. There is more control with this method. Did you know you can use stencils with these pens? They can be very beautiful. These are mainly used for metal. 

    Have you eve thought of using them with an old spirograph set? 

    For those with a steadier hand, an electronic engraver could be a good way to go. It’s good for drawing free hand and writing names and sayings. You could also use a Drumel with a flex shaft and engraving bits. 


    Stamping on metal is another great way to personalize your jewellery. The letters are precise and easy to read. The problem is you need a steady hand. You also need to know how much pressure is needed to make the mark. You can get all kinds of letters, fonts, and shapes. When done properly it looks beautiful.

    Either way you choose to personalize, you need to make the sign and/or letters stand out. This is where patinas come in. There are many different brands on the market for different metals. The most common is Liver of Sulfur. A  less odorous way of colouring, is to use the stamp enamel marker from Impress Art. You could also use a black Sharpie as an inexpensive alternative.

    The last way to personalize projects is Resin using nail art or scrapbook items.

    Hope you enjoy, if your try any of these ideas.

    We’ll see you in September! The Newsletter is taking the Summer off.  Enjoy your summer and stay safe!

  • Newsletter

    Annual General Meeting


    Members Sale & Swap, If yo;u can't attend, watch from home via Zoom.

    It’s that time!

    The Annual General Meeting is taking place this month and it’s going to be in person! 

    We’re also doing a Bead De-stash! Have something you’d like to clear out? Need something else to fill in the gap? Never fear our membership is here for you. 

    Bead De-Stash!

    Have some crafting supplies you’re looking to down-size? Maybe you’re looking for something in particular? We’ve got you covered!

    Paid Membership can get a half table for free. Just let us know when you show up for the meeting.

    Don’t want a table? No problem, who doesn’t love shopping!? Come check out what our Members have for your craft room!

  • Newsletter

    President’s Message

    President's Message

    Members Sale & Swap, If yo;u can't attend, watch from home via Zoom.

    June, the month we have all waited for – long, warm, sunny days, upcoming holidays, leisure time with friends and family and being creative.  Whether stringing, bead embroidery, Kumihimo, chainmail, crochet/knitting with beads, or tackling one of the  many beading techniques to explore and challenge ourselves leisurely!

     I have an opportunity for you – join the Grand River Bead Society Board of Directors! The roles of Secretary, Membership Chair and Bead Fair are open and need to be filled at our our Annual Meeting on June 19th.  Being a member of the Board provides many opportunities in directing the future of GRBS.  Planning, organizing, programming events – skills we all use everyday – mostly without realizing we do.  The GRBS Board is a collaborative group. Please seriously consider lending your expertise.  We can’t continue to provide monthly meetings without the direction of a Board to lead.

    Annual Membership fees are now due for the 2023-2024 year of $50 and cover September 1st to August 31st.  PayPal, CC and if in Canada e-transfer is available. Head over to the Membership page on the website

    In addition to the June 19th Annual meeting there will be an opportunity for CURRENT, PAID, GBRS MEMBERS, to have a half table – at no fee – to De-Stash any jewellery supplies no longer needed. First come first served for a half table.   No supplies to De-Stash – no worries – you can provide a good home to goodies available from others, in other words “bring your money” to buy! 

    Looking forward to seeing everyone and renewing friendships!

    ~Sherry Stockton

  • Newsletter

    Having a Blast with Public Fee Mining!

    Having a Blast with Public Fee Mining

    A collection of mined gems

    Did you know you could mining? Yes, and you can bring your family!

    Wondering what to do for the summer? Need something fun for the whole family while on vacation? An open fee mine may just be what you are looking for now. It’s a fun afternoon of looking for stones and or fossils. The kids can start a collection, and so can you! You amay find some lovely garden stones or beautiful stones to turn into jewellery.

    There are many placees in Ontario that offer the chance to have fun and bring home some treasures. Bancroft is the gem capital of Ontario. They have a Gemboree every year in the summer. You can find all kids of informationa and pretty things. Pluse they sell mining tools (they have you covered.) There are many mines in the area. Some of the most popular are the Beryl Pit, Teh Rose Quartz mine, and Princess Sodalite mine.

    A sign depicting what rocks you can find in the Beryl Pit
    Beryl Pit

    The Beryl Pit is near a small town called Quadeville. You go to the general store there to pay a fee to mine. They have you sign a release and give you directions on how to get there. Once there, you can pick through piles, dig in the dirt mounds and chisel on the walls. You may stay at the mine as long as you want. You can bring out as much as you can carry in one trip. Some of the stone you can find are quartzes, feld spar, amazonite, and fluorite. There is a sign board in the mine (see left) telling you all the stones you can find at the pit.

    A picture of the Rose Quartz mines in Bancroft Ontario
    The Rose Quartz Mine

    The Rose Quartz mine can only be accessed by appointment. You must contact a lovely couple: Dave and Renee Paterson, to gain entrance to this mine. They also own the Beryl Pit. On the day of your appointment, you will meet Dave at the general store in Quadeville. Dave then guides everyone to the Rose Quartz mine. Once you park, he collects a fee. You are told, when you make the appointment, what the fee will be. Now you are ready for the mine entry. Rose Quartz heaven! Dave gives a very informative talk about the mine, then turns you loose to pick and dig. If there are good quality rose quartz pieces he takes out and weighs them before you leave. Then he charges you per pound to take them with you. Any other stones or gems are not weighed or charged. When everyone is done, then he guides you out again.

    Rocks and Gems that can be found at the Princess Sodalite Mine
    Princess Sodalite Mine

    The Princess Sodalite mine is, as the name implies, full of sodalite as well as other stones. There is a rock shop that you first enter. They have many specimens of a multitude of rocks. If you want to go minig, you must sign a release form and comply with all the posted rules. You can take your time and get lost in the rock picking experience here. When you come out, they will weigh all your treasures and charge you by the pound. You are then free to take it all home. You can also do the easy thing and buy your specimens from the rock shop too!

    There are many small cuts and places to go as well. A stop at the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce would be wise. They sell a book on all spaces in the area. 

    Thunder Bay and Pearl are also good for public fee mining. Here you will find amethyst as well as other treasures. There are at least three known mines in this area:

    1. The Panorama
    2. The Willowdale
    3. The Blue Points

    They are mainly spots to pick through piles of rocks but finding a quality gemstone is possible and oh so satisfying! They also have other rocks too. If you’d like to go outside of Ontario, there is open fee mining in Vernon B.C. There you will find rough opal.


    No matter where you go, there are some must haves you need for mining. Here is a list:

    • small hammer
    • chisels
    • rain gear (it’s not always sunny)
    • gardening gloves
    • water
    • bug spray
    • suntan lotion
    • containers
    • a wagon to carry everything in and out
    • a snack (you don’t want to be hangry in a mine)

    Hopefully , this article will inspire some of you to try it. Good luck out there!

  • Newsletter

    Show & Share May, 2023

    This piece was created by Evelyn herself. 

    An embroidered pendant with a bead woven chain. Designed by Evelyn.

    A large bead embroidered piece made by Evelyn.

    I made this scaled chainmaille shoulder drape from a pattern and kit by Jennifer Martinez of Steampunk

    This is a strawberry emery pincushion that I made in a class by our very own Naomi Smith.

    I made this spiral necklace following guidelines in the book “Minerva Spirals”

    This is a Slinky Herringbone rope designed by Jill Wiseman using Toho sharp triangles. Feels silky!

    These peyote bracelets were made for my granddaughters. 

    A pair of red earrings using the same pattern with two different looks. Fun!

  • Newsletter

    Exploring the Past Through Jewellery

    A deer tooth dating back 20 000 years

    An amazing find was made not that long ago in 2019. It was a pierced ancient deer tooth. Most times when things like this are found, it’s speculated that they were used as ornamentation for our ancestors. A practice we still do today. That rock you found and strung, the pretty shell you found on the beach, that cool thing that you found in the park, but aren’t sure what it actually is so you stick it on a string with a couple of beads and make a show piece. We’ve been doing it for generations, but what makes this deer tooth so interesting then?

    It's Interesting Because....

    This is one of the first times they’ve been able to extract DNA from a relic without having to partially destroy it or contaminate their find.

    Usually when something like this is found, they have to cut off a piece or disolve it in order to test for DNA and age markers. However, thanks to a cutting edge technique created by Molecular Biologist Elena Essel of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, we don’t have to anymore. Elena found a way of extracting DNA directly from the specimen with little to no damage to it at all. This technique is a game changer. It means that modern day tools will no longer destroy or leave traces of our day in age in the samples to mess up findings. Imagine it like this, your favourite cooking spoon (admit it, we all have one) was used to stir a tuna casserole on Tuesday. You washed it, put it away and on Wednesday you use the same spoon to stir spaghetti sauce, but for some reason now your sauce tastes a bit fishy. Maybe the spoon wasn’t quite as clean as you thought. That can sometimes happen with artifacts too and transference occurs making a definite finding somewhat harder to actually establish. With this new technique it will stop that from happening or make it so low a chance that it won’t register 95% of the time.

    There are drawbacks however. The only DNA that can be pulled is from whoever touched it last. So while this technique is brilliant and can give us much more information in the future on finds we make, or perhaps enlighten us more on relics we’ve already found, it can only provide a snap shot of that information. We can date it, tell you where it was found, it’s genetic make up, and who had it last, but it may not be where it’s from, or how it got there, or who had it originally. 

    So Why Should Artists Care?

    People who make jewellery should care, because this is HUGE in our Artistic world! It may only be a snap shot, but from this one “snap shot” we already know that the supposed pendant is around 20,000 years old. That it was owned by a Sapien. They are one of the three main species of human that existed in our past. Infact, as more evidence becomes available about the human genome, we’re discovering that modern humans can carry one of the three DNA’s of our ancient past: Sapiens (which is considered modern man) Denisovian (which is like a mixing of Sapiens and Neaderthals) and Neaderthals. Infact, in time all three co-existed in some of the same places, which is what Scientists think has happened here. 

    Another interesting fact is that the woman (yup they could figure that out too) wasn’t actually from the site that the tooth was found. She was actually from a group or clan that was based 2000 miles away. So what does this mean? We’re actually still trying to figure that out.

    It’s interesting to think about though. Perhaps she was a travelling merchant? Perhaps she was a maker of ornaments for her people or others (like an ancient travelling jeweller) who was peddling her wares when she dropped one. Perhaps she was sharing her crafting knowledge with others and teaching them what she knew, so they too could start crafting beautiful items. If you think about it, maybe we’ve come full circle again in modern days, only instead of travelling thousands and thousands of miles we now have the technology to connect and teach other all over the world and spread beauty and creativity everywhere with everyone. 

    Just food for thought.

  • Newsletter

    President’s Message

    President's Message

    Members Sale & Swap, If yo;u can't attend, watch from home via Zoom.

    The days and months seem to have flown by very quickly!

    Here we are early May of 2023.  GRBS members have enjoyed many fabulous presentations during 2022-2023!  Thanks to all Board members for suggestions for presentations and especially to Gillian for making them happen.  Kudos!

    Our June, in-person meeting, is back at the Hampton Inn in Guelph and is two-fold:

    • the Annual Meeting with the year review and election of 3 new Board members
    • a Mini Bead and Supply De-stash Sale. 

    The Annual Meeting fulfills our Registered Non-profit government registration.  
    An election of 3 new Board members is required replacing three who have fulfilled their 3 year term. 

    The Board positions for up for election for a three (3) year term are:

    • Secretary
    • Membership 
    • Bead Fair  

    Your GRBS Board is a collaborative group who needs your participation in fulfilling these positions.  Please, consider joining the Board.  For more information on these available positions, please check out the Bylaws tab on the website or send me a message

    Mini bead and supply de-stash you say, yup!  Bring any items that you would like someone to give a good home. You may also be providing a good home for someone else’s treasures.  No cost for sharing a table – paid GRBS membership only eligible to sell and share a table, however, non-member guests are heartily welcomed to come and replenish their bead stashes.  

    Looking forward to seeing/hearing Sharl Smith next week at our Membership meeting!

    Enjoy the sun – while beading of course. 

    Sherry Stockton 

  • Newsletter

    A Shout-out to BeadFX and Wonderful Article

    A Quick Shout-Out to BeadFX

    We’re all aware of the amazing content we come across on a daily basis from other beaders, companies, and artists. Here at the GRBS, we saw a blog post by BeadFX that we thought would be helpful to many of our Members. It was posted to our Facebook site, but we thought it worth mentioning here. 

    It’s called Beads ‘n’ Sequins, Sequins ‘n’ Beads, and you can read all about it by clicking on the link. 

    Also don’t forget to check out more articles at the BeadFX Blog and their Store for supplies. 

  • Newsletter

    Design Insights ~ A Life’s Journey

    Design Insights~ A Life's Journey

    Canada Beading Supply in partnership with the Grand River Bead Society and the Toronto Bead Society is sponsoring a Zoom presentation on Wednesday March 15, 2023 at 7pm with World renowned bead artist Virginia Blakelock. She will be covering her journey as a bead artist and sharing design insights she has learned along the way.

    Virginia Blakelock

    Virginia has been beading since she was a child beginning with an “Indian Bead Loom” kit. Her horizons were expanded at age 13 when she lived in West Pakistan for four years where there was a bead stall in the local market. After Art School and a move to Oregon, she encountered beads once again and decided in 1973 to concentrate her artistic pursuits on beading. 

    A major impetus to her career was a 1988 Threads magazine article about her career with beautiful photos of her amazing work. Her Moth necklace was particularly impressive. That article generated the greatest response of any article in Threads up to that point. This prompted her a year later, to self-publish the book “Those Bad, Bad Beads”. It was the first book in decades that provided information about working with seed beads. Virginia inspired a number of people such as Carole Wilcox and Diane Fitzgerald who then went on to become famous themselves.

    Virginia and her business partner Carol Perrenoud founded Bead Cats, Inc (also known as the Synergetics, Inc. Bead store.) They had one of the first mail-order bead businesses in North America. Since there were not many Bead Stores in the 1980’s, the two women toured the country in a 1975 Cadillac limousine making beads available to a growing number of enthusiasts as well as teaching. 

    This talk is not going to be just about her journey. Virginia says “Designing with beads is not easy, and I have made a LOT of really, really ugly things. I still struggle with coming up with colour combinations that I like. Beads are not at all like pigments you place on a canvas or sheet of paper. They are like glass, they live with the light, and seeing how they look “en masse” (together,) is usually not at all how they look when individual beads are placed together. How often have you been disappointed when what seemed like a great design, with great colours, fell completely on it’s face?

    “There are some basic premises that govern the interplay of glass types (e.g.. opaque vs transparent) with surface finishes (e.g.. AB, matte, etc.)  When I realized this, I began teaching classes in which each student made a sample with the same design and colours, but with different types of glass and surface finishes. Then, we talked about how the beads behaved. Did the beads support the design or sabotage it? Using my work and class samples I will share my design insights with you, as I tell the story of my life’s journey as a bead artist. I hope you will come away from this presentation with new eyes for your own work.” 

  • Newsletter

    Gemstones can be made?

    Gemstones can be made?

    Whoa! Hold up, what are we talking about here? Gemstones come from the ground, you dig them up, cut them, polish them and string or wrap them. Now you’re saying they can be made? Yes, that’s right, you heard correctly: Gemstones can be made, and it’s quite clever too. Have you ever wondered why you see gemstones in a store and they seem so expensive, but then in another store they’re almost unbelievably affordable? Chances are they lower priced ones are man/lab-made. 

    First of all, what is a synthetic or man-made gemstone? They are gemstones that are created in a lab instead of digging them out the ground.  They are called lab-grown or man-made. Simulant stones are made to look like a real gemstone. They are created from different minerals and could even contain the same mineral material as the stones they are trying to emulate. There is also another category of man-made  gemstones known as Fake gemstones which are lower in natural materials, quality, and price.

    How can I tell which one is which?

    Lab created stones are the hardest to tell. There are however, ways to tell with just the naked eye or a tool called a loupe. Let’s look at them now.

    1. The quality of a lab made gemstones will be unrealistically high. So the cracks and inclusions you’d expect to find in a natural gemstone won’t be present. Remember if you think you’re finding what looks like a flawless 10ct diamond for $1 a piece it’s probably lab made and not the real thing. 
    2. Colour. The colour on lab made gemstones is very rich, and in some cases deep. It’s like finding the gemstone in the colour you expect it to be in, but it’s such an intense colour you can’t believe it. 

    An example of lab made vs natural is Diamonds. Often people use the lab made diamonds instead of the natural ones because they’re brilliant with their clarity and size, and often more affordable. 

    It can sometimes be hard to to figure out. A sure-fire way (if you have the time and an excellent eye) is to look for the serial number (yes, just like on your phone, or cable box.) Lab made gemstones have serial numbers on them…often in print smaller than fine print, but we promise it’s there. It’s one way governments stop sellers from passing off lab made as authentic gemstones. 

    Interesting fact: Lab made stones are often made up of minuscule amounts of the natural stone. It’s how they’re “grown.”

    Simulant stones look very much like the real thing, but they don’t contain any of the mineral in the natural stone they are emulating. Prices for these are very low. You can’t tell the difference between natural and synthetic with the naked eye. 

    Two examples of these stones are Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite. They can both easily be exchanged for a natural diamond with the naked eye. With a loupe however, you can check them and find they have no inclusions. 

    The most common simulant stones you’ll find are:

    • Diamonds
    • Sapphires
    • Rubies

    These kinds of stones have been in existence since the 1800’s. Geneva rubies appeared in 1885. 

    To determine if it’s synthetic or natural, you can use a a heat test.  A flame from a lighter held against a simulant stone will cause it to melt. 

    The final kind of stone is known as the Fake Gemstone. These are the worst of the bunch.

    They are usually sold by crooked dealers. There is no real gemstone material in these at all. Commonly they are made out of glass that’s been coloured to look like the gemstone they are supposed to be. 

    a 10x loupe reveals bubbles in the “stone” which shows it’s just glass. These are never a good deal no matter the price. 

    So what are some adavantages to to using lab/man-made gemstones?

    1. A lot of gemstones are still being mined in dangerous ways’ that exploit the workers who look for them. Blood Diamonds are a good example of this. They usually fund bad practices with governments in many underdeveloped countries. So buying lab/man-made gemstones would be a better choice for your money instead.

    2. Colour matching.  Gemstones usually make up a large part of the design because of their colour. Lab grown or simulant gemstones hold their colour better than a natural stone and they often come in more shades. Most of the lab grown stones look like the imagined colour for natural gemstones. They are also flawless unlike natural gemstones.

    3. Price. This is the last advantage for lab/man-made gemstones. They are more likely to be within the jewelers budget , whereas Natural gems are very expensive because of all the work involved in obtaining them. Lab/man-made gemstones are about 1/3 of the price. 

    So which is better?

    Well…that depends on you. The main thing to take from is blog is that lab/man-made stones are quite similar to natural stones. They’re just grown in a lab instead of the earth. Synthetic stones are good in a pinch, and be aware of shady sellers trying to pass glass off to you. 

    As always, looking forward to getting ideas for article topics from your curious minds. See you in the April edition!

  • Newsletter

    Bijoux for the Theater- Tami MacDonald

    Bijoux for the Theater

    In February, we had an extrodinary presentation by Tami MacDonald from the Stratford Festival Theater. 

    She gave a presentation on the Stratford Festival Bijoux department and all it entails. 

    Tami MacDonald

    Tami’s education is based in Fashion, with a strong desire to continue educating herself in different mediums and crafts. This led to a natural fit into her department at the Theater and her dream job!

  • Newsletter

    Let’s Get Knotty Together

    Let's Get Knotty Together

    This Article is going to be Knotty.

    That’s right we are going to explore the most popular knots for jewellery making. Knots are very important for jewellery making. Using the correct knot can keep your jewellery from coming apart. It also helps enhance your jewellery piece. There are several factors to take into consideration before trying knots. These are:

    1. The stringing material.
    2. Strength of the thread or cord need for the beads being used
    3. Length of the thread or cord for your project.

    There is nothing worse than running out of thread or cord in the midst of a project.

    Now let’s take a look at the knots themselves.

    Simple Overhand Knot

    The first knot is a simple Overhand knot. You learn this knot when you learn to tie your shoes. It’s just a loop in the cord and pull the ends in opposite directions. For added security, you can place a dab of glue on the knot. E-6000 is a good glue to use for this. 

    It is used in bead stringing and Pearl Knotting. When used this way, try and get the knot as close to the bead as possible. You can also simply us it in the design as decoration as well.

    Lark's Head

    It is as simple as an Overhand knot. This knot is mainly used for macrame projects. It can also be used as a bail to attach stones as pendants or as clasps. It  is pretty secure and can enhance your jewellery piece.

    Square Knot

    This knot is used as a connector. It is the one to use when adding on new cord. You can use beads with this knot to be more decorative or use just the knots for a more simplistic look. This knot lends itself to using multiple strands.

    Each of these knots is created by wrapping the outer strands in a loop around a core piece. Alternating from side to side creates a nice flat finish. 

    For a spiral effect, simply tie the knots on one side only. To do these, you need to secure it similarly to macrame. This technique works best with cord, leather, or hemp.

    Sliding Knot

    This knot is perfect for making adjustable jewellery. There is no clasp required, so this is perfect for anyone with metal allergies. This knot is made by making 2 tunnels of loops in your cord. These tunnels will slide along the cord to make the piece larger or smaller. This is best used with thick cord of some kind.

    Surgeons Knot

    This knot is good for using with slippery cords like elastic cord. This is similar to the Square knot, but more durable. It is not used as a decorative knot, just a utility one.

    Pretzel Knot

    This knot is also known as the Josephine knot. It gets it’s name from the fact that it resembles a pretzel shape. It’s often used as a focal point in macrame. You can enhance the look of the knot by using multiple colours.

    To create this knot, you start out securing it to a board (like in macrame,) then twist the cord into connecting loops.

    Half Hitch

    The final knot in this article is a Half Hitch. This stitch is mainly used in bead weaving. It’s used for adding more threads and ending the weaving also. This knot is similar to the overhand but its done over another thread.

    Hopefully this article helps with knowing which knot to use for a project. Remember practice makes perfect, especially in jewellery making.

  • Newsletter

    The Wonderful World of Modge Podge

    The Wonderful World of Modge Podge

    What is Modge Podge, you many ask? It is a medium that started out for decoupage. Then it branched into jewellery. Modge Podge works as a glue, a sealant, and a finisher. It is not however water proof. It was invented in 1967 by Jan Westone. It is defined as a synthetic resin used mainly in paint and adhesives. There a quite a few formulas to choose from. Below is a list of the best ones for Jewellery making. 


    Our first Modge Podge has to be classic. It comes in three different finishes: Gloss, Matte, and Satin. Gloss is a very shiny look. Matte has a flat, non-shiny finish, and Satin is somewhere between the other two. These are all good to use for most surfaces on projects.

    Brush Stroke

    It gives the illusion of hand painting. You brush it on your project and it gives it a highly textured finish. It resembles the look of hand painting.

    Extreme Glitter

    It’s an ultra fine glitter filled medium. It’s perfect for glass projects or covering dark surfaces. It really shows off the glitter effect. Try thinking “Out-of-This-World” when using this Modge Podge.

    Glow in the Dark

    It’s exactly what you think. In order tot get the glow effect, you’ll need to apply it in layers. It’s good for any project to which you want to add a glow. It won’t be noticeable in light, but it shines in the dark. The intensity will depend on how many layers you used.

    Hard Coat

    This is a super tough formula. It makes  a lot of protection for projects that are frequently touched. It only comes in a satin finish however. It tends to show less scratches with a more durable finish.


    This Modge Podge has holographic glitter in it. It only comes in a glossy finish. The more coats you use, the more sparkle there is. It shows up best on dark surfaces.

    Dimensional Magic

    It has an epoxy-like finish. It’s good for jewellery and paper crafts. With this formula, you have the look of resin without the toxicity and mess. It dries clear and comes in clear and glitter. It can be applied in layers as long as each layer is allowed to dry before the next one goes on.

    These are only a few of the formulas that are available. Most other formulas are for uses such as fabric, puzzles, or furniture. You can find a myriad of information including projects tot try at:

    Modge Podge Rocks.

  • Newsletter

    Pliers, Pliers Everywhere!

    Pliers, Pliers Everywhere!

    Picture of various pliers used in jewellery making

    It’s very confusing when it dcomes to jewelllery making pliers. Which ones for the right task?

    There are some that are self-explanatory, like crimping pliers or looping pliers. There are some that are very confusing. Chainnose, needle nose and round nose pliers are the ones most likely to fit the category. Hopefully, this article will clear up some of the confusion.


    A picture of chain nose pliers
    Chain Nose Pliers

    Chain Nose Pliers

    Chain Nose pliers are flat on the inside edge and rounded on the outside edge of the pliers. They come to points  on the tips. You can grip wire really well such as jump rings and other smaller pieces.


    Round Nose Pliers

    Round nose pliers are completely round with a conical shape. You cant grip as well with them. They do make beautiful loops. Light pressure is best so you don’t mar your wire project with these.


    a picture of round nose pliers
    Round Nose Pliers
    a picture of bent nose pliers
    Bent Nose Pliers

    Bent Nose Pliers

    Bend nose pliers are pliers with a 45 degree bend at the tips. You can use them, along with chain nose pliers to open and close jump rigns. They also help keep your line of vision clear while you work your project. 


    Needle Nose Pliers

    Needle nose pliers have a longer nose on them than chain nose or round nose pliers. The inside edge is often serrated which gives them an excellent grip. The serrated edge unfortunately leaves marks and scratches on your wire projects. So one of the the following three things is recommended:

    1. Geta a pair without the serrated inside
    2. Dip them in a plastic solution to cover up the serrated edges 
    3. leave them serrated and be prepared to spend lots of extra time repairing the damage they leave on your project.


    a picture of needle nose pliers
    a picture of flat nose pliers
    Flat Nose Pliers

    Flat Nose Pliers

    Flat nose pliers have a wide nose on them. It’s almost a square shape. They can be used for straightening wire. They can also be used with Bent Nose pliers to open and close jump rings. They are also great for making sharp bends in your wire for your designs.

    Nylon Jaw Pliers

    Nylon jaw pliers are good for making sure you wire projects aren’t’ marred or scratched. They also straighten wire as well, if not better than, the flat nose pliers. They only problem with these pliers is that the tips need to be replace once in a while as they wear down. Therefore, it’s good to keep a replacement set  of tips on hand.

    a picture of punch pliers used to make holes in metal
    Punch Pliers

    Punch Pliers

    Punch pliers are used for punching holes in metal. They can pierce many different gauges of metal. They also come in different hole sizes. These come in handy for making connection and rivet holes. They can’t be used to make center holes in most projects.  They other drawback is that the punch pins need to be replace periodically as they get dull.

    Crimping Pliers

    Crimping pliers can be a bit tricky. There is a certain order to using them.

    • First put the bead thread through a jump ring or bead.
    • Load the beading wire ends through the crimp bead.
    • Get the beads close to the jump ring/bead without restricting it’s movement.
    • Now on the crimping pliers, there are two sizes of holes.
    • In the larger one (shaped like a heart,) place the tube you want to crimp.
    • Close over the crimp.
    • Before you squeeze down, separate the wires. This will give the tube a better hold.
    • Now press the tube firmly with the pliers but not too firmly (you will split the tube) but hard enough to hold the wires.
    • To complete the crimp, place the tube in the smaller hole at the top.
    • Place the crimp on its side.
    • Hold the two wires together and squeeze the tube together.
    • You can now cut off excess wire and start beading. 
    A pair of Crimping Pliers

    There are many other types of pliers out there on the market. This article was meant to cover the main ones you’ll need for working with metal and wire. Hopefully, this has helped clear up some of the confusion on using some the main ones.

    Do you use different pliers? Find some of these pliers can be used in special ways with other mediums? Leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

  • Newsletter

    Show And Share

    Members Work

    A picture of the tools that people use to make Jewellery

    Member's Work!

    Evelyn Lee did some beautiful Bead Embroidering. If you attended our December Social, you saw these stunning pieces first hand!

    Two cute stocking ornaments made by Barbara Reynders

    Barbara Reynders

    Barbara made these cute ornaments just in time for the Holidays! In two different sizes they just add Christmas cheer whenever you see them.

    Sherry Stockton has given us a variety of work! Check out the versatility of her handiwork here.

  • Newsletter

    Christmas Zoom Social & Project

    Christmas Zoom Social & Project

    Welcome to our December Social! We can't wait to catch up

    Happy Holidays!

    Now is the time for family and friends and many get togethers. It’s a time for family getting together and eating great food, and gift giving. The best gifts are always homemade such as the earrings that Gillian is demonstrating at the meeting. 

    Silver Bells Earrings, designed and taught at our Christmas Social by Gillian Clarke
    Silver Bell Earrings in different Colours

    Silver Bell Earrings by Gillian

    These earrings are seasonal and cute! The body of the bell is seed bead netting which works up quickly, so you can make them in ALL the colours. If you don’t wear earrings they could be used to decorate a Holiday wreath or centerpiece, or attached with ribbon to a wrapped Christmas present.

    Materials needed

    For each earring you will need:

    • Size 11/0 seed beads
    • 7 6mm round beads: pearls, druks, or firepolish crystals
    • Headpin
    • A small decorative bead cap (optional)
    • 2 seed beads size 8/0
    • Earwires
    • 6lb Fireline, or your choice of beading thread
    • Beading needle size 10 or 11
    • Round & Chain nose pliers
    • Wire cutters
    • Scissors

    Have a safe and Happy Holiday! We can’t wait to see you one last time this year.

  • Newsletter



    a picture made of amber a naturally occurring type of resin

    What is Resin?

    When most of people hear about resin, the first thing they think is Amber. While Amber is a naturally occurring type of resin, it’s not exactly what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the type of resin that you mix and let your imagination take over as you create beautiful pieces to share with others.

    There are two main types of Resin: UV and Epoxy. There are many brans on the market. You just need to experiment on which brand you are more comfortable with for you.

    A picture of epoxy resin being poured into a mouldEpoxy Resin

    Epxoy resin is a pourable resin for all kinds of projects. This is the type of resin people work with. It has two parts to it, a hardener and the resin itself. When making this resin, you use a 1:1 ratio and stir it for 3 minutes. After this step is done you can then pour it into a mould.

    a picture of a UV resin bottleUV Resin

    UV resin is a bit unique. It comes in two formats itself: hard and soft. They come in dark containers so that available light sources don’t start the curing process before you have a chance to use them. These resins don’t need to be mixed. Just open the bottle and pour into your mould. Add your extras and leave it to cure either in direct light, or under a curing lamp/gel nail dryer (yup, you heard that right.)

    I poured it, it's very plain looking. Now what?

    I’m sure you’ve by now poured mixed (if you needed to) your resin and bought some moulds, and poured them in. If your moulds have funky shapes, great! You now have a one colour, funky shaped resin piece. Maybe that’s what you’re going for, maybe you were hoping for more. Well how do you spruce up your resin? 

    Let’s talk add-ins!


    The easiest additive to either resin is glitter. 

    a picture of glitter in clear resin depicting many colours

    In the Epoxy resin, you can mix quite a bit in to the mixing cup. Then it gets poured into a mould and left to harden. It can take 24 – 48 hours (but usually around 24 hours,) to cure. If it feels slightly tacky when you touch it (always wear gloves), or poke it with needle (gently, so you don’t create a puncture in your work,) it isn’t done. Leave it a bit more.

    When you’re done, you’ll have a glittery piece to shine on the world.

    In the UV resin, a bit is added to the mixing cup and then poured into the mould (not much, this can completely overwhelm and ruin your project.)

    Then you use a UV light or lamp to cure the resin in minutes. That’s why you can’t use much in this resin, the lamp won’t be able to penetrate and cure the resin if there’s so much glitter that it’s light can’t get through.

    Alchohol Inks

    These provide an easy way to colour your resin projects. You must make sure you only use alcohol inks made for resin. Other inks won’t work right and will destroy your project by not allowing it to cure right, or breaking down the resin itself. 

    For the Epoxy resin, you can fill a mould 3/4 full, then drop the inks one drop at a time in to it. You can add as many colours as you like, until you achieve the effect you want. Then let it cure. Once this part is cured, you can mix more clear resin and add it on top to “top up” the mould. 

    Another fun thing to do is fill your mould 3/4 of the way full, and add your inks. Then add a white “sinker” ink on top of the other colours.  You can then take a a toothpick or a pin and make patterns in the resin. Then cure it and see all the beautiful effects you can get. 

    With UV resin, you mix the colour into the resin and pour into a mould. You can’t do the ink drop into UV resin as it doesn’t cure properly under the lamp, and just makes a mess of your project. 

    You can still have different colours in layers, but you’d have to do these seperately, and cure them one layer at a time, building up. It’s harder to do and mostly ends up being stripped projects.

    Glow in the Dark Powders & Paints

    Pretty Self explanatory

    For Epoxy resins you mix the powder or paint in to the mixing cup and pour it into your mould. You can effectly layer the glow in the dark mixture with regular clear or other coloured resin to add a bit of a pop to your projects. 

    Like with most epoxy resins, they need the regular time to cure, and then you have to leave them out in the sun or under a lamp to charge up the glow in the dark powder or paint. 

    As with all UV resins, you mix the powder or paint directly into your resin. Quickly though, as this resin cures quickly. 

    The handy part about using glow in the dark powders and paints with UV resin is that it cures at the same time it charges the powder or paint. It’s more of a one step project.

    Nail Art or Chameleon Powders

    Depending on which powder you choose to use here you’ll get a different effect. Nail Art powders give a shiny effect. Chameleon powders, like their namesake, give a colour changing effect.

    a resin project made using Chameleon Powder

    Epoxy resins need you to brush your decided powder(s) into the mould before you pour your resin in. You’re imagination is your only limit in your colour choices here.

    Again wait the time for it to cure and then pop your project out for a beautiful suprise.

    The same method is used with UV resin. Brush the powders in before you pour resin. You can use as many colours as you like before you pour your resin in.

    Because it’s on the bottom of your mould, there is no problem with the UV resin curing. 


    Dried flowers, found objects, stickers, and nail polish transfers (Epoxy only) can also be used with both resins. Really, you are your only limit in what you can do with resins. 

    Both of these Resins are excellent ways to make fun, funky or dramatic jewellery projects. There are endless ways to use this medium, and it can be used by beginners or experts alike. 

    Experiment and have fun!

  • Newsletter

    Christmas Creativity and Beyond

    Christmas Creativity & Beyond!

    During our Christmas Social’s Show & Share portion, we had members showing off some stunning beadwork, and in the holiday spirit, we also had some fun pieces from Nativity Sets. Instead of trying to remember where you saw it, we decided to just let you know. Check out the Nativity set below and few more in the same vein for flexing your beading skills.

    Picture of the 3 Kings Nativity set. Members have been beading these and showing them at the Show & Share Meetings

    Nativity Collection Kit by Spellbound Bead Co

    Kit to make five Nativity figures – the three kings, one camel and one shepherd. 

    Choose from purple for a camel with a purple blanket and shepherd with a purple jacket or turquoise for a camel with a turquoise blanket and shepherd with a green jacket.

    The kit contains a beading needle and all of the beads and thread you need to make all five figures. 

    In addition to the kit contents you will also need some scissors to trim your thread ends.

    Spellbound difficulty rating  4 out of 5 – Experienced.  Layered techniques that take a little more concentration.

    You can find this Kit and more at Spellbound Beads Co

    A picture of beaded boxes in the form of a Nativity Set from

    Beaded Nativity Pattern Set for Beaded Boxes

    • This pattern will give you 50 pages of instructions to make Mary, Joseph, Crib, Shepherds and Kings. Note: the Angel is a separate pattern, not included in the full set
    • You get over 50 diagrams and over 60 photos to accompany the written instructions
      Also includes technique guide to remind you of the basics
    • You get a special discount coupon to use on beads
    • Choose whether to buy the full set in one pattern or just Mary, Joseph and Crib (34 pages), or Kings (31 pages) or Shepherds (26 pages). Add on the Angel to any of these options (19 pages).
    • You will receive the pattern as an automatic download on your receipt. Please remember to check your spam folder if you can’t find the receipt in your inbox. You can also log in to your account on this website to access and download your pattern, or email me if you are having problems.

    You can find this set at Bead Flowers

    ThreadABead's Christmas Project from 2018.

    Christmas Project 2018 by ThreadABead

    Welcome to ThreadABead’s 2018 Christmas project! This year we have chosen the nativity as our project and of course when ThreadABead does a nativity, we are not just stopping at the figures! Over the course of the project you will be building up an entire nativity scene, something you can treasure and display year after year. In part 5 we will be creating the stable. The entire project will consist of 8 parts in total covering 15 individual beaded elements. All parts do not need to be purchased in order. Please note: Although no knowledge is assumed, it is recommended that the beader does have prior experience of beading. Techniques used are Odd Count Peyote & Round Peyote. As usual with ThreadABead featured patterns we give full detailed photographic instructions and in this part there are 81 detailed steps. Please note the pattern may not work with any other size and type of beads. There are 10 colours in total and the finished beadwork is approximately 5.75 cm (w) x 3 (d) x 4.25 (h) cm. Additionally, gold coloured Nymo thread is also required. A no tangle thread bobbin is useful but optional. The bead pattern supplied is 26 pages with full colour step by step photographic instructions.

    You can find the patterns at ThreadABead

  • Newsletter

    Cliff Swain-Salomon

    Cliff Swain-Salomon

    A picture of our January presenter. Cliff Swain-Salomon

    About Cliff

    Cliff Swain-Salomon is an off-the-loom seed bead weaver known for creating non-traditional jewelry shapes and pushing the boundaries of color exploration. After injuring and losing use of both of his hands for over three years, he began beading when a friend recommended he try it as part of his hand rehabilitation therapy. Once he started, he was hooked.

    In all of his pieces, Cliff integrates over 30 years of study in multiple fields, including graphic design, painting, sacred geometry, and chromotherapy, as well as apprenticeships with several medicine men and women.  He has exhibited his work internationally, including at the Toho Bead Galleries in Osaka and Tokyo Japan. Several publications have featured his jewelry, including Bead & Jewellery UK (Issue 112, 2021 front cover), Beadwork Magazine, Facet Jewelry, and Bead & Button, to name a few. Cliff’s beadwork has earned him several awards—he was the grand prize winner of Bead Dreams in 2018, where he was chosen for the People’s Choice Award, and he also received the Facet Jewelry Reader’s Choice Award in July 2019 and Judge’s Award in November 2019. His work has also been featured in ad campaigns and in a blog article for The Museum of Beadwork in Portland, Maine and Toho Beads in partnership with Bobby Beads & Starman. Toho Beads has also invited him to be a featured artist for their 2019 and 2020 Toho Bead Challenges. He is also a permanent ambassador for the Beadworker’s Guild and International Beading Week who featured him in their January 2022 Journal, as well as the international tutor for Melbourne, Australia for 2021.

    Cliff teaches beadweaving at various stores, for bead societies, and for retreats internationally. Before becoming a full-time artist/teacher, Cliff had worked as an instructor for a college of natural medicine, as a chef, and had held a private holistic medicine practice. He is married with a 4 year-old daughter and lives in California, near San Francisco.

    Cliff's Presentation

    Color and Finish: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Using not only different colors, but different finishes, and different temperatures/hues of colors can make pieces more dramatic, tone them down, make them more whimsical, dressier, more casual, and they can even change the story of a piece.  In this lecture, you will learn how to bring your inspirations to life through the use of various finishes and colors.  

    I can’t tell you how many times I have put together a kit and a student says they don’t like a certain bead, only to be pleasantly surprised when they use that bead within the pattern and see how the beads shifts and makes the piece “sing.”  I often hear them say, “I didn’t think it would work but oh my goodness did you prove me wrong and I love it.”  What happens is people get stuck in a rut and are scared to use bead colors that might stretch them.  Sometimes this is because the beads they use most are their favorite colors, they match their wardrobe or skin tone, or because they know what colors work together.  Often it is due to being apprehensive about spending hours on a piece and mixing different combinations, not knowing if in the end if the colors will work.  Other times this is due to not understanding how using some colors can help make your favorite ones stand out more. 

    We will discuss different things to consider beyond the color wheel including the use of fire colors, bead shape/size/finish and how to use them effectively in monochromatic pieces, the unique reflective properties of beads and how they influence the colors of others beads in a piece, and how thread can be used to adjust color tone,  You will also learn how to bring to life pieces that once felt flat and dull.  

    I often say that the only way to expand your comfort zone is to step out of it, and this lecture will teach you how to do so in ways you might not have imagined.