History of the Grand River Bead Society

Founding Members

The Grand River Bead Society (GRBS) was founded in 2001 by Marilyn Gardiner and Roxann Blazetich-Ozols who wanted to share their common interest and knowledge of beads and beadwork while learning new techniques with a small group of bead enthusiasts in the Waterloo/Kitchener/Guelph area. Gradually, with meetings first held in a local bead store, the word got out. As the group grew, meeting locations in Waterloo and Wellington counties moved from private homes to church rooms, community spaces and then the Hampton Inn in Guelph.


GRBS initially included bead makers, collectors, jewellery designers, kit creators, people who use beads for embellishment and anyone who wanted to have fun with beads. Our membership interests have expanded to gem and mineral lovers, wire workers, embroiderers, fibre arts, polymer clay enthusiasts and designers in every form of adornment. Members have come from the entire Grand River area as well as the greater Toronto area. With the changing times and meetings moving to virtual “spaces”, the scope of the membership has expanded beyond our local area.
During the monthly meetings we chat, bead, share, learn, show our work and generally get inspired. Several of our members are professionals who teach, publish and participate in shows across Canada and the USA.

Everyone is encouraged to volunteer in all aspects of the GRBS operation. In 2011, GRBS became an official Not-For-Profit organization in order to legitimize the society and call attention to our importance in the community. We were able to exhibit members’ work in local libraries, the Guelph Museum and take part in the Joseph Schneider Haus exhibition during Marilyn Gardiner’s tenure as Folk Artist-In-Residence in 2007.

Every fall (since 2002) the GRBS sponsors a juried membership show and sale of beads, gemstones, jewellery kits and jewellery making supplies.  In addition, Canadian artisans, both amateurs and professionals, offer quality finished jewellery and décor items for sale. Demonstrations are conducted throughout the day as well as classes taught by local, area, and international instructors. Fund raising was done for local charities by selling donated members’ work at these shows and GRBS meetings.

Created by Roxann Blazetich-Ozols April 25, 2021