Beading and biking in Amsterdam

For the first week of August, I left the warehouse for the first time since our launch in March for a few days. I had a great reason – a beading event in Amsterdam held by Erika Sándor to celebrate International Beading Week.

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Goodie bags ready for IBW participants

For five years already, the first week of August is for many beaders marked as the International Beading Week (IBW) organized by the Beadworkers Guild from United Kingdom.

Beadworkers Guild is a registered charity dedicated to supporting and promoting the art of beadweaving and is open to bead workers and bead artists everywhere. They publish their own magazine, back in the day they were also organizing the “national beading week” which got so popular, it turned into International Beading week with ambassadors across the whole world, with most of them based in Europe.

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Me and Erika getting ready for the event!

What the Guild says about the event: “The original ethos of our idea was (and still is) to educate and encourage the wider public to participate in beading, to support bead traders so we could continue to have an excellent source of supplies and to have some fun sharing our passion with others in our local area.”

One of this year’s ambassadors was Erika Sándor, a very talented jewellery designer educated in all the aspects of this art, and also my dear friend who lives in Amsterdam. She prepared a special event for IBW which was a beading class for (not only) Dutch beaders where everyone could make her Star Anise pendant. The pattern can be downloaded for free from Erika’s and Beadworkers Guild website, so everyone could join us in celebration of beading anywhere and anytime. Erika also invited me and Potomac Beads Europe as an honoured guest, and I couldn’t say no, of course!

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Preparing my humble jewellery display at the event location

For the beaders joining us on this event, I prepared a special package with our pattern and a goodie bag full of our Potomac Exclusives like StormDuo, AVA beads, RounDuo, RounTrio, Faceted RounTrio, DiscDuo, IrisDuo and also brand new EVA beads and RoundDuo Mini which we will launch soon.

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A little bit of introduction for the beginning

It is always amazing to meet fellow beaders in person, to look at each other’s finished jewellery while chatting about the craft, beads and experience. I joined other ladies and made my own Star Anise pendant. It was rather refreshing to step away from my own original designing and let myself be guided by someone else’s pattern. It is a great way to learn something new while making something beautiful. And I am still considering making a pair of statement earring to match the pendant as well :))

The event was a great success, the only issue was, it was too short! Time flies by when you are having fun! We decided though to stay for a few days in Amsterdam, enjoy some time out in the sun while sightseeing and biking in and around the city.

Since we visited Erika last year, we were already recognizing some places, returning to the favourite ones and visiting new ones as well. I can only recommend visiting local markets which are changing all the time. One day offering great food, the other turning into an excellent and inspiring flea market where my only wish was for my luggage to be bigger!

To deserve all the great food and local beer, we needed to do some proper biking, so Erika and her husband took us for a trip outside of Amsterdam to see the sea 🙂 More than the sea I enjoyed the local way of life on small islands where sheep and cows can roam free thanks to the natural barriers made of canals, and where you can find amazing ice cream for 1 € in an old cowshed! I am telling you, stroopwafel flavoured ice cream is a thing you want to have in your life!

We decided to spent our last day by visiting museums which Amsterdam has plenty of. Little did we know that you need to preorder tickets to Van Gogh Museum days in advance. So we took a picture of the building at least and moved over to Micropia, an exhibition of microbes, bacterias, algae and other little things 🙂 I am originally a biologist, my husband is one too, so you can understand our motivation!

One would also think that going to North Sea would mean that you escape the heat waves which were going on in the Czech Republic, but we were greatly mistaken. That meant we spent the rest of the day in Amsterdam zoo which was right next door. And it was, a bit surprisingly, a great idea! I had so much fun there 🙂

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As a former ornithologist, I couldn’t leave without measuring my wingspan!

Although catching up with things after this trip was very demanding for me, we enjoyed a few days away. I hope you have enjoyed this little tour through Amsterdam too! I got a lot of inspiration for the future of Potomac Beads Europe, both the website and the warehouse, and also possible future events we might not only attend, but even hold! Stay tuned 😉

-Tereza
Potomac Beads Europe

 

5 Popular Miyuki Blue Hues that Won’t Get You Down

In our recent blog on the 10 Most Popular Bead Colors Today, Lindsay explored the top colors PotomacBeads.com customers use.  It was no surprise that these were mostly neutral and metallic since these colors can be paired with almost anything else and give beaded jewelry the metal-look that we see in fine jewelry.  These colors were also all Czech Glass coatings.  Although I love a good Czech coating, there is a whole other world of colors standard among Japanese Seed Beads.  I set out to identify the most sought-after original Miyuki colors.

As it turns out, we love blue!  As a young art student I was told that if I wanted to make pieces that were guaranteed to sell, “make it big, or make it blue.”  Apparently that was very good advice.  Most popular among the blue hues were these:

Miyuki Blues
Each color is available in a variety of Miyuki products
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Worked in Peyote

There is a blue here for everyone, no matter your style.  The warmth of the Matte Metallic Patina Iris (image 1) (a blue-green variegation) pairs well with warm colors such as Golden Touch Tangerine and Bronze.  I love using this color with vintage inspired pieces such as this Garden printed resin Cabochon.

Beads that have a lot of shine pair well with crystals, pearls, rhinestones, and other brightly colored pieces.  The Duracoat Galvanized Sea Foam and Montana Blue Gold Luster (image 2) will hold their own next to these iridescent Czech Glass beetles.  Using silver accents will keep the blues feeling cool and crisp.

 

 

Any Picasso color will always add a sense of rustic nature to your work.  I like to use Picasso Montana (image 3) alongside natural materials such as leather.  Earthy browns and golds will highlight the Picasso coating while providing a warm contrast to the cool blue.

Duracoat Opaque Eucalyptus (image 4) is a charming muted blue-green color.  Because it is a solid opaque color with no additional coatings, the bead has a clean, pure color, making it ideal to use alongside more complex colors such as a Green Iris, Green Luster, or Lila Gold Luster.

If you need more color inspiration, here are some of my favorite color pairings using these blue hues.

  1. Duracoat Galvanized Sea Foam & Crystal Copper Rainbow
  2. Picasso Montana & White Dark Travertine
  3. Montana Blue Gold Luster & White Teal Luster
  4. Matte Metallic Patina Iris & Vintage Copper
  5. Duracoat Opaque Eucalyptus & Metallic Dark Bronze
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(1)                           (2)                           (3)                           (4)                           (5)

 

Blue hues are very popular among jewelry makers.  It could be that they remind us of the crispness of a cool ocean or the calm that a blue sky inspires.  Whatever it is about Blue, we love it and can’t seem to get enough of it.  For more information about how to use blue and other colors, read Ashley’s blog on 6 Color Theory Tips to Enhance Your Beading Designs.   These are amazing fool-proof tips to make anyone an expert.

Share photos of your creations featuring blue in the Beading & Jewelry Making Facebook group.  Share your thoughts on how to use this popular color and be inspired by the work of other talented jewelry-makers!

I look forward to seeing your latest creations on Facebook and Instagram.  I’ll keep posting and I hope you do, too!

Until next time, Happy Beading!

 

-Anna Taylor

PotomacBeads.com

PotomacBeads.eu