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The 5th Bead Art Fair in Germany

Kerrie doing a Kumihimo demonstration (photo courtesy of Sandra Scholte).
I’ve just returned home from a wonderful trip to Germany where I spent 3 days at the 5th Beaders Best Bead Art Fair in Hamburg. I attended the first fair back in 2011 but because I was teaching workshops that time, I didn’t get to see much of the actual fair. This time though, I had chance to wander around and really get a feel for what this fair is all about and so I’ve written a little taster for this month’s Bead Buzz blog. As you would expect of any bead show there was a vast range of glass beads, findings, buttons (including a stand full of beautiful vintage Czech glass buttons), crystals, beading materials, kits and finished beadwork on offer and it was easy to lose several hours just trying to narrow down choices of what to add to my stash. There was also a great range of workshops being taught throughout the fair by international teachers involving everything from wirework to Soutache. The awe inspiring finalists of the International Bead Award 2015 contest were on display too with the winners being announced at the end of the show.
Explaining the intricacies of Kumihimo.
In between my demos, I had the opportunity to speak to some of the exhibitors, teachers and visitors and one thing that really struck me was just how international this Europe based fair has become. After all, I’m from the UK but I attended this German fair courtesy of the Czech company Preciosa Ornela as I was doing demonstrations for them and I spent the days surrounded by friendly faces speaking either German, Czech, Russian or English and sometimes a mix of all of them! When the booth emptied I could wave at the elegant German based designer and teacher Olga Haserodt (she is originally from Russia) whose stand was opposite me.
Some of the international teachers and exhibitors (from top left: Zoya Gutina, Joanne Ivy, Olga Haserodt, Sandra Scholte, Adele Rogers Recklies, Helena Tang-Lim).
A little further away I could see the smiling face and attractive display of Dutch designer Sandra Scholte. To the left of her was the well known US based bead artist Zoya Gutina (originally from Russia) – I met Zoya at the first fair in 2011 so we greeted each other like old friends. At one point I looked up from one of my demos to see US designer and teacher Adele Rogers Recklies beaming at me, we’ve been Facebook friends for a number of years but never met in person as we live so far apart, and now here she was stood right in front of me wearing one of the fabulous crochet snakes I’d always admired. The same thing happened with Helena Tang-Lim from Singapore – Helena travels all over the world to teach her intricate designs and we had wanted to catch up with each other for years but never quite managed to organise it, but this time we got to meet, hug and pose for a photo together. And as if that is not international enough, I also got to meet and spend time with Joanne Ivy, a bead store owner who had traveled all the way from Australia to check out the various new bead shapes and also take a bead crochet class with Adele!
The fashion show with the wayward 'model' third from left.
Of course these are just a few of the well known bead artists I was fortunate enough to meet, but there were many more who had come from all over the world to gather at this one event. The fair was very popular with visitors while still managing to maintain an intimate feel and so the three days went in a whirl of greeting familiar faces, explaining projects and doing mini-workshops, admiring beadwork, exchanging ideas and making plans for next year. The final day ended with a fashion show with a group of stunning models and a few ‘guests’ walking around the hall wearing lots of amazing beadwork. Of course the real models gave a polished performance and strutted in perfect time to the music while posing at just the right points for the photographers, but one of the ‘guests’ went totally off course and made up her own route. I’m not saying who the errant model was *wink*but it really didn’t matter because it all added to the fun atmosphere with everyone cheering and clapping. The beading community is certainly a small world within the big world and I am very happy to be a part of it.

The fashion show with the wayward 'model' third from left.
Kerrie Slade is a beadwork designer living in Mansfield, England. She has been beading for more than 12 years and has had her work published in numerous books and magazines around the world. Kerrie teaches beadwork internationally and she sells her patterns via her website. You can read more on her blog.

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