Saturday, November 17, 2012

Beading With Sherry!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Earlier this November, I went on an adventure -- and it was the best adventure ever. I went to my favorite bead store, City Beads, in Chicago. And I spent three days taking classes from my bead embroidery idol, Sherry Serafini!!!

(PS: !!!!!)

A Quick Note

Before I tell you about the adventure, though, I'd like to mention something that's happening on Saturday Sequins next weekend, November 24th. And that's my very first online craft fair! 

(With gorgeous wire jewelry by Ruth Jensen!) 

(And sequin and felt treasures by Carol Meadows!)

 (And jewelry by yours truly!)

(And much more!)
What is an online craft fair, you ask? Well, if you sign up, I'll feature your shop on my blog, along with one or two photos of your work.On the day of the craft show, we can visit each other's shops and shop handmade this holiday season. It's a great way to support each other.

So if you could tell your friends, family, colleagues, pets, and anyone else who'll listen about this event, the other vendors and I would be so very happy. And if you know anyone who might want to be a vendor? Go ahead and play matchmaker. I love meeting new artists.

And Now... The Adventure!

So that's the craft fair. Now it's time for the adventure.

When I learned that Sherry was going to teach at City Beads, I was hysterically excited. I'm a huge fan of her work, like so many people in the beading community, and also of Sherry as a person. I met her at the bead show last summer, and she was one of the nicest people ever.

I signed up for all three of her classes. The first one was her Shibori bracelet, which she'll be teaching at Bead and Button this summer, and which was so much fun to make. Sherry encouraged all of us to take the technique in our own direction, which I think is the very best thing an instructor can do. Here's how mine came out:

 (Gorgeous vintage cabochon and ribbon from City Beads.)

(I used Nicole's BeadBacking for this piece. Nicole, I think I found you some new customers!)

The next class was my favorite. It was all about creating three-dimensional bead-embroidered shapes. Because it was a technique class, not a project class, we all worked on our own things, and Sherry went around and helped us with design and construction.

By the end of the class, my mind was full to the tippity top with ideas! And plans for this piece, a three-dimensional flower. I wanted to put it on a necklace.

 (Sequined bluebell.)

But... designs change. When I came home from Chicago, I tried the bluebell on Ken, who I mention on Facebook from time to time. And it was a perfect fit! I'm not sure he'll give it back.

(Sequintastic Ken, posing in his new hat. It matches his eyes!)

The third class was called Something's Fishy, and it was all about beading on fish leather. I haven't finished my cuff yet, but I will say this: if you have the chance to take this class from Sherry at Bead and Button, do it! Fish leather is crazy stuff. It's gorgeous, and it presents its own challenges.

One of the coolest parts of this adventure was getting to spend time with Sherry and to get a glimpse of how she creates her pieces. It made me realize that we need to trust our instincts as designers. After learning from her, I'm ready to try all the little experiments in my head that I thought were too crazy. Because there's no such thing.

An equally cool part was meeting and hanging out with other beaders. City Beads gets the best students, I swear. I met so many people I wanted to adopt and take home with me. (Hi, Karen, Sarah, Marge, Ellen, Mary, Jan, and Dana! I miss you!!!) Beading with other people is just plain fun, and it totally eliminates the need for distractions. Also, I should mention that Lisa, who runs the store, is amazing and creates such a comfortable, welcoming classroom experience. She's on my to-adopt list, too.

And of course, no trip to Chicago would be complete without a visit to Angelfood Bakery. Mr. Sequin took me there for lunch and cupcakes every day, and I ended up bringing Sherry a malted cupcake two days in a row.

There was also an awesome dinner at Zoba, followed by ice cream at The Chocolate Shoppe, because yes, there is one in the Chicago area now. And while we were there, we saw the same guys who were in the booth behind us at dinner. Since we were BFFS at that point, I steered them toward the Zanzibar Chocolate.

So that was my amazing, sequintastic adventure. I would definitely take classes with Sherry, and at City Beads, again. And if you have the opportunity, don't let it pass! You'll thank me.

Special thanks to Mr. Sequin for helping to fund this adventure and for all the nice meals. And to Sherry for being Sherry, and to Lisa for being Lisa, and to my classmates for being awesomesauce. And thanks to you for reading and commenting.

Have a sequintastic day!


  1. What a superfantastic few days you had---I so admire Sherry's work in the bead mags and after seeing your Gorgeous bracelet and Ken hat, I know she must be a great teacher too! Great work!!! I am wondering why my vacations in Chicago do not go like this...aside from the decadent food.

  2. Oh Wow Sarah, you had a class with Sherry. I am a big fan of hers I love her work. No one like that comes to Montgomery or near here to do classes it is a big bummer:-(. I love your rendition of her cuff it is gorgeous, and Ken is dashing in his new hat. Looking forward to seeing the other cuff when you are finished. I will be here on the 24th shopping.

  3. Wow! Sarah! Your work is incredible! So lovely! I can't wait to see this fish leather thing. It sounds interesting. Your trip sounds amazing too, and I'm so happy you got to have a great time with Mr. Sequins. Super fun! :)

  4. Hey Sarah! Looking forward to the Craft Fair! And the beading class sounds amazing. What beautiful work!

  5. Oh Sarah fantastic work. Don't know the Mr. Ken story but your bluebell sure did match his eyes. Where was Barbie??? Have no idea what fishtail leather is either, but I am sure you will show us.


  6. What fun! I am looking forward to the Craft Fair and will definitely be promoting it this week.

    Sounds like you had a simply amazing time in Chicago and you really took Sherry's classes and interpreted what you learned through your own personal filter, incorporating it into your style. Love how you melded the ribbons into your bead embroidery, Beautiful Work!

  7. I love Sherry's work and hope to someday take a class with her. Your pieces are beautiful. I love the shibori because I love shibori and incorporating fabric into a bead embroidered work. I love the dimensional work too! How cool!

  8. Oh, I love shibori ribbon -- and used like this it's really beautiful! It looks so dynamic and flowing, like it's flying in the wind or in water. Gorgeous bracelet!

    The bluebell is so very pretty too -- and what a fun hat it turned into for Ken!

  9. Oh my! Such beautiful things Sarah! I love visiting your blog. You always share so much eye candy! Pam

  10. You lucky girl, you!! How fantastic to be able to spend three whole days absorbing the creative inspiration and encouragement. And of course, I love the two pieces you've finished so far -- Ken looks spectacular in his new chapeau (because, of course, something that fancy needs to be referred to in French!)

  11. This is so impressive! It looks so complicated!


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