Meet the Teachers
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Michelle Brennan is a chain maille artist and designer, who, along with her husband, owns and operates HyperLynks - Premium Chain maille Supplies just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Michelle has designed and self-published close to a hundred chain maille patterns that are sold as kits worldwide through retailers that carry the HyperLynks brand. Once a high school science teacher, Michelle now teaches at festivals and bead stores across North America and has been published numerous times in magazines such as Step by Step Wire and Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. hyperlynks.ca
Frenchtown, New Jersey
The Dragon’s Odyssey
Marti Brown is an internationally known instructor. She has taught her classes in her studio and at Bead Fest venues, Bead and Button, BeadFx in Canada, for east coast bead stores and bead societies and at The Tucson Bead Show. She has been featured in Artisan Jewelry Times, an online magazine, and has an online video at Kalmbach’s Jewelry & Beading Store. Marti was always interested in the arts. As a child, some of her fondest memories included art camp, painting in her basement, art classes in summer school, and involvement in choral music. Marti became a professional artist and craftsman after completing her BFA in jewelry making. She has been designing jewelry for over 36 years and loves creating jewelry and teaching. Marti works in a variety of traditional and contemporary jewelry metals and processes; currently working in niobium, a colorful metal, and of course beads. She is constantly looking for new sources of inspiration and has added bead weaving, Viking knit, polymer clay, felting, and PMC bead making to her techniques. Marti is a founding member of the Delaware Valley Bead Society encompassing Hunterdon County in New Jersey and Bucks County in Pennsylvania. marti-brown.com
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Little Rock Jewellery Studio
Robyn Cornelius has a degree in Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design – majoring in Jewelry and Metals. She has her own custom design studio in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, called Little Rock Jewellery Studio making art jewellery and fine jewellery. She has worked as a silversmith/goldsmith for over sixteen years. She teaches classes all over Canada and the United States. Her work is a collection of jewellery that is sculptural and colourful, with clever mechanics and rustic finishes. littlerockjewellerystudio.com
Diane Dennis Beadwork
Diane Dennis is a self-taught seed-bead jewelry artist, beading since 1999 and teaching her beadwork designs since 2003. Diane teaches locally in the Washington, DC area, and also for various bead societies. She also teaches as a guest instructor at bead shops in addition to teaching at Bead Fest and the Bead and Button show. Diane has been featured in Fire Mountain Gems and Beads advertising and was the first contest winner; she has been published in Beadwork, Bead & Button Magazines, Artisan Jewelry Times and Perlen Poesie. Her piece Star Light Star Bright appears in the Lark publication Showcase 500 Necklaces! Diane lives with her husband Bill in the Northern Virginia area in a small town called Nokesville, which is outside of Manassas. dianedennisbeadwork.com
Collingswood, New Jersey
Vintage Heart Jewelry
Helen Driggs is the former Jewelry Group Technical Editor for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and an experienced metalsmith. Her popular column “Cool Tools & Hip Tips” and extensive video library make her a popular and sought-after instructor on the show circuit. Her book, The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide was published in 2013. Helen holds a BFA from Moore College of Art, and is very active on social media: Instagram: HDriggs_Fabricationista Twitter: fabricationista Blog: materialsmithing.wordpress.com
West Des Moines, Iowa
Artistic Bead Inc.
Cheryl Erickson is a professional bead artist and bead instructor whose work has won awards and has been featured in books and magazines. Cheryl taught herself how to bead on a loom when she was a child and never looked back. While her true love is seed beads, the seemingly never ending supply of new styles, shapes, colors and textures of beads has opened so many new avenues of designing that is more fun, challenging and interesting. The future of seed beads and related beads looks bright and promises to continue to reach new horizons. Cheryl has taught over 20 years at shows, stores, and bead societies across the country, as well as in her own store. Cheryl manages a bead store, Artistic Bead, Inc., in West Des Moines, Iowa. Cheryl is also on Facebook and Pinterest. Cheryl manages a website that features a full line of kits and instructions to share her passion of teaching bead weaving: artisticbead.com
Designs by Kaska
Kaska Firor has been working with wire for the past 16 years. She is a recipient of many awards for her intricately woven jewelry. Kaska’s work has been published in several books and trade magazines such as Art Jewelry, Step-By-Step Wire and Bead Style. Her book, Freeform Wire Woven Jewelry, was released in November 2013. Kaska believes that teaching is an essential part of the art-making experience. She travels throughout the US teaching workshops at national shows, jewelry and bead societies, and jewelry schools. You can see Kaska’s work and her workshop schedule at designsbykaska.com and facebook.com/designsbykaska
pflora metal arts
Phyllis Flora has been creating jewelry for over a decade. In 2010, she walked away from a successful law practice to pursue her art. She is now a working artist, honing her craft full time at pflora metal arts studio. She sells her pieces through boutiques, museum stores, online, and at art shows. Her keen eye for color and superb attention to detail yield unique, eye-catching wearable art. As an instructor, Phyllis delights in passing on her knowledge and skills to others and is known for her preparation and patience. She has taught hundreds of classes at her own shop, at bead societies and at national shows. plorametalarts.etsy.com
Sulie Girardi was born in Chicago, but has lived in Vienna, Austria, for the last 25 years. She owns and operates Vienna Impressions, Austria's largest source for rubber stamping and other crafting supplies. She has attained the Silver Metal Clay Diploma from the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery, as well as the Art Clay 1, 2 and instructor certifications. Her work has been published in several publications in Europe and the US. Sulie teaches frequent classes in various techniques, both in her own studio and as a guest instructor. In 2017, she won a Gold Medal in the Fire Mountain "Metals" competition. vienna-expressions-studio.at
Kieu Pham Gray
Kieu Pham Gray has been creating jewelry for over 15 years. She started from the need to “look the part” while working in retail management for Neiman Marcus. Making jewelry for herself and friends, her jewelry line was created. Since then she has sold to over 30 stores in 10 states and participated in numerous juried art shows. Together with her husband, Andy, they run TheUrbanBeader.com, where they work to provide industry with specialty goods. In an effort to share her passion and knowledge for the jewelry industry, Kieu teaches a wide range of classes throughout the US and has also authored a how to book (Hot & Cold Jewelry Connections) in 2014. Detailed instruction and personal attention has been the key to success with her students. TheUrbanBeader.com
Ancient Moon Beads
It may be a dramatic change to go from a medical doctor to a jewelry designer. But Yin thinks the skill of using your hands is essential in any creative work. She loves to play with beads, and work with colors. She enjoys the free-form of wire wrapping, the dynamic rhythms of crochet and the meditation of Kumihimo. It is always exciting to share and exchange the technical aspects of beading with all bead lovers! She teaches Kumihimo classes at Bead & Button BeadFest , of course To Bead True Blue Tucson Show.
Palm Coast, Florida
Made You Look Design
Cindy Grayson obtained her BFA in 2001 and is a graphic designer by trade. In 2016, while working part time at Michael’s Arts and Crafts, she stumbled upon a kumihimo book and realized there was an elevated level of sophistication to the kumihimo pattern process that involved detailed planning and mathematics. As an artist that naturally uses both sides of her brain, Cindy was hooked. From day one she kept a Kumihimo beading journal where she recorded exact specifications of each project, the bead sizes, how the different bead sizes fit together, the different cord and bead placements to get desired results, successes, failures and refinements. Out of necessity, she created a bead layout board with eight runways to assist in visually planning and designing bead layouts. It also helped her to perfectly count out the various different bead types, which is paramount in obtaining a successful design. She spent a month developing an eight class series that covers all the basic skills and Kumihimo braiding techniques. She wanted her students to be able to look at a piece of Kumihimo jewelry and be able to decode and recreate it just by looking at it. As a result, her invention, The Bead Runway™ (Patent Pending) is now an official star and basis of her students’ studies in her Contemporary Beaded Kumihimo Class Series © 2017, an eight class series that begins with kumihimo basics and adds necessary skills cumulatively with each class project, ending with each student using their knowledge obtained to make a kumihimo pattern of their own, using the beads of their choice. beadrunway.wordpress.com/theTour
Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Lisa's Bead Designs
I am a self-taught jewelry designer and hobbyist who began beading in high school and has continued to enjoy beading for over 30 years. In 2016, I entered my first online original design competition with Potomac Bead Company. The necklace, named Dazzling Duos, placed 14th out of the 50 entries. In 2017, I participated again in the Potomac Bead Company Design Challenge, entering my original necklace design entitled Ava's Planet. This piece did even better than the previous one, taking 5th place out of 100 participants. Later that same year (in 2017), I was asked to co-design a necklace with my friend and co-designer, Maggie Thompson, owner of Maggie T Designs. The collaborated necklace was published in Maggie's third ebook, 10 Kumihimo Patterns to Braid: Kumihimo Bracelet & Necklace Patterns with Shaped Beads. I am a current member and former board member of the Upper Midwest Bead Society (UMBS), a 25-year-old organization for beaders and jewelry makers.
Kim Leahy has been teaching at Bead and Button for three years, and published in Beadwork, Bead and Button and Creative Beadweaving. She is a Trendsetter for Starman for the second time. She is the owner of Esther Beadwork, which sells kits and seed beads at bead shows in the South.
Susan Lenart Kazmer
Susan Lenart Kazmer
Susan Lenart Kazmer has always been an artist and jewelry is her art form, whether it is sculptural or wearable, it doesn’t matter. In jewelry, she has been an educator, built for museums and now, is back to fashion. Susan is currently building large statement jewelry for Hollywood, Vogue and Elle magazine, and her jewelry was invited to 2018 Milan Fashion Week and won an award by Italian Vogue. Susan’s work is upcoming in British Vogue and being used by a stylist in April for a music festival called, Coachella. “Education and fashion is what I do. My work is real. It is energetic, sometimes figurative and always about real life. I am a builder of Talsimans and relics.” susanlenartkazmer.com
Sara Lukkonen has been torch enameling for over 40 years and her company, C-Koop Beads, makes enameled components for the bead world. Sara has been teaching nationally for over 10 years at shows, in bead stores and out of mysStudio in northern Minnesota. ckoopbeads.com
pflora metal arts
Scott Mason is an accomplished jewelry artist and experienced instructor. Scott brings a unique perspective and adventuresome spirit to jewelry making and shares those characteristics with his students. Scott is interested in all aspects of jewelry making, with a passion for wire work, silversmithing, and nearly every tool he’s ever encountered. plorametalarts.etsy.com
Todd, North Carolina
Debora Mauser Designs
Debora Mauser has been creating jewelry for more than 12 years. For the past six years Debora has been teaching at national venues such as Bead Fest, Bead and Button, local bead stores, William Holland School of Lapidary Arts, Wild Acres and Sawtooth School. Her passion is sharing techniques including wire, metal, enameling, forming and cold connections. Her work has been featured in Step by Step Wire and she is a certified instructor in the Painting with Fire immersion method of enameling. Debora's classes are fun and packed with information but maintain a low key approach to learning. deboramauserdesigns.com
Designs by Roxan O’Brien
Roxan O’Brien is a self-taught bead artist, whose work has been awarded juried status by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, the first ever awarded in the medium of bead embroidery. She has over twenty-five years of experience in jewelry making, with a background in oil painting, silversmithing, enameling, colored pencil on metal, and chasing and repousse. Her style, elegant with bold use of color and texture, in a most wearable design, makes Roxan one of the leading artists in her field. Roxan studied jewelry design and metal-work at Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, Pennsylvania. She shares her knowledge and passion for her craft, as the founder of the Central PA Bead and Jewelry Society, a nonprofit organization, with many local jewelry artists, where they can find workshops, classes, and support for their craft. She has produced her first book Colored Pencil on Copper Jewelry in 2017. designsbyroxan.com
Twisted Sistah Beads, The BeadSmith
Leslie Pope, or you may know her better as “Twisted Sistah,” has a passion for beads and fibers that she loves to share with others. As a fashion design major at Drexel University, she managed to work beads into most of her creations, including her senior design collection of beaded knitwear which won her the J.W. Smith Most Saleable Daywear Award. Leslie became Twisted Sistah when she opened her traveling/web-based bead business in 2002 and hasn’t looked back since. Her business is devoted to beads and fibers, and offers a wide range of seed beads, threads and supplies that support the creation of beaded wearable art. As Twisted Sistah, Leslie has exhibited and taught various classes up and down the East Coast. Leslie’s beaded creations have been featured in various magazines and books. You can also find her kits and tutorials on twistedsistahbeads.com, twistedsistahbeads.etsy.com, and in the BeadSmith online library of patterns. Leslie is currently the Creative Designer at the BeadSmith, a global wholesaler of beads and jewelry-making supplies. As part of her job and as a member of the BeadSmith Inspiration Squad, she gets to design with all the new beads so she can inspire the beading universe. twistedsistahbeads.com twistedsistahbeads.etsy.com
Clementon, New Jersey
Susan Powell has been beading since 2001. She has taught classes at bead shops and bead societies throughout the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, including Beadfest 2013. Sue designs beadwork and has done designs and samples for Kabela Designs, Beadsmith and Twisted Sistah Beads, among others. Currently she is offering "mini classes" at local bead shows. Sue's teaching philosophy is "It's your piece, it should look the way you want it."
Candice Sexton Jewelry
Candice Sexton is an American bead crochet artist, author and teacher. From Chesterton, IN, Candice has a diverse background from construction to marketing communications, and it’s this melding of the technical and graphic design that has an influence on her work. Visual and graphic in nature, her work uses color as a catalyst for creative inspiration and inventive designs. Candice is the author of the book/DVD Bead Crochet Basics, and has been teaching nationally at industry shows, private stores and retreats since 2009. Analyzing, writing, teaching and sharing her designs and techniques in the art of bead crocheting to both the beading and yarn crochet communities, Candice sells her designs and finished pieces on her website. Additionally she offers supplies and complete instructions and kits for making these beautiful adornments, as her philosophy is to make available often difficult-to-find items in one place. Visit www.candicesexton.com for more information.
Grand River Bead Studio
Eva Sherman began beading as a way to spend time with her daughters but soon became hopelessly addicted. In 2005, she traded in her architectural career for the opportunity to spend all her time among beads and opened Grand River Bead Studio in Cleveland, Ohio. Eva now happily spends most days in the studio creating, writing and teaching, but has been know to take her show on the road. She has discovered an affinity for working with wire and metals, and prefers to design in an organic and unstructured style. Eva has authored two books on jewelry design: Organic Wire & Metal Jewelry and Cool Copper Cuffs. grandriverbeads.com
Ellen R Solomons studied at the University of Georgia, the University of Connecticut and the Massachusetts College of Art. In the ensuing years she has combined many successful ventures in multiple mediums. Ellen has created her own unique style, combining lyrical designs and strong colors. Ellen's artform lends itself to the classroom. Her classes are always full with new and returning students. Solomons, whose work is signed ERachel, has been published by Lark Books, 500 Handmade Dolls, Beadwork Magazine, Beadwork 2011 Calendar and Bead and Button Magazine. Ellen has won 1st place and 3 2nd place ribbons at Bead and Button Magazine's Bead Dreams contest, Beaded Objects. She has won Best in Show Beadworks Magazine's contest, The Beaded Book. Ellen works out of studio in Sarasota, Florida.
Glen Burnie, Maryland
Bead Me a Story
Mary Soucy, of Bead Me A Story, creates unique chain maille items in mixed media from her Glen Burnie, Maryland studio in the suburbs of Baltimore. Originally a seed bead and polymer clay artist, she finds new ways to use beads, rhinestones, rubber and metal in her chain maille items. As a chain maille supplier, it offers Mary the opportunity to experiment with a lot of different items to see if they can be worked into her chain maille designs. Mary creates everything from whimsical and colorful flowers from rubber and acrylic to elegant rhinestone creations. Basically, she is someone who has a hard time thinking inside the box. In addition to making jewelry and selling supplies, Mary enjoys teaching at her local Maryland bead store, Bead Soup, as well as at other east coast bead stores for one day or weekend events. Her projects have been featured in special editions of Jewelry Stringing as well as Step by Step Wire magazine. beadmeastory.com
Fort Worth, Texas
Steele Magnolia Designs
Shanna Steele is a self-taught jewelry artist specializing in beadweaving. She has had her designs published approximately two dozen times in the past decade. Shanna was named Designer of the Year in 2018 by Beadwork magazine and is a 2019 Starman Beads TrendSetter. She lives in Fort Worth, TX, where she sells her work at arts festivals and teaches classes to beaders of all skill levels.
Norwood Yng, Minnesota
Maggie T Designs
Maggie Thompson discovered beading about 25 years ago and fell in love with it! Four years ago she turned this passion into her business, Maggie T Designs. Her original designs have been featured in both classes & beading kits at Beadville USA in Chaska, Minnesota, where she teach classes. She’s also taught kumihimo classes at the SE Bead Society in Rochester, Minnesota and at the April 2015 UMBS "Demo & Do" event. In February 2015 Interweave Press published her first ebook Kumihimo Made Easy. Maggie’s second ebook Elegant Kumihimo was published October 15, 2015. She is a member of the Upper Midwest Bead Society (UMBS) and serves on the Board of Directors as Membership Representative for 2015, 2016 & 2017.Over the past 2 years she's developed "My Kumi Stand" a portable kumihimo stand in a case (patent pending) which can also be purchased in her Etsy shop. maggietdesigns.etsy.com
Delray Beach, Florida
Leslie V Designs
Leslie Venturoso entered a bead shop 17 years ago with the intent to fix a necklace and discovered bead weaving. The necklace was never fixed and the rest they say is history! Let's just say she's never met a bead she didn't like! For the past three years she worked as a designer and instructor for Crystal Creations Bead Institute/Beads Gone Wild in West Palm Beach, Florida. Many of her designs continue to be sold as kits and tutorials by Beads Gone Wild. For her second act, she has ventured out on her own in order to establish herself in the beading universe. This past fall, one of her designs, Art Deco-dence Cuff was featured in the October/November issue of Beadwork magazine. Her work has also been featured in Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, Vol. 1. She's been a guest teacher for the Bead Society of the Palm Beaches and other local craft groups. She loves to share her knowledge and love for bead weaving and bead embroidery with fellow enthusiasts. Her students love her patience and upbeat attitude. She likes to say she has chosen to create with beads, but we think the beads chose her! What began as an innocent hobby has become her meditative and creative outlet. She uses a variety of off-loom bead weaving techniques to create beautiful and unique wearable jewelry. As Leslie works, she always explore the “what if.” Her open-ended approach yields many different designs—sometimes unidentified beaded objects—but more often magnificent finished pieces. It gives her the freedom to always experiment with color, shape and texture. leslieventuroso.etsy.com
Agnieszka Watts is from Northern Europe and is a beadwork designer and a teacher. Her interest started in seed bead jewelry about 3 years ago and since that time she has been published several times in professional magazines around the world. She was on the 2014-15 and 2015-16 Starman Trendsetters team. She now lives in Illinois with her husband and they have three daughters. agnesse.weebly.com
Las Vegas, Nevada
Shae Wilhite is a designer and beading teacher from Las Vegas, where she owns Sweet Beads. Her designs have appeared in major publications like Beadwork magazine, as well as on television and on the red carpet at movie premieres. sweetbeadslv.com
The Flying Squirrel Studio
Lynn Yuhr has lived in Miami most of her life, growing up living on a boat and then becoming a professional field geologist. She has always had a love of nature and the vivid colors that surround her. She often uses these colorful palettes from nature in her contemporary jewelry, art journals, and mixed media endeavors. She loves being creative and is passionate about polymer clay. She holds a firm belief that the act of creating something softens one's heart and opens one's mind. With this philosophy, she readily shares her creative techniques and teaches both locally and nationally. She is a founding member and past president of the South Florida Jewelry Arts Guild (2005) and is an active member of the South Chapter of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths. She loves blogging about creativity, traveling, art journaling and yes, polymer clay at the www.theflyingsquirrelstudio.wordpress.com.