Hatfield, UK: Finally! A chance to visit a Bead fair for once in my life. I have seen many bead shops on my trips to the Far East, but a bead fair is usually the highlight of many a handcrafter, one not seen in the Middle East (perhaps I should organize one). Whilst this was not the Tucson Bead Fair that I’ve read so much about, the Hatfield bead fair was of modest size which still gave me a flavour as to what a bead fair really looks like.

The Beadworks fair is organised by the Craft Kit Company, where many of the well known bead companies were seen at the fair (more about her in the next article). I promise, I was really good. I didn’t buy any beads, though I did salivate like Pavlov’s dog at the sight of so many beads in various sparkles, tones and textures. Instead, I channeled my excitement by chatting away with the beaders as well as handcrafters and taking photos one after the other.

Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa

I also got a chance to overcome my fear of using polymer clay to make beads. Thanks to the free demo (more of this in the next post).

Now, Hatfield is just a bus ride away from St. Albans. It was the place where I had once studied for my Masters Degree, more than a decade ago. Hatfield hasn’t changed much.  It felt strange going to the city of my Alma Mater.

The handcrafters that caught my attention were two lovely ladies who used the beading techniques to weave colourful frogs, table mats, three dimensional paintings. The water fall would you believe was strung with beads. They are great accountability partners and challenge each other by deciding on a theme and then coming up with their ideas and options. What a great idea.

Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa



Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa


Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa



The other handcrafters  I met make their own beads from glass. I learnt something new about this technique. If you wear a particular type of eye glasses, you will not see the yellow flame as you can see in the photo. Probably helps give the glass bead maker more control when shaping the beads with layers of hot liquid glass.

The glass bead maker. Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa

With those special eye glasses, you can't see the yellow flame. The glass bead maker at work. Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa

Finished glass beads sitting ready to be bought! Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa

What better way to end this article with a showcase of a mix of bead strands. The next article will deal with the demo of making my own polymer clay beads and perhaps using this medium of work to complement my existing wire crochet jewelry work.

Beads. Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa



... and more beads (these are volcanic lava beads). Photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa