21 August 2013

Bead Style Magazine 10th Anniversary Review

I was honored to be asked to review the 10th Anniversary issue of BeadStyle by new editor Naomi Fujimoto. Of course, I sent a LOT more review that got cut, but that is what you get when you are wordy! You can go to that link above to see the pretty pictures they added to the review and read about some of my favorite parts of the issue, but below I added the redacted bits so that you could get a bit more of my thoughts on some of the other features in the magazine that they didn't use.

When I first began my journey playing with beads in 2005 it was just a diversion, something to keep my hands occupied. Little did I know that it would transform into a way of life for me!

Even at this earliest stage, when I bought my first beads and wire and some of the cheapest tools imaginable, I knew that I needed some instructions to achieve the looks I wanted. Being short on cash, but long on can-do spirit, I decided that the next best thing to taking a class would be to teach myself. So off to the local bookstore I went.

I discovered BeadStyle and after buying one or two issues, I ordered my first subscription. I found BeadStyle to be just what I needed. The images were clear, the instructions were easy to follow, the tips were what every beginning beader needs to know and the vendors of the products in all the ads opened my eyes to the wide and wonderful world of beads. I think I devoured each advertiser just as much as I did the projects!

I recall very vividly that I marveled at those who were represented in the pages of BeadStyle. It was someone’s job to play with beads and write about them? That must be the best job in the world! (And how do I get a job like that? ;-) Little did I know at the time that many of the contributors were people just like me. And eventually, I got the nerve to submit some designs and have been blessed that a few have actually been published in those pages, an honor that I treasure.

Now with this 10th anniversary issue, I can see that while much has changed in terms of style, materials and techniques, some things remain a constant. BeadStyle still shared bright and highly detailed photos, close up step-by-step instructions, great tips and techniques, and a huge assortment of the best and most varied bead suppliers you can find anywhere.

The header at the top of each project telling you clearly ‘What You’ll Learn’ is a great feature, for beginners or seasoned veterans. Sometimes I find that it isn’t always clear what skills you will need when you look at the picture of a piece. This allows the beginner to feel confident that they can master the skill, and tells the veteran what techniques will be used.

The one thing that has always set BeadStyle apart is the close up pictures of each step along the way. The fact that the instructions are right next to the full image of the piece is helpful if you are a visual learner like me.

Favorite Projects

Birthstone Projects

One feature that I have always read is the Birthstone Projects. I celebrate an August birthday, so I was thrilled to see a project using Peridot. It took me many years to appreciate the lovely crisp green tone of this stone. The design that BeadStyle shares with the cup chain wrapped with brightly hued ribbons on stacked bracelets is a fresh take on the layered bangle craze. I also found that the variation on expensive supplies for the September birthstone a great option. I think that it would be fun to come up with the birthstone projects each issue. Naomi does a great job.

Style Celebration

I love jewelry that works overtime, and the trio of colorful necklace that Kelsey Lawler made do just that. This idea could be created in so many different color options and beads, always looking fresh and exciting. You could make one to go with every outfit in your closet! I have always loved the pictures in BeadStyle that show a whole necklace (page 51) which diagram the different parts. For me as a visual learner, this is sometimes all the instruction that I need because it allows you to see exactly how it all comes together and points out interesting pieces along the way.

5 Fabulous Finishes

Leather in designs always intrigues me. I can’t tell you how much leather and fiber I have purchased over the years that sits unused because I just don’t have the slightest idea of what to do with it. More often than not, it is the finishing that stumps me. This article is filled with some great design tips that I will need to try. Hopefully, that pretty leather in my stash will start seeing the light of day with these techniques!

Happy 10th Anniversary to BeadStyle! You continue to be a wealth of information for the new and established beader and I am excited to see where the next ten years will take you!


Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

Erin, I enjoy a magazine as much as anyone. The problem for me: how much of my limited beady budget/time do I want to put towards reading as opposed to beading? Usually not very much! However, thanks to your insights, I may look for this publication next time I am near civilization... the "What You’ll Learn" feature sounds like just what I need. Thanks, Erin!

Jean said...

I loved reviewing Bead Style too for this great landmark Anniversary!
I ADORE Bead Style Magazine, as you do. I am so proud to have been invited, like you, to review this beautiful issue! It will become a treasured collector's item. As I said in my review, it is an instant classic!

love, jean xox

Naomi said...

Erin, thanks for your glowing review. Cheers to you on your many creative ventures!


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