FEBRUARY 23, 2016 General Meeting

virginia blakelock - bragging rights

Virginia Blakelock’s career in beads has been one of firsts.  Her beadwork was first published in Threads magazine in 1988, generating the most reader letters of any article in that magazine’s history.  Her book “Those Bad Bad Beads” was the first modern treatise on beadweaving techniques not from a Native American or craft point of view.  In that book she was the first to describe flat Ndebele Herringbone stitch and quadruple helix.  In 1991 she was the first American to contact private Czech pressed glass bead makers and contract with them to produce beads for the American bead market.  You have her to thank for the renaissance in that area!  Remember Tiny Tim drops?  Dagger pendants?  Leaves and Flowers?  Her company Beadcats first brought them to market in the 90s.

Blakelock and her business partner Carol Perrenoud were the first bead teachers at Penland School, and taught at Surface Design, Convergence, and for embroidery and quilt guilds across the country, touring in a 1975 Cadillac 6-door black limousine.  As Carol put it: “There weren’t bead stores in those days, so we had to bring our bead store with us.  Do you have any idea how much all those beads weigh? The limo was the only comfortable vehicle that was rated for that sort of load.  Virginia’s husband bought it for a song, and it was of an era that Virginia could fix it if we broke down on the road”.

Many of the luminaries in the beadworld today were Virginia’s and Carol’s students: Diane Fitzgerald and Carol Wilcox Wells to name but two.  In those days, techniques were taught.  However, times have changed, and Blakelock has turned her unique design sense to projects that can be turned into kits and taught.  As she puts it: “Developing the design and then creating the directions let both sides of my brain have fun.  It’s a complete and very rewarding process”.  She and Carol have taught at every Bead & Button show since it originated as Embellishments in Texas more than 15 years ago, and they were the first to teach the Master Class, in 2000.

See the sweetened and condensed chronicle of her life and work at February’s meeting!

Early-Bird Beading:  5:00pm to 6:15pm

The meeting will be held at the Multnomah Arts Center (7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219).


Please note that there is no meeting in December

Traveling Library Display 2015

2015 Traveling library Display

"It's a Northwest Thing"

What does the Northern Spotten Owl, Christmas trees, tidepools, Paul Bunyan, and VooDoo Doughnuts all have in common?  Well, of course, they are a "Northwest Thing." Beautiful beadwork by our very own Portland Bead Society members is currently on display in the Portland-Vancouver area. For more information, visit the Traveling Library Display page.


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