How to Start a Beading Group & see MrBead

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Thanks to everyone who called on us at Beads Up North. Others still have a chance to see us in the UK for a free gift: next show at Luton on Saturday 18th May 2013 and next day at North East Bead Show in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Sunday 19th May. For details of all our shows click here.

At out bead show on 9th June, Lorraine Cannell of The Bead Queen will be displaying her excellent collection of beaded jewellery in Norwich - see at or

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How to Start a Craft or Beading Group

Diane Gilleland is a crafty organizer extraordinaire: She runs DIY Alert, an Oregon-based events and announcements site in the US - covering all things craft. I asked for her advice for forming a beading group:

Any general tips for starting a new group?
When you want to start a group, the simplest approach is to start with your friends. Ask everyone you know, even casual acquaintances - if they'd be interested in attending. And ask each of them to ask their friends. You can often build a good-sized group just from your own network.

If you want to put the word out to the general public, is an excellent website where it's free to post notices of your meetings, and it's available in a great many cities. Check to see if your local newspapers offer free online classifieds, too. You can also make some simple flyers and ask your local craft stores to put them out for their customers.

If you're inviting friends, then you can meet in someone's home. If you're inviting the general public, then a public space like a coffeehouse would be a better location. Make sure your meeting place has plenty of seating, bright light, and plenty of table space.

What's a good game plan for a craft group meeting?
If you prefer a more relaxed group, you can just invite everyone to bring a project they're working on. Or, if the group wants to explore a particular technique together, you might all agree to bring a specific set of findings or beads and any books people might have on the subject. Then, you can all help each other learn.

One really fun group project is a Beading Bee. Have each person bring 50 assorted beads, plus an assortment of findings. Then, everyone piles up all those beads in a large dish. Each person picks 50 new beads out of the dish, and then proceeds to make a piece of jewellery (or two) from what they've selected. It's so much fun to see what people create!

Any suggestions on whether each person should bring their own tools/supplies or if there's a system that works well for groups you've been part of?
I like to have everyone bring his or her own tools if they can—at least a pair of needle-nose pliers and some wire cutters. Usually, people are willing to share. These group meetings are also excellent places to swap extra beads and findings from your stash. Stuff you haven't managed to use in years might be just the thing for someone else's project.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Building a good craft group takes persistence. You may have a few meetings where too few people show up, but keep meeting and keep putting the word out. Sometimes, it takes people a while to overcome their social anxieties and visit a new group. Give yourself at least three months' worth of meetings before you decide to call it quits.

From an article by Susan Beal:

UK Bead Societies

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If you run a UK bead society and would like us to call on you (none too small!) please e-mail or tweet Nigel, or phone 07576134264.

See us in the UK for a Free Gift!

After being shut away in a little office reading and sending e-mails, we love to see customers!

Visit us in the UK and say you're a MrBead Newsletter reader, and we'll give you a MrBead bag & a free gift!

Saturday 18th May 2013 - The Luton MrBead Bead Show - Stockwood Hotel, Stockwood Crescent, Luton, LU1 3SS
Sunday 19th May 2013 - The North East Bead Show - Holiday Inn, Great North Road, Seaton Burn, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE13 3BP
Sunday 2nd June 2013 - Cheshire Bead Fair - Nantwich Civic Hall, CW5 5DG
Sunday 9th June 2013 - Norwich MrBead Bead Show with The Bead Queen - George Hotel, Arlington Lane, Norwich, NR2 2DA
Fri, Sat & Sunday 14th, 15th & 16th June - Middlewich Folk & Boat Fair, Cheshire, CW10 9AS. A fabulous weekend of folk & roots music. We will be in the craft tent, canalside.

We will also be calling at many beading groups. If you would like us to call on your group, please e-mail or tweet or phone Nigel on 07576134264.

For details of all our 2013 bead fairs click here
See a video of our September & October bead fairs here

Read about the man behind MrBead and watch him make a fool of himself at and his resent trips around Asia and what he eats in China! Much from these newsletters on beads is already on the site + a lot more with photos, and there will be a even more in the future.

Nigel's blog is now fully functional - so please join in at!

To receive FREE SHIPPING off anything in our bead shops, enter LUTONSHOW in the box at checkout, and click "Redeem Coupon".

Use NOW - as expires Friday 17th May 2013. No minimum order, but can only for used at or and cannot be used with any other discount or eBay.

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