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The Perennially Popular Pasadena Bead and Design Show Returns This Weekend

The eclectic show offers a return to the familiar for artists, designers, and friends
By CYNTHIA YANG, Weekendr Staff Writer
Published on Aug 1, 2022

One of Pasadena’s most popular hobby and craft events comes back to the Pasadena Hilton this coming weekend, as the Pasadena Bead & Design Show returns.

For the loyal bead and design artist, and hobbyist community, it’s a renewing connection each year to friends and vendors.  

As show manager Casey Kennerson describes the event, “It’s a full experience where you can come and meet the artisans and the artists and the merchants. We have everything from jewelry to textiles and clothing and artwork handbags, everything for sale right there. 

“And we also offer workshops on site,” she continued,  “where you can learn how to do jewelry making, painting, mixed media, there are lots of different fun things to do.”

Kennerson also pointed out that the shows are more than just buying beads or creating new designs, though that is a large part of the attraction, of course.

“It’s like a traveling family group that comes every year,” she said in an interview last week. 

“We’re in Pasadena twice a year and now it’s such a tradition, I think, for both the artists and artisans and the attendees to get together in a social event, especially since we had to be closed down during COVID.”

Kennerson continued, “We’ve had a couple shows since then, but it’s really about making up for that lost time and everybody being able to get together and talk and hear all the stories and see everything in person.”

But Kennerson also noted that the Bead and Design show not only offers millions of beads for sale, but offers ready-to-wear pieces, along with workshops offering visitors the opportunity to create their own designs.

“We really bring the unusual,” said Kennerson. “You can come and find a full range of items. If you’re looking for something expensive, we have that, pieces that are thousands of dollars. And then we have pieces that are smaller things that just might be a couple dollars or a dollar. And if you have a business yourself and you’re a jewelry designer, or even a shop, you can come.”

Then there are, of course,  the artists selling one of a kind pieces, ready-made, and available for the public. 

Bead and design fans who either want to learn or perfect their skills can find a range of workshops to indulge their artistic muses, added Kennerson. Workshops are open for beginners, but most are available for both beginners and advanced, with  basics like jewelry making where visitors  can create a bracelet or earrings. The workshops are led by beadmakers & artisans,with step-by-step instruction for all skill levels, and most include tools & materials. Projects include jewelry design, polymer clay, wirework, crystal setting, bead making, art clay silver, hand knotting, mixed media, chainmaille, and enameling.

There are also metalsmithing workshops for wire or bangle bracelets, as well as painting workshops including a beginners painting workshop that is also open to children this year. 

But for so many, it’s really a return to the familiar, and a return to friends following a long absence. 

“We have been in Pasadena since 2008,” said Kennerson. “We’re there at least twice a year. And we’ll be back again in January.” 

This weekend’s show is actually the third in Pasadena since the onset of the pandemic, and according to Kennerson, the first Pasadena return show held last July, was its best attended. 

“Everyone missed it so much that everyone came out,” she said, “and we always ask everyone to be careful. Now there isn’t a mask mandate, but we ask everyone to do what they’re comfortable with.”

The Pasadena Bead and Design Show is Friday through Sunday, August 5-7, at the Pasadena Hilton, 168 South Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.

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