Every year I head to Milwaukee in early June for my “summer camp” getaway. I set aside this trip to get hands on time with a new technique so I can expand my skills. We don’t exhibit. It is a chance for me to learn and connect with the studio. I love it and I look forward to it all year long. I know the event is not on the radar for a lot of people in the trade so I encourage you to check it out. Plan to learn something new. Meet up with a friend and turn it into a reunion trip with an industry pal. You have a whole year to plan ahead for the 2015 event. Start now!
- The classes – Bead & Button is one of the industry’s hidden gems. The event is so much more than a trade show expo. The real draw is the 700+ on site classes each year in jewelry making. Many are introductory level classes for different facets of jewelry making, metalsmithing and lampworking. However, courses range into more advanced, specialty techniques. Plus, the event attracts the very best instructors, authors and industry leaders to teach. It is truly a unique opportunity. This year I took a 3-day Master Cloisonné Enameling class with author and esteemed instructor, Linda Darty. It was absolutely fantastic.
- Milwaukee – Brew City is just darn fun. Milwaukee is packed with great restaurants, the uber-cool Fifth Ward district and a gorgeous lake front. I look forward to visiting every year.
- The community – Start coming back to Bead & Button every year and you will find yourself developing a cohort of show pals. Meet other like-minded enthusiasts, take classes together, go out and have some fun. The event planners do a great job including social events and activities to provide attendees with opportunities to make great friends. Attend everything you can and watch your network grow.
- Meet the Teachers – This is another unique Bead & Button draw. Every year on Wednesday night from 8pm-11pm all the instructors teaching at the show have mini table exhibits where they sell their books, kits and any remaining class slots for the week. This is real Who’s Who event and a great chance to meet amazing industry experts face-to-face.
- The show – In my opinion, the expo is not the main draw but it is still a lot of fun! Hundreds of suppliers and artists have booths in the convention center where you can buy tools, beads or other supplies.
Halstead, is one of North America’s leading distributors of jewelry supplies. The firm is celebrating their 41st anniversary this year. Halstead specializes in wholesale findings, chain, tools and metals for jewelry artists.