Friday, July 20, 2012

A Bead Adventure

Yesterday my partner and I went on a fantastic trip to the bead shop capital of Vancouver Island. Truthfully, we went to see the dinosaur exhibit at the Royal British Columbia Museum, but there just happened to be a lot of beady things going on. Before I show you the new beads that I picked up while I was in Victoria, I want to share some of my favorite sights from the museum.

Eagle Totem, Victoria BC

I wish that I could tell you more about the objects I saw, but it’s impossible to read plaques when you’re with an eager group. I can tell you that most of the exhibits focus on the culture and history of British Columbia. Also, my camera is rubbish at indoor photos.

First Nations Exhibit, Royal BC Museum

First, some fantastic beadwork, including a Victorian era beaded scallop purse and some gorgeous First Nations bead embroidery. I was hoping and expecting to see something that involved beads, and was surprised to find them in nearly every exhibit.

Victorian Beaded Scallop Purse

Bead Embroidered Purse

Floral Bead Embroidered Pouch

First Nations Bead Embroidery

And there was plenty of inspiration to be found, including a fantastic steampunk-esque ocean life exhibit (which we all loved), a fossilized nautilus, and a hiding Sphinx.

Family Totem, Royal BC Museum

The Ocean Room, Royal BC Museum

Victorian Era Sphinx

Fossilized Relative of the Nautilus

And now for the beads. It has been so long since I’ve shopped in person at a bead shop, so I couldn’t leave without visiting a couple of downtown stores. I was hoping to find some unique beads that can’t be found anywhere else, and although I did grab a few things, I wasn’t as lucky as I had hoped. Both shops had a fantastic selection of gemstones and Chinese glass, so I was left with a few choices in natural materials.

I hadn’t planned on buying any seed beads, but I saw all that color and couldn’t resist. It’s interesting that I purchased different versions of exactly the same thing from each shop, but I guess it’s natural to chose one’s favorites.

Victoria Bead Shop Haul

At Victoria Bead Town Designs, I found two lovely vials of opaque seed beads, and a gorgeous carved bone feather. I had my eye out for front-drilled pendants that I could combine with a whole bunch of tagua beads I ordered last week, and this was my favorite.

Then it was on to The Bead Shop, where I eagerly scooped up two luxurious hanks of transparent seed beads - I didn’t even realize until later that they almost exactly match the other vials. I also found some carved bone ankhs, and I had to stop myself from buying the lot. I stayed well within my budget, but I’m more than thrilled with what I brought home.

Many thanks to Leah at zombies wearing helmets for the head's up about the fantastic dinosaurs exhibit, and giving me an excuse to shop for beads!

Do you shop at a Local Bead Store, online, or both? Which do you prefer?

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  1. What a wonderful trip! I shop mostly online, but I wish I could get to live bead stores more easily.

  2. I buy mostly online, but whenever I come across a bead store I definitely walk in and take a look. I love (and prefer) to go in person when I can:)

  3. I buy mainly online. I'm kinda forced to that, since I haven't really any local shop nearby that specializes in beads. The hobby stores here sell some beads, but they are GREATLY over-priced.
    One day I hope to make a trip to London to see some of the biggest online stores in person :)

  4. I'm lucky to have a few good bead stores near me. I prefer to shop in stores because I can see what I'm getting, and then there's the serendipity factor of the items that catch my eye as I walk through the store. I shop online as well, but mostly for the items my local stores don't stock.


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