Glass beads are an invaluable material for beading and jewelry design. Versatile, varied, and affordable, glass provides a never ending source of inspiration. It’s no secret that some of the best glass beads come from the Czech Republic, and some of the most unique selections come from indie shops that specialize in designer Czech glass. Today’s guest is Kate of Maya Honey in Slovakia– one of my favorite places to search for Czech glass inspirations. In addition to the selection of new and rare glass beads, Maya Honey also carries a variety of findings and Japanese seed beads.
Inspirational Beading: How did you get into the business of jewelry supplies?
Kate: I’m a jewelry maker myself, I used to create a lot of jewelry pieces and made my research through different brands and types of beads and jewelry supplies. We live near Czech Republic where you can find a lot of unique glass beads. So, it was so tempting to get them all! I was getting a lot of questions about materials I used in my own jewelry and how to buy them. Also the stock was growing really fast and my husband suggested we should start selling not only my jewelry and lampwork beads but also Czech glass beads.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material, color, or bead style to keep in stock?
Kate: I’m beach fan. Although we do not live near the sea I adore everything concerning beach starting with all kind of teal and blue color hues in glass beads, also beach themed charms like starfishes, shells, sand dollars. I found terrific beach related verdigris patinated charms in Greece and bought them immediately for our shop. Another style I love is boho – it shows palette of rustic earthy colors, turquoise and topaz. Czech glass beads with Picasso (or so called travertine) finish are perfect match for boho jewelry. The more expensive table cut beads can be great as centerpiece for a necklace or bracelet.
Czech Glass Cathedral Beads
Inspirational Beading: What is your all-time favorite Czech bead shape?
Kate: I cannot think of just one! Every season Czech manufacturers spoil us with new designs and beads shapes. Recently I was impressed by new styles with imprinted in bead’s surface dragonfly, seahorse or bird silhouette. My long lasting love is cathedral beads, they now come not only with gold and silver ends but also with rustic earthy finishes. I can also note new Toho seed beads palette of semi–glazed colors – really natural finish.
Czech Glass Coins
Inspirational Beading: What kind of criteria do you use when selecting new products to carry?
Kate: Quality! It’s always about it. You can notice that all products we carry we buy mostly in European Union. That’s because I can be sure I’m buying great product that were made using raw materials to comply with all the EU’s regulations. If it is findings they should be nickel and lead safe, leather cords of great quality, Czech glass made in safe environment and so on.
Inspirational Beading: What makes your bead selection stand out from other craft supplies shops? What's your favorite thing about your products?
Kate: We try to carry a lot of limited production beads which means we get them from family workshops in Czech Republic (sometime they don’t even have websites). It is traditional art for this region and you can find truly gifted masters of glass there. I also make my own beads mixes and bead soups – I love to make them! It’s like painting a picture really. Always happy when my customers send photos of their creations with these mixes.
Inspirational Beading: Many beaders are familiar with the emotion that comes from selling a finished design. How does it feel when you sell something that will become a beautiful work of art?
Kate: I’m thrilled! On my Instagram @mayahoneybead I always post photos from my customers with their creations. I sometimes envy them – they have much more time to create than me!
Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite thing to make (or see others make) with your beads?
Kate: Cannot say exactly – I love all creative things you can make with beads. I saw fantastic brooches (I never was able to make them myself) or head bands. I like adorable little toys you can make with seed beads or long very difficult to create belts. All sorts of things!
Inspirational Beading: Baggies, tubes, or strands? Which is your favorite?
Kate: I prefer baggies cause for me it’s easier to store and organize them. Tubes are great if you have a lot of space. I don’t really like strands cause I cut them anyway for my projects. As for the shop – I also prefer baggies. We always pre-sort all beads and materials to avoid possible broken glass, chipped beads or defects so baggies are a great choice.
Greek Ceramic Beads and Metal Charms
Inspirational Beading: In your opinion, what’s the best thing about small supplies shops vs. the big bead retailers?
Kate: First, I can focus on smaller workshops where I can get very limited and unique products. I don’t think big retailer would bother for such small amount but I would. So, I look into that market, travel and find new family businesses that can offer beads and materials you will not find anywhere else. Second, our buyers say we have great customer service.And I really try to help them quick and answer all questions.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have any plans for new products this year?
Kate: My husband and I decided to add to our shop more findings, sterling silver charms and earwires, much more colors of leather cords so you can find all in one place. Our last hint is brass ball pins (which I enjoy working so much) – we found them in Greece and now sell them in all finishes: silver plated, gold, rhodium, gunmetal etc.
You can see more gorgeous hand-picked supplies at Maya Honey on Etsy and MayaHoneyBead.com.
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