About Our Society

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Who is the Coastal Bead Society? 

Coastal Bead Society is a group of roughly 100 beaders throughout the Low Country of SC and the Coastal Empire of GA. From our humble beginnings in the 90's with of a handful of members meeting in a church through to today, our growth and existence is based on furthering beading and bead education within our membership and our community. We are beaders and mixed media artists of all skill levels, from beginners to talented designers with creations in galleries and popular beading pubications.  

So, what is Coastal Bead Society, and what do they do? 

A bead society, like Coastal Bead Society, is a group of people who like the same hobby - beading in some form or fashion! We meet monthly and offer education to our membership on lots beading topics. Of course, we focus heavily on how-to's so that we can promote and further the artform in our community. From learning stitches to making glass beads to photographing your work for magazine submission, and more, Coastal Bead Society offers its members education and fellowship for artists of all levels, including beginers who want to try a new hobby. We have an annual bead retreat, and have classes with national level beading teachers. We hold an annual Bead Challenge and award prizes in multiple categories, and various other Challenges during the year. We even hold a yearly Stash Swap at the last meeting before summer. We just love everything BEADS!

There are lots of types of beading that members in our society like to do: 

Bead Stringing: This true bead art form is how loads of jewelry is made, and is widely recognized as the earliest form of beading. Its just like what it sounds like - stringing beads on a medium such as Beadalon, SoftFlex, stretch elastic cord, leather - whatever you wish! You will also need some ends for your stringing material, like crimp beads and clasps.
Many beaders start out as bead stringers! :)

Beading: This lovely art form involves stitching smaller beads with smaller holes together to create 2-and-3 dimensional artwork. Visit our Inspiration Gallery to see some lovely examples! Seed beads, magatamas, Tilas, Super Duos, Spikes, Delicas, Swarovski Crystals and more are what our members like to work with, and the sky is the limit in imagination and skill! There are a number of stitches that make up this art form. Be sure to visit our Learning Center for links to videos on stitches like Peyote, RAW (Right Angle Weave), Herringbone, Square Stitch, Netting, Brick Stitch and others. 

Wire work: Wire Working involves using pliers and varying gauges of wire to create sculptural jewelry and components. Wire can be used to make your own clasp, wrap a center piece, or become and entire piece of jewelry on its own with or without beads. It can even be knitted and crocheted with beads to create one of a pieces. Copper, brass, and silver are commonly used.

Embroidery: Beads and jewelry notions can be sewn onto a fabric backing to give you Bead Embroidery. Amazing artwork is created by simply sewing beads to a backing material as opposed to stringing them or sewing them to each other. Some of our members are highly skilled in this lovely art, with pieces in local and national galleries. 

We have polymer clay artists, metal clay artists, fiber artists, bead store owners, SCAD professors, beaders and stringers… a wealth of talent in our group of people who are willing to share their knowledge with others!

This sounds fun! Can I check it out before I join?

Absolutely! Attendance at your first meeting is free! We invite prospective members to contact our Membership Director more specific information - but the basics are as follows: 

Membership dues are $20 per year. We meet monthly at the Coastal Ceorgia Center near SCAD in Savannah on the 3rd Friday of the month from September to May. (During the summer, lots of our members travel out of the area, so we take 3 months off from meetings in the summer. This is when we work on our annual Bead Challenge projects, too, so when we come back in the fall, we can see what veryone has been working on!) Meetings generally entail a small amount of Bead Society business, then its on to our monthly project/presentation and some beading fun!

We also have a monthly Bead In at John Wesley Villas in Savannah. This is not a structured meeting, but more like a quilting bee or sewing circle. JW Villas provides lunch, and Members bring what they are currently working on to bead with their buddies, or get extra help on our monthly meeting learning programs, like the Peyote stitch series we are currently running.

I'm IN! Where else can I learn about beading, besides at a CBS Meeting?

Each of the local bead stores teaches classes. Contact stores directly for individual class information. From time to time, bead society members offer classes, or a technique is taught at the monthly meetings. We also have technique-focused gatherings at John Wesley Villas to help you learn certain stitches - especially when you need to brush up on your skills prior to national instructors coming. And, CBS has a nice assortmet of books and videos available for members to sign out between meetings. Be sure to have a look at our links to videos to get you started in our Learning Center, too. 

Besides beading books, which most of our members own, many of us also subscribe to leading bead magazines, like Bead & Button, Beadwork, Stringing, Bead Trends, Sommerset's Jewelry Affaire, and others. Check your local bookstores, bead stores, and Amazon.com - there's lots of amazing resources out there!

And of course YouTube and sites like Fire Mountain offer tons of how-to's, ideas, inspirtation galleries. Check in with Pinterest and start your own pinboard for some of your favorites- there's some amazing beading going on out there!

  © Coastal Bead Society 2013