The Road Less Traveled

Lynn Schoeffler © 2008

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Shibori G. Dolce

January is the month for the great "Road To California" Quilt Show; a pilgrimage that I’ve made several years in a row now, enjoying the wonderful exhibits and fantastic market place.

This year, however, a new show caught my attention: The Pasadena Bead and Design Show, and the advertisements in several bead magazines with their dramatic full page illustrations were just too intriguing to pass by.

The creator of the show, Anna Kathleen Johnson, has brought together a varied community of artists who work in bead making, textile weaving, jewelry, interior décor and wearable art. Kathleen believes that artists translate their experience of nature in a personal and instinctual manner, and return it to every day life. The expertise of every artist at the show was exceptional, and the exhibits were unbelievably varied; they are chosen by juried application and invitation.

The visual stimulation and excitement of viewing some of the top craftsmen in their fields is well worth a trip by any fiber or jewelry artist. The market place has an eclectic selection of naturally colored wool, silk and cotton fibers and gorgeous one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces. There were also vendors of beautiful raku, stone and lampwork beads, hand-dyed ribbons and vintage fabrics—all near and dear to a crazy quilter’s heart.

Here, then, is a look at a few of the things that especially intrigued me in this elegant forum of handcrafted art, design, and embellishment accessories.

Shibori Girl Studios:

According to the World Shibori Network, "Shibori is the collective term in Japanese for tie-dye, stitch-dye, fold-dye, pole wrap-dye, etc. It is translated into English as shaped-resist dyeing, because no comparable embracing term exists in English"(1). You may take my word that Glennis Dolce is a true master of the art; her booth with its exquisite swirl of color, texture and beautifully designed wearable art is an absolute must-see. If you can’t catch her at one of the many fiber and quilt shows she does, take a look at her blog: and flickr site:, for glorious photos and purchase information.

Karen Bagnard’s More Than Mermaids:

What a delight to meet Karen and talk a little about her wonderful line of art cards, which includes a wondrous selection of mermaids, fairies and other celestial beings. Each card is a reproduction of Karen’s original drawings, to which she adds dimensional accents of color and sparkle. Her line includes over 150 images, and would be so much fun to send to your favorite friend. You can see all of Karen’s art at:

C-Koop Beads

I wish I’d had more time to talk to Sara Lukkonen of C-Koop Beads and learn about the creative process that goes into her enamel work, but her booth was busy! Sara’s pieces are colored in a wide range of subtle shades of pink and blue, green and purple, rust and black and everything in between. I purchased several of her small maple leaves and a couple of the small hearts; they are a great size for CQ, and the mottled rust and green shades of the leaves are irresistible. Check out Sara’s beads, pendants and buttons at her web site:

Dancing Threads:

Wearable art is a main focus at this show, and Laura Lawrence’s garments and accessories truly exemplify that term. Laura’s "painted with yarn" creations are vibrant and exciting with dynamic, bold color and texture combinations, and use the very finest of today’s fibers. I purchased one of her "soft jewelry lariats" and had fun adding a few beads contrasting the lovely turquoise and silver color way: see the article Sea Strands. Please take a look at Laura’s web site for a further view of her inspired work:

Grace Lampwork Beads

You can see what kept me at Grace’s booth for over an hour, and then called me back the next day too! Grace Ma left a career in computers to launch a new business doing something she loved. With no prior training in lampwork, she taught herself to make these beautiful, high-quality beads using her own designs and color inventions. Grace now employs a production staff, while she continues to create new designs and travel to many shows a year. You can see and order Grace’s work at

Class ACT Designs

To say that Fran and Judy have captured every color of the rainbow in their slips of permanently pleated silk is a definite understatement—what a fabulous wall of color! Although displayed here as neckpieces, I could think of several different applications for CQ’ers—what about a sheaf of rolled roses? Each hand dyed ribbon is about thirty-four inches long, and carefully edged with a color coordinated or metallic thread. Great for displaying a single focus bead—see all the examples and colors at:

Kyoto Kimono

For all of you who share my love of Japanese textiles, Kyoto Kimono is a terrific place to go:, and even better if you can visit in person. In Pasadena I found a wonderful mix of vintage kimono fabrics, scarf pattern kits, beautiful old garments and lovely bundles of vintage kimono sleeves, many of them in my favorite Chirimen fabric. Make sure you stop and see the Sewing and Crafts Gallery at this great website.

The Pasadena Bead & Design Show will be open again at the Hilton Hotel in August 2008. For further information see:

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