Sometimes I get the most amazing opportunities through my day job at Soft Flex Company. This year, I was asked to appear in two segments on the television program Beads Baubles and Jewels (releasing Spring of 2019) for Public Television. The best part was getting to spend time with some of my favorite people in the beading industry!
Beads Baubles and Jewels describes itself like this, “Beads Baubles and Jewels is the source for jewelry making, beading, and metal work: instructions, education and projects from leading jewelry designers, and instructors. The online home of the public television program.” The host is Katie Hacker, who has years and years of experience in the beading industry. Beads Baubles and Jewels is recorded in Ohio.
Accompanying me to Ohio were an old friend and a new friend.
Nealay Patel and I have been best beading buddies for a long time. I admire his amazing design aesthetic and unlimited creativity. We have had many fun adventures at the Bead&Button Show and taping for Jewel School on JTV. You can catch Nealay on Facebook Live almost every Tuesday doing his Tuesday Tuts! Nealay recorded two segments on behalf of Soft Flex Company and both are going to blow you away! He is on Episode 2709: A Breath of Fresh Air and Episode 2710: Exotic Travels.
Jill Wiseman and I became friends recently. We’ve known each other in passing for years but finally got the chance to sit down and chat at the Bead&Button Show this year and hit it off quickly. Jill has an amazing YouTube channel that you have to subscribe to immediately! She also recorded two segments on behalf of Soft Flex Company. I promise that she did not miss the sparkle in her designs. They are gorgeous. Jill is on Episode 2713: Peaceful Pursuit and Episode 2800: Name to be decided.
I cannot express enough how much joy these two brought to the trip. I laughed until my sides and cheeks hurt. When I had a tough time onset with my second segment, they were quick to pick me up and help me to get over it. Having good friends is priceless. Getting to spend quality time with them was amazing and inspiring. It was so nice to share ideas about business, beading and life in general with such lovely friends.
So my segments are Episode 2701: By the Sea (kicking off the new season) and 2704: Southwest. When the themes were released, I was quick to nab “Southwest” to sing my song of the Arizona desert and my old home AND “By the Sea” to reflect my new home in Northern California where I can literally see water outside my bedroom window.
I taped the By the Sea episode second. It was a rough segment for me. I had trouble with using the brand names where I needed to be a little less specific. Since I have never called a SuperDuo anything but a SuperDuo, I really struggled with getting the words out correctly. “Two Hole Bead. Two Hole Bead. Two Hole Bead.” I hope that through the magic of editing, they will bring it all together in the end. Nealay was in the studio photographing my segment and he caught the funniest picture of me mid-frustration looking to him for help! This design uses Soft Touch Very Fine .010 inch to weave Superduos together into a lovely bracelet with a beautiful toggle clasps from Green Girl Studios. This design is in the same vein as one of my designs in my book Seed Bead Revolution.
I taped the Southwest episode first. It was smooth sailing. No issues, thankfully. In this segment, I show the viewers how to knit with a Soft Flex 4 peg knitting spool using Soft Flex Beading Wire Medium .019 inch. Knitting with beading wire is one of my favorite jewelry making techniques. I love how you can create gorgeous bracelets using this relaxing technique. Knitting on a spool is pretty easy once you get going – just like normal knitting or crocheting. With so many colors in Soft Flex beading wire, the sky is the limit on combinations. I picked a few colors that perfectly reflect the Southwest in my eyes and then tied it all together with some findings from Saki Silver. There are 3 peg knitting spools, 4 peg knitting spools or 5 peg knitting spools. If you add more pegs the output gets thicker. There are also multiple ways to knit on any of these spools. Talk about variety?!
I was excited to see two more of my friends on the day of taping, the fabulous Lindsay Burke of Fusion Beads and Tracy Gonzales of TierraCast. Both were using Soft Flex beading wire in one of their segments too!
I was impressed with Lindsay’s stamina. She recorded 4 segments that day and looked absolutely glamorous all day long! FusionBeads.com is one of my favorite places to buy seed beads. In fact, they sponsored all of our seed beads for the book that I wrote last year – Seed Bead Revolution. They are an awesome beading company and a great place to get inspiration for new ideas and projects. You can catch Lindsay on Episode 2705: Excursions, Episode 2707: Ice Castles and two episodes in the 2800 series.
Not a lot of people realize that Soft Flex Company and TierraCast are both located in Sonoma County, two big companies in sort of a rural place. I took a live video tour of their manufacturing set up in Santa Rosa last year and was impressed with their hard working team. This year, they have really turned up the dial by offering mini releases every month. I love to see what they are creating. They manufacture all sorts of metal components – clasps, connectors, beads, etc. So, I was very happy to see Tracy in Ohio. I always love her jewelry designs. She makes jewelry that I would want to wear. You can catch Tracy on Episode 2704: Southwest and Episode 2710: Exotic Travels.
One last friend that cannot go unnamed! Kate Richbourg of BeadShop.com. Need I say more? We all know her, right? She agreed to do one segment on behalf of Soft Flex Company in addition to doing several segments for BeadShop.com. Kate travelled with her fantastic co-worker Cara from Beadshop.com. I didn’t get to see Kate as she filmed on a different day but after years of admiring Kate’s jewelry, I know that all of her projects will be amazing. BeadShop.com is actually sort of a neighbor for us too (in the bay area). I had the great pleasure of visiting them earlier this year and was amazed at how much a small team is getting done over there on a daily basis. If you haven’t already, you should check out their Facebook Live Videos. You can catch Kate on Episode 2703: City Living, Episode 2705: Excursions, Episode 2706: India and Episode 2713: Peaceful Pursuit (using Soft Flex beading wire).
This was an incredible trip in so many ways. I got to touch base with acquaintances like Brenda Schweder and Leslie Rogalski of Beadsmith. And then I got to spend time with new friends and old friends alike. I ate lots of great food, drank great wine, did mud masks with my beading bestie and all in all, had a fabulous time. Nealay, Jill and I shared an Airbnb rental that was surrounded by unbelievable greenery. We made cheese plates and stayed up late telling silly stories. It felt like a small business retreat. I learned so much from both of them and look forward to our future adventures.
I hope that you will check out the next season of Beads, Baubles and Jewels on Public Television. We should know the air dates in not too long and I am sure that we’ll all post reminders as each new episode comes up. I think that you will be amazed by the wide array of content that is being featured this season. I am excited to see how it all comes together. If you love beading and jewelry making, this is going to be the season for you!
One more thanks to Katie Hacker (the host) for making everyone feel so comfortable and at ease on set. And a big thanks to KS Productions for working so hard to get the best shots. I got the bird’s eye view in the control room and what they do is very impressive. Catching all angles of a jewelry making tutorial is no easy job!
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Sara Oehler (pronounced Ay-ler) is a well-known jewelry designer living in the Bay Area. Sara is the author of several beading books, including her latest title, written with Kristen Fagan, Seed Bead Revolution. She has designed and written for numerous publications including: BeadStyle, Bead&Button, Bead Trends, Stringing, Jewelry in Fashion Trends, Simply Beads, The Flow and Today's Creative Home Arts. Currently, Sara is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company.Ask Sara Bead Expert