Friday, 20 January 2012
Everyone loves a party and the chance to gather for good food and good company. When beads come to play, the festivities become even more memorable. Everyone loves to make something of her very own to bring home as a memento of the good time she enjoyed with friends old and new, so the next time you plan to see your mates, why not host a bead-themed coffee klatch?
You can surprise your guests with the beads and a central project, or give guests a pattern and have them shop for everything ahead of time. If someone has not made jewellery before, it may be a good idea to ask her favourite colour and play personal shopper.
Or, to keep things simple, just have friends bring over a project on which they are currently working, and you provide the food and venue.
Food for the party does not have to be elaborate. Muffins, scones with clotted cream, tea, juice spritzer, berries, fruit, crackers with hummus, raw vegetables, and pinwheel sandwiches are all good choices, as are quesadillas, chips, salsa, and other casual finger foods.
During the party, you can host a bead swap, where guests bring beads they know they will never use or simply do not want anymore, and place them, either zipped into plastic bags or sealed in plastic tubes, in a large bowl for everyone to poke through. If a person brings one packet, she takes one packet. If she brings two, she can take two, etc. At the end of the party, the bowl should be empty, and everyone should have new, shiny trinkets to use later.
Or, for another take on the swap idea, dump all beads loose into a bowl, making a 'bead soup,' and everyone gets a scoop of soup to take home.
If you would like to play a game, supply some common ingredients such as a special clasp, a strand of a single type of gemstone or glass, a length of chain and an art bead. Zip items into individual plastic bags, and give one to every guest as she enters your home.
Guests are then challenged to create something with the supplied components, and while they have to use mostly what has been provided, they are allowed to round out the project with items from their own personal stashes. No one should be able to see what another person is constructing so all items are completely unique and not influenced by anyone else's ideas. Vote for best project, if desired, and the winner receives a prize, such as a gift card to a bead store, or a fabulous new beading book.
If you are the only one among your friends who beads, the theme of the party could be that of a classroom. You could teach basic stringing techniques, and for the next party, expand to use of colour, or how to read stitch patterns. What is chosen will depend on the skill levels of the friends and their enthusiasm.
Having parties is so much fun, and hosting bead parties for your friends is the best kind of fun. You get to do something you love and impart helpful tips and tricks while learning new ones, and your friends either get to learn something new or they get the best excuse ever for putting things aside in favour of working on current projects - spending time with you and other like-minded hobbyists. Creating a network of beaders is a wonderful idea and having bead parties with your friends is an excellent way to create such a network. You can provide support for one another when creative dry spells strike, or if you just need someone to go with you to a local gem faire.
Make bead parties a regular part of your creative process and see what develops. You may experience fewer creative blocks, and at the same time, you will nurture friendships, so either way, everyone wins.