I've been aware of Marcia DeCoster's amazingly intricate beadwork ever since I first started beading and I remember marvelling over her creations in my copy of Masters: Beadweaving back in 2008 before I had ever had anything published. When I first started out, I never dreamt that I would be creating my own designs or that I would ever meet some of my beading heroes and heroines, but when I joined Facebook in 2009 (to follow an old school friend on her travels around the world) I discovered a huge online community of beaders and made a connection with several of my favourites - Marcia being one of them. We've kept in touch over the years and Marcia has always been very supportive of my work, so when I found out that she was coming to England and she asked if I would be able to meet in person ... what do you think I said?
Marcia has been teaching some workshops in The Midlands and so Simon and I drove to meet Marcia and her husband Mark at the house of their hosts, Stephney and Tim. As you can probably imagine, the boys have heard enough about beads to last them a lifetime and so they stayed in the kitchen chatting about football, prize marrows and beer, while us girls took ourselves off to the sitting room to fondle beads. Marcia had previously asked me to take LOTS of beadwork with me to show her and so I took her at her word and took two shoeboxes filled with everything from Popper Flowers to Yorkie. Marcia loves the internet just as much as I do and so as well as stroking beads she was busily taking pictures and providing her Facebook friends with a live account of proceedings via her iPad!
I made Marcia a couple of little owls as a gift and as you can see from the picture below, they were slightly alarmed by the bead orgy that surrounded them and so they remained perched on high.
Of course Mr. and Mrs Prickles are old hands at this kind of thing and so they wandered over to inspect Marcia's beautiful work without a moments hesitation. Just look at them trampling all over Marcia's gorgeous bracelet.
After a delicious lunch of homemade pizza and coleslaw, the boys headed off to a brewery museum and we went to visit a local group of ladies who were busily beading and quilting and producing all sorts of lovely work. I hadn't taken any work in progress with me, so instead I sat next to Marcia who patiently showed me how to do Cubic Right Angle Weave as she worked on samples of her newest designs. Things took a slightly unexpected turn as we got up to leave though, as Marcia dropped some of her tiny beads and we all got on our hands and knees trying to find them. Picking gold beads off a blue carpet is quite a fun game, but finding the turquoise beads was a different matter!
Next it was back to the house for another cup of tea and a bit more chat as we waited for the boys to stagger back from the brewery. As you can see, we were all having a lovely time and I am so glad that I also got to see some of Stephney's amazing beadwork too - you can't see it very well as it is behind the door, but I was particularly taken by a loomwork family tree complete with intricate beaded script.
And finally the day was drawing to a close and it was time to begin untangling the mound of beadwork on the table and to pack everything away. During the day I'd had the opportunity to handle some of the actual pieces from Marcia's new book Beads In Motion and at the end of the day, Marcia kindly signed my copy of the book which I will treasure as the perfect keepsake from a very memorable day.
See you next time!