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Customer Corner – Beki Haley, Bead Artist & Instructor

Customer Corner – Beki Haley, Bead Artist & Instructor

Long-time CraftOptics customer, Beki Haley, has been beading for almost 50 years. She has over 30 years of experience teaching, where she shares the formal aspects of jewelry design, as well as the importance of attention to detail. You can see her impressive seed bead design and detail work in photos throughout this post.

“When I’m beading I just climb inside that little tiny hole and there is no extra room in there for anything to bother me. I don’t think about my bills, my aches or pains, or anything negative going on in the world.”

Tell us how you got started beading?

My grandmother taught me when I was a child. So I’ve now been beading for 49 years! Yikes!

Explain what you do, for people who are unfamiliar with seed bead weaving.

I weave tiny orbs of glass into wearable art with a needle and thread. The smaller the bead, the more detail I can achieve.

How would your life be different if you didn’t bead?

I once created a meme that said, “I bead so I don’t kill people!” But really the best way to explain my addiction was a story from my childhood when I spent summers with my Nana. She dabbled in tons of arts and crafts from knitting to shrunken apple head dolls and anything you could imagine in between.

As a small child, I noticed when she would bead she would get very calm and quiet. I asked her one day why that was and she called me over to her doily covered chair and said, “Do you see these little tiny beads?” I nodded yes. “Do you see those little tiny holes inside those little tiny beads?” I leaned in closer, squinted my eyes and said, “Yes!” She said, “When I’m beading I just climb inside that little tiny hole and there is no extra room in there for anything to bother me. I don’t think about my bills, my aches or pains, or anything negative going on in the world.”

This story has stuck with me my entire life and I share it with my students every chance I get. Because it is the absolute truth – and one that every beader understands clearly. At any stressful point in my life, the first place I turn to for comfort and solace are my beads.

Why is teaching and sharing what you do so meaningful to you?

It just makes me feel good. I love sharing what I know about beads and beading and I love watching the enjoyment others get from creating in this medium. There is a silent sense of peace and joy that comes with that. Beki will be teaching several courses at the upcoming Bead & Button show in Milwaukee.

How do you feel when you complete a project?

It is hard to describe that feeling….happy, peaceful, content, accomplished.

 

“I held off on placing my order. I regretted that decision”

 

We imagine it is important to see fine details when you work with such tiny beads.

Extremely important. I take great pride in my craftsmanship – and while that cannot be “taught” per se, it is important to me that I lead by example for my students. Being able to see the fine detail when you’re working with such a tiny medium is SO important!

When did you first discover CraftOptics?

Oh gosh….the first time they exhibited at a Bead&Button Show [editor’s note: 9 years ago]. I was a vendor also and saw them during setup. I was very curious….what beader isn’t interested in something that could help them create?

Each time I walked past the CraftOptics booth making trips from the loading dock to my booth, I would peek over to see what this new, exciting product was!

Once the show opened I was too busy to get away, but on the last day of the show I finally made time to go learn about CraftOptics in person.

What was it that made you decide to get a pair of CraftOptics? Did you think about the purchase for a while? If so, what was it that made you decide to go ahead and buy.

I’ve worn glasses since I was 12, so seeing a product that could help me while still allowing me to see around the room without having to remove it was a revelation for me. I was beyond excited!

But, by nature I needed to gather more information. So I held off on placing my order. I regretted that decision within weeks of the show ending!

The following year I spoke with Jeff personally about my neck issues and he assured me wearing CraftOptics would help eliminate the strain I was putting on my neck by bending my head to get closer to my work surface. And, of course, he was right!

We’ve exhibited at many other shows together since then, and I am constantly referring my students and customers to them!

“Best purchase I’ve ever made! The investment was more than worth it for me – even being as frugal as I am.”

How do you feel about your decision to purchase CraftOptics today? How has it changed the way you work?

Best purchase I’ve ever made! The investment was more than worth it for me – even being as frugal as I am. I am able to bead for much longer stretches at a time, as I am no longer fatiguing my eyes or neck. And since my neck is no longer hurting, I am also noticing my arms and hands don’t hurt as much either.

Where can people find your finished products?

I don’t sell my finished beadwork any longer, but I do sell kits of my designs and teach as often as possible. My blog is a good place to see my class offerings – https://bekihaley.blogspot.com/

My Retreat website is – http://www.beadersdreamretreat.com/

And Facebook is a good place to connect with me as I share my creations there often – https://www.facebook.com/beki.haley

Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experiences with CraftOptics products or the company?

I would just like to thank Jeff and everyone who works at CraftOptics for their continued generosity and support of Beaders Dream Retreat. Each time I have approached them for donations for my retreat attendees, they have been more than accommodating. In my world, companies who are willing to extend their generosity to others are companies I will continue to support and praise. What goes around comes around with a little help from your friends and colleagues!

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