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Beadology Iowa offers dozens of courses for mastering new crafts

BY MEREDITH CULLEN | JULY 03, 2013 5:00 AM

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Thousands of glittering beads color the walls in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Beautiful stones are lined up in color combinations just waiting to be strung onto a bracelet or necklace.

Beadology Iowa, 220 E. Washington St., has been known for offering the community various craft opportunities with beads, including stringing, pendants, seed-beading, glass beads, as well as courses involving crocheting, wire work, pearl knotting, and Chinese button knotting. At the front of the store are examples of each product that may be made after the classes.

The pieces of jewelry are what prompted Charistina Williamson to chose which classes she wanted to take.

“I liked the items they had on display,” she said. “Those were the ones that sparked my interest.”

There are a wide range of classes provided at Beadology. Students may learn anything from the basics of stringing to making glass beads or wire working.

For Beadology manager Mallory Zapf, what started as a much-needed job turned into an occupation she loves.

“I just like working with color and design and helping people get the project done that they want,” she said.

Zapf said the various classes help crafters learn different techniques in the art of jewelry making.

“Even if they don’t do anything after the class, they have a new appreciation for jewelry and what we have,” she said.

Williamson said she takes advantage of the techniques she learns at the class so she can create the projects at home.

“I am not an artsy-craft person,”she said. “[The classes] are such that I have been able to do it, accomplish my project, and even go on home and continue to make various pieces based on what I’ve learned here.”

This new understanding of what goes into jewelry making helps people decide which jewelry to buy as well, Zapf said.

“Sometimes people question prices of jewelry, but after taking the class, [they’ll say], ‘Oh, that would be why. Those loops, that stitch is perfect, and I can’t do it, but now I appreciate it,’ ” she said.

Karen Kubby, a co-owner of Beadology, said the classes are a fun way to build relationships with other people.

“It’s really fun to learn something new together,” she said. “It puts you both on the same level when neither of you know how to do something. It’s fun family time; it’s a fun date.”

Williamson takes advantage of the relaxed atmosphere when she’s learning the art of beading.

“I have a very busy position, so learning the various techniques on making jewelry [is] a stress-reliever for me,” she said. “I’ve made several pieces for my daughters [and] my granddaughters. Those are the types of things I enjoy. I don’t look for a financial opportunity; it’s more of a personal opportunity.”

Kubby prides herself on how inexpensive the classes are.

“We want to connect with the student body more because there are higher-end things here, but there are also really affordable things and fun to use,” she said. “We want to make sure people know that we have things here they would find fun and interesting to work with.”

Along with the regularly scheduled classes, Open Labs are provided every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Anyone from the community, young or old, experienced or beginner, can come in free of charge for the opportunity to take advantage of the staff to get help on technical or design aspects of their own projects.

“That’s great, [because] it’s really private, it’s catering to what they really want,” Kubby said. “[We want] to build a beading community.”

Zapf said the classes at Beadology are an easy way for people to learn some new crafts and build a sense of community.

“We just like people being here and working,” she said.


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