posted: Friday, 10 August 2018
A lovely visit to StitchnCraft Beads today to teach my Peacock Pearl Box but though I had a wonderful time the visit is tinged with sadness as they have recently announced they'll be closing their physical shop and going online only.
This is such a sad event, for so many reasons, and as this has always been such an important shop in the UK and so supportive of the beading scene and designers, teachers etc that it has the potential for a wide-ranging impact on beading in the UK.
Personally for me I'm very sad to lose one of my favourite places in the world to visit and teach at. Everyone at the shop has always been so supportive and it's a joy to visit them knowing that I and everyone else at the class will have a great day, in a great venue surrounded by everything we need and lovely, friendly help.
I'll also miss visiting to be able to see the beads and findings etc I want to buy in person. I can of course buy anything I need online (and I know that many of you who don't have local shops have to do this for all your shopping) but nothing beats visiting a well-stocked, and knowledgable, bead shop to get to see everything in person. Beads are such a colourful, visual and tactile thing that a picture on a website just can't convey.
Also nothing beats a good bead shop where you can ask questions, get advice, find out more about products and discover new items and ways to use them.
Sadly it's of course not just me who's lost a teaching venue in the UK (added to the many others I've already lost this year) but all the other teachers & designers the shop has wonderfully supported over the years will also feel the loss of a venue.
I worry that as there become less and less places for us to teach it will be harder for new teachers to find somewhere to begin teaching and start their career so we'll be deprived of new artists who are essential to keeping any craft alive and inspiring new people to take up the hobby.
StitchnCraft were also great supporters of international tutors and it's a shame that here in the UK we'll now have less access to takes classes with and learn from them.
I have long been a proponent of supporting local bead shops, and going to classes, and whilst of course the lure of learning something for free on YouTube is tempting (and I do appreciate not everyone has access to, or, for a wide variety of reasons, is able to take classes) nothing beats sitting in an actual class.
When you're surrounded by like-minded people, and learning directly from a good teacher who you can ask questions of, and get guidance and inspiration from, with the finished item there to look at, you'll learn so much quicker and so much more than the project the class was advertised as.
Classes are also great places to make friends, socialise, get inspiration for colour & variations, discover new beading projects, learn about new products, give yourself a day away from 'real life' and immerse yourself in beading.
Thankfully StitchnCraft Beads aren't going away completely and I'm excited to see them grow & change and still remain a supportive influence in beading in the UK.
And I still have 2 classes there this year (Peacock Pearl Box and Zaila) so do come along and take a class with me (or with anyone else- you can see all their classes here) and spend time in this lovely shop before it closes.
But it's onwards & upwards as this has spurred me on to branch out in some new ways so keep an eye out for some changes and new adventures coming in 2019...