Bead Shops of Britain: #1
May 23, 2011 § 4 Comments
Welcome to the new, monthly feature on the blog, documenting my travels round the bead shops of Britain! I’m glad that people are interested in it and hopefully it will mean that more readers find out about those little tucked away shops that they would never find otherwise.
The very first shop I’m featuring is Kerrie Berrie, in Brighton. Brighton has a glut of bead and craft shops, but each stands out in its own unique way. (Don’t forget that the magic of the internet now means you can shop with all these bead shops too, although nothing beats going there in person!)
When I first visited Brighton, I was surprised at Kerrie Berrie, as it’s laid out more like an art gallery than a bead shop! The products are displayed artfully and with a focus on quality, not just quantity. I particularly like the wooden table that holds the interesting findings and semi-precious beads as it looks like it’s been washed up on a beach. Their window displays and jewellery units are bright, well-lit, and feature attractive jewellery designs that are also achievable (which is, of course, a definite selling point).
Their website says they want to bring unusual, sophisticated and on-trend beads and jewellery to their customers, and I think they really do. There are beads in their shop that I haven’t seen anywhere else, including an interesting selection of handmade lampwork beads, and chunky acrylic, lucite and glass beads. They offer most of the beads and findings singly or in larger packs with a slight discount; very good for those producing jewellery to sell.
The products are of very high quality: the leather they stock is a little bit pricey but it’s thick, strong, and comes in some fantastic colours, and similarly the glass beads are predominantly Czech and feature some cuts and finishes that can be quite difficult to find in the UK unless you’re at a bead show. It also means that their small sale section had some fantastic bags in of the more unusual beads at a really good price.
Kerrie Berrie is also where I managed to get my hands on some Griffin beading thread. Nearly all UK stockists I’ve checked out only have a basic colour range of thread – Kerrie Berrie had the whole range including an aubergine and a mustard colour that I bought! The staff were helpful without being overbearing and were very welcome to me snapping away with my camera and scribbling down notes.
They have a big wooden table near natural light for holding their beading classes and workshops, which include a three-part introduction to beading and specific classes for tiara and brooch making. I really liked this set up as it felt part of the shop without being cramped or awkward for beaders. I also love the neon ‘beads’ sign in the window – very cool. For those who can’t get to Brighton, their website is clear and simple to use as well as showcasing their jewellery range.
In my bag:
From left, clockwise: copper and silver plate washers; antique gold ridged metal rounds; chunky lucite pink-orange triangles; simple round copper toggle fastener; red and bronze Czech faceted rounds; huge copper heart toggle; tiny lilac Czech firepolish
Kerrie Berrie, recommended for:
Unusual, unique, and stand-out beads
High quality stringing materials that might be hard to find elsewhere
A serene, sophisticated bead-choosing experience!
Hope you’ve enjoyed the first Bead Shops of Britain post – next month is another one of the lovely shops in Brighton that I visited this weekend (I really want to show off all the great beads I go but it’ll have to wait). Hope you had a great weekend too – did you go bead hunting, or stay in and get creative?