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As a beading fan, I was really excited when a new UK bead magazine came out at the end of 2007, so have bought every issue from the start (that's 16 issues).
SOME BASIC INFORMATION
Website http://www.beadmagazine.co.uk/ has a forum, a gallery, and information about most things I'm going to tell you about!
Price: £3.95 (the price hasn't changed from the start)
Publisher Ashdown.co.uk: international magazine publishers and Internet television broadcasters
Editor: Jean Power - who is herself an avid beader, has co-written two books: Beading For Beginners and The Big Book Of Weekend Beading. I could write more about her but if you want to know - visit her website http://www.jeanpower.com/
Subscriptions- 1 year (6 issues) costs £24
www.bead.tv is bead magazine's online TV channel with beading techniques, workshops, demonstrations etc. It costs £2 per month and is marketed as 'the workshop in your home'.Apparently, once you join you can watch any programme at any time, however many times you want (I can't say much about this as I haven't subscribed.
'i-mag' - you can subscribe to get an electronic version of each issue for a year for £10.
I have to say that having bought every single issue from the start, there has been improvements in every issue, and the magazine has adapted according to the readers' suggestions, which really makes me loyal to the magazine.
THE FRONT COVER has the name of the magazine ('Bead'), the issue number, the price and some pictures of a couple of the projects in the magazine, plus some text to describe it. The magazine is quite easy to spot on the shelf among the other magazines.
The first couple of inside pages are usually adverts (usually American. I would find this annoying but the adverts for the American company 'Fire Mountain Gems' usually features some stunning beadwork (a different piece in every issue), which is always a plus for me.
WHAT'S INSIDE tells you the contents of the magazine; projects, articles etc in the magazine, with the page numbers and some pictures of the featured projects. This page also gives contact details for the publisher (Ashdown), tells you the subscription rates, and contact details for advertisement sales, the US office, the editor (Jean Power). There are 3 sections on this page:
(meet the team, Jean's jottings's, 'Coming next issue', Reader's letters, beads on the net, Readers' gallery & challenge, 'Ask bead', 'Give aways', suppliers, Notice board, Reviews, and beading and jewellery basics)
MEET THE BEAD TEAM
tells you the beading background of all the people who have contributed to the issue. In issue 16, they were also all asked their favourite type of bead and whether they are a cat or dog person. Also, their website details (if they have one) are also listed.
tells you a bit about some interesting new things in the magazine, what beady things the editor's been up to, and changes/new additions and features to this issue.
Tells you about some new items on the market place. Some of these are included in the give aways.
COMING NEXT ISSUE
shows some pictures of some of the projects in the next issue, plus info on other articles/readers polls etc.
some of the letters that readers have written/emailed in, plus the editor's response. The writer of the star letter gets a beady goody bag! Contact details are given in case you decide to write in too!
BEADS ON THE NET
Some websites related to some of the special features in that article - e.g if the issue contained a bead embroidery project, there is a website to explore that.
READER'S GALLERY AND CHALLENGE
In eac issue, a list of challenge themes is given for the next few issues, with the accompanying closing dates. Photos of some of the challenge entries are shown, with a description, comments and the source of inspiration for the piece. Details are given for how to vote for your favourite challenge entry. The winner now gets a prze from the Spellbound bead company. The reader's gallery also has photos of people's work, plus a description. Details are given about howw to submit photos.
This is where people can ask questions about where to buy (usually hard to find or obscure) beads or findings, and readers or the editor can respond in time for the next issue.
Here, you can tick options to have a chance of winning different things, e.g books from the 'reviews' section, or different items featured in the 'market place'. I won a set of 2 books from the 1st issue and was very happy (and surprised - I'd never won anything before!)
a list of all the suppliers mentioned in the magazine
a list of classes, groups and events related to beading, separated by geographical area. Online groups are also listed, which is great for people who don't have anywhere beady near them!
These are usually book reviews, written by readers. For each review, there is a photo of the front cover, plus an inside page, plus details of the title, the author, ISBN, number of pages, whether it is full colour or not, the price, the author of the review, and where the book is available (usually tells you 'your local bead shop' and also the publisher website/phone number, plus the amount you would have to pay for Postage). The reviews differ in quality, but in my opinion, all of them tell you enough to make a decision about whether you would be interested in that book or not.
BEADING AND JEWELLERY MAKING BASICS
Tells you the basic instructions for making the projects. Includes: brick stitch, brick stitch around another bead, spiral rope, tubular herringbone/ndebele, spiral rope, peyote stitch (both even and odd count), square stitch, herringbone/ndebele, turned loops, using jump rings, surgeon's knot, how to use a stop bead, crimping and wrapped loops
2) Features (based on issue 16 - June/July '09)
Beadmaker's spotlight - profile of the lampwork bead maker Emma Baird, with photos of her work. This profile was an interview, first giving a bit of background of the beader, then some questions about her work and how she started it.
Living with a beader - an amusing account of the trials and tribulations of living with a beader (by Stephen Tenwick)
Bead soup - a few different beaders are given the same set of beads, and whatever they have made is shown, with a description. Personally, this is one of my favourite sections as it shows how differently everyone's creative process works, and the wealth of possibilities out there!
Designer spotlight - an interview with a frequent contributor to Bead magazine
Reader's polls - Poll results and people's comments. These are also listed on the forum on the bead magazine website.
Cheapskates corner - ways to save money when beading - e.g cheap storage options, ways to make some of your own beading tools to make beading easier.
Shop profile - profile/interview with a bead shop owner; about the business now and how it came about and improved, hurdles, successes, other information and what the future holds for the shop.
Reader's diary (of going to a beading class; their experience)
features from other magazines have included those above and also e.g business advice, beading software, craft fair advice, 'why not try....' (for a few editions - information about different techniques e.g wirework, crochet) plus many others
3) Projects - all the projects in the magazine, with different £ symbols to tell you how much the project will cost to make (£=under £5, ££=under £10, £££=under £15, ££££=under £20 and £££££=over £20), and projects which can be completed in less than 1-2 hours have a clock symbol beside them. Some of the projects have a box beside them telling you that they are available for free to view on bead TV.
There is always a range of projects from beginner to advanced, and covering different beading techniques. Also, unlike other beading magazines, there have been no repeats of projects from previous issues. If there has been a mistake in the instructions, this is usually corrected in the next issue, or someone will usually mention it on a beading forum.
Overall, I think this is a fantastic magazine for all those interested in beaded jewellery making. At 130 pages and 14 excellent projects (issue 16), it is definitely worth the money as the quality is great (the magazine is lovely and glossy and doesn't fall apart), and doesn't contain too many adverts. The 1st issue was only 74 pages, had just 10 projects (which were all quite simple), and was not as good quality. I will definitely keep buying the magazine as the reader feedback is really taken on board, and there is so much variety.
A useful website, if you are interested in beading/ jewellery making is www.uk-beaders.co.uk. Many of the contributors to Bead magazine are forum members and the forum has some great information on it. Please feel free to ask me all questions beady!
Thanks for reading. This review is also on ciao.