Fish. Nice in a net or attached to the end of a line. Great on the grill. Wonderful on the wall. But dangling from your neck? Hollywood, Florida, artist Pam Dugger seems to think it's a perfectly fine notion as long as the fish are one of her spectacular glass beads fashioned after tropical reef denizens such as the lionfish, clownfish, redeye wrasse, and angelfish. Marcie Davis, of the Miami branch of Portland, Oregon-based Northstar Glassworks, doesn't know from fish but offers Pyrex (it's available in rich colors now) as a material for beadmaking. Yes, Pyrex, the stuff that seemingly indestructible measuring cup you keep dropping on your kitchen floor is made of.
Davis and Dugger will be among the 140 international vendors plying their wares Thursday through Sunday at The International Bead Expo. Presented by Recursos of Santa Fe, a twelve-year-old nonprofit organization devoted to exploring issues in the arts, cultures, and environments of the Americas, the event, which will be held yearly, is the first such extravaganza in our parts. A series of workshops offering expert instruction on dozens of subjects including peyote stitching, wire wrapping, and glass beadmaking kicked off Wednesday and will last throughout the weekend. Aside from the bead bazaar, where budding jewelry makers can gain inspiration and purchase all manner of materials, a symposium boasting the theme "Beads, Cultures, and Costumes" will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. During those hours a slew of scholars will present their findings on academic topics like "Shell Beads and Ritual Costumes in the Art of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex" and "Beads in the Spanish Colonial Trade: From Exploration to Missionization." Can't think of anyplace else we'd rather bead.