Thursday, June 26, 2008

Treasures of Toho Contest

Toho, Co., LTD.
Treasures of TOHO
An Emerging Artist Bead Competition Treasures of Toho
Toho Prize: The designer of the prize winning entry, the store owner and 1 companion of each will receive round trip airline tickets, train tickets, 4 night's hotel accommodations and 2 meals a day for a 3 day visit in Hiroshima, Japan. While in Hiroshima you will visit the factory and see how these beautiful beads are made, visit the museums at the factory and also do some sight seeing. Travel will be as a group.
Participant Rules:
  1. This is a competition for emerging artists - no previous winners may submit their work.
  2. All entries must use 80% TOHO beads in any sizes available.
  3. You must register with your local store to participate. Materials must be purchased from the store in which you register.
  4. All work entered must be original. Please do not submit items that you have learned in classes, from kits or any other sources. Techniques and stitches leaned from any of these sources may be used but the finished piece must be of your original design.
  5. Your entries must be submitted to your local store. Your local store will choose one piece to submit to their Toho distributor. The finalists will be on display at The Bead and Button Show 2009 and the winner will be selected by an independent panel of judges.
  6. The winning piece from each store will be submitted to your stores TOHO vendor.
  7. A completed entry form must accompany each entry.
  8. Collaborative work will not be accepted
  9. Entries may not be submitted if they have been entered in any previous shows, contests
    or articles.
  10. TOHO Beads retains the right to use the work of prize winners in a promotional way including book publications, publicity or photographs with credit to the contributing artist. Directions to be provided by artist if required.
Entries will be judged on originality, use of colors, beads and workmanship

Toho bead contestStore Rules:
The purpose of this competition is to promote our local stores by making this a store based event. As a participating store you will be responsible for promoting this competition to your customers and you will hold your own judging to find a winning piece. Our hope in holding this kind of competition is that more people will seek out their local bead store for their bead selections. If your customer's design is selected you will also share in the prize.

  1. A participating store must register by phone, fax or email with their participatjng vendor. Contact your vendor for further details.
  2. At least 3 qualified people must be involved in an impartial judging of the submitted entries at each store.
  3. The store winning entry must be submitted with the designer's registration form and a $25 entry fee which covers the cost of returning the piece entered.
  4. Winning entry will be submitted to the vendor that you registered with and they will hold their own judging, The piece they choose will then be submitted for the final round and the overall winner will be selected.
  5. The winning entry must be submitted to your vendor by May 1, 2009
  6. Travel to Japan will take place in October of 2009. Your roundtrip tickets will be provided and if you would like to add more time to your visit you may do so with the hotel and meals at your own expense for days beyond the 3 provided. We would be happy to help you with any arrangements.

    Treasures of Toho

If you are a bead store owner and would like to participate in the contest please contact me for registration forms. If you are a jewelry designer, please encourage your local bead store to register.

Toho has just posted the rules as well:

Bead Stores -- download the official rules and entry forms here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Bead Bonanza!

65 New Items Recently Added!
Click on items to be directed to the respective categories
Loose pressed Kilo

Loose HurriCane Glass

Strung Fire Polish

Strung Pressed Beads

Did you know you can view new items by date? Find out what you've missed since you last visited by doing custom searches. Hundreds of new items will be added to the website this summer so make sure you don't miss a thing!
Items recently added to our system will display in the new items list for up to two weeks. To find out what you've missed check out some of these example search phrases:
Try it!
click on the links below to be directed to the customized search results
New since 6/1/08
New since 5/1/08
or, narrow your search to specific categories:
New fire polish
New pressed beads
Rhinestone New since 5/01/08
New HurriCane since 4/01/08

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spearitural Journey by Stephanie Eddy

Coming soon to a magazine near you!
Czech 2-hole Dagger NecklaceWorld renowned jewelry designer Stephanie Eddy accepted our challenge of finding a new and unique pattern for our selection of two-hole daggers and her design has just recently been accepted as a featured pattern in a major bead magazine.

Spearitual Journey is an intricately detailed piece that takes full advantage of the two-hole layout of the dagger bead. She has masterfully incorporated Czech fire polish, pressed beads and crystal rose montees into a combination of multiple bead weaving techniques. Stephanie used Japanese seed beads for the base and added elegant embellishments to finish the piece.

Kits are available in multiple color coordinated versions available on her website:

Two-hole dagger beads are relatively new to the bead world and therefore need ambitious jewelry artists to experiment with them. 30 wild colors available! Dagger beads are one of the most popular and universal Czech pressed bead styles. Just think of the whole new level of design possibilities waiting to be discovered. Send us photos of your designs and we'll proudly feature you on our blog!

Spearitual Journey by Stephanie Eddy

I'll give you an update when this necklace gets a publication date.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Aiko, Treasures, Antiques and Delicas Defined

Toho TreasuresEver since we started into seed beads we've been asked many interesting questions regarding the differences between sizes, styles and brands of seed beads on the market today.
When purchasing beads, the beginner beader might not be able to tell the difference between Japanese, Czech, Indian, or Chinese seed beads. They will, however, notice the quality difference when they get the beads home and start using them. With seed beads you get what you pay for!

Professional jewelry designers and reputable beads stores will only work with high quality premium beads. Why? Because the time spent on creating a beaded masterpiece is worth more than the components themselves. Nothing is more discouraging than to have beads break, flake or fade even before the piece has been completed. Even more frustrating is when you find out the hard way that the seed bead holes are not uniform enough to pass a thread through more than once, causing hours of rework and stress.

That's why we chose to carry Toho beads, the best quality seed bead you can buy. I'll be highlighting the many distinguishable features of these fascinating little beads on this blog as time permits.

Cylinder Beads - what's so special about them and who makes them?

Cylinder beads are exactly that -- cylinders. Unlike regular rounded seed beads, cylinders look like tiny little tubes with crisp edges. When loose in a tube or baggie the two styles can be difficult to tell apart, but the finished results are dramatically different. Cylinder beads stack neatly against each other, creating a flat interlocking surface when stitched together. They work great in patterns where precision is key: TOHO Aiko Kit

  • Beaded Cuffs
  • Loomwork (less culling)
  • Peyote stitch
  • Lampshades
  • Beaded Figurines
  • Beaded Boxes

Round beads give a piece a more natural, organic feel and are suitable for most projects. Toho rounds especially are more uniform than other brands. You can see by the diagrams below how the shape and hole size varies between the Toho cylinders and round beads. There is plenty of room for thread in the holes for just about any pattern available.
Treasure Cylinder BeadsToho Round Beads

Brands of Japanese Cylinders

Treasures (formerly known as TOHO Antiques) - These beads are TOHO's most popular cylinder bead. Not only does the large hole come in handy for stringing projects, it also makes the beads lighter, which in turn translates to more beads per kilo! These are available in a wide variety of popular colors, viewable on our website. Larger size #3 are also availble.

AIKO - TOHO's premium quality, precision cut cylinders. Also known throughout the industry as the world's most perfect bead. People who have had the opportunity to feel woven examples of Aiko beads have compared them to soft, silky fabric that's supple and malleable to the touch. Aikos as explained on Toho's website:

"In addition to Treasure Beads, Toho offers another line of cylindrical beads called Aiko Beads." Designed especially for bead weaving, Aiko Beads are top-quality beads manufactured with dedicated, state-of-the art machinery. Since they are totally consistent in shape and size, weaving with them is a delight, and the resulting woven piece has a wonderfully smooth, silken finish. Aiko Beads are available in the same colors as Treasure Beads. To honor our president's determination to make these the finest beads in the world, we have named these beautiful, delicate beads after Aiko, his beloved wife."

Although they are still difficult to find in the U.S market, let your local bead store know that you are interested in trying them. Aiko kits such as the leaf necklace showcased above are also available. Toho Bead Artistry kits are an easy way to try out a large assortment of Aiko beads with flattering designs that accentuate the exquisite cylinder bead form.

As with any TOHO bead style, over a thousand colors are possible. We value your thoughts and opinions so please let us know what colors you want to see the most!

Cylinder Comparison Cylinder Comparison

Delicas - Manufactured by MIYUKI SHOJI CO.,LTD - Popular in the US, these beads have their own unique color numbering system which is different than the regular Miyuki seed bead product line. A lot of the confusion over cylinder beads stems from the fact that Miyuki was the first Japanese company to export cylinder beads to the US. The word "delica" is often mis-used and has become synonymous with both Miyuki the company and Miyuki's cylinder bead style (the Delica). As with TOHO, Miyuki cylinder beads come in a basic cylinder and also a precision hex cut.
As for QUALITY the Miyuki delica is comparable with the TOHO treasure bead, while the TOHO Aiko beads are used by the most discerning beaders.

Who knew so much technology could be crammed into such a tiny bead!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TOHO Permanent Finish Galvanized Seed Beads

Here is a listing of all the permanent finish galvanized seed beads now available. More colors to be added soon! We've had these beads in stock for a few months now and they have proved to be extremely popular. Toho has created a quality seed bead finish that's as durable as it is beautiful. Rub them, wash them, wear them, you'll see the difference!

TOHO PERMANENT FINISH PF552: Galvanized Peach Coral
TOHO PERMANENT FINISH PF562: Galvanized Saffron
TOHO PERMANENT FINISH PF561: Galvanized Green Teal

TOHO Permanent Finish Beads

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Black Light Sensitive Czech Glass

Color #black light sensitive glass56218 - Mint Julep
When I was going through our warehouse with a portable black light I was extremely suprised to find this color glow. Mint julep is one of my favorite black light sensitive glass beads because of its pleasing color and subtle beauty.
We carry multiple shapes and sizes of beads made with this glass cane, which you can view here. It can be difficult to keep beads of this glass cane in stock since it is so specialized so we try to change up our stock selection light glass
The most impressive shape and color combination that i've seen come through our doors is the mint Julep glass cane in the Pressed Cube shape -- 24/26mm! That's one of the biggest beads we've ever carried. You can see from the pictures that they are big and chunky, each with their own color swirl patterns. These beads have a large surface area and are quite heavy, which tends to create small friction marks along the edges of the beads. The roughness gives the beads a slightly textured surface and an authentic vintage look. A very fun bead!

black light beads Mint Julep in the daylight
black light beadsSame bead under black light

Monday, June 9, 2008

Shiny as a New Penny

Copper Penny - Czech Finish #275Czech copper penny metallic finished beads
Check out our ever-growing selection of copper finished beads! We carry a wide selection coated with this durable copper finish in both Firepolish and pressed beads. Great for spacers, accents, or focals!