Sep 23, 2016

Beads! Who knew?

Hi Everybody, I'm Kate Richbourg and it's so great to meet you at the Bead Table. Some of you may know me from my metalworking classes, articles, and two bestselling books Simple Soldering and Metalsmithing Made Easy. But before I was bitten by the metal bug, I fell in love with beads.

In 1992, while looking for a part time job while toying with the idea of grad school I stumbled across a want-ad in the local paper. It read "The Bead Shop is hiring." "Wait, what?" I thought. "There is a shop that just sells beads?" I had a bit of retail experience and I liked all kinds of crafty pursuits, so I thought, "Why not?" and applied.

The first bead.
I got the job. And I was bitten by the bead bug in the very first week. I still have the very first bead I ever purchased. In our Palo Alto store, we had a case of vintage beads. They were all so special. Holdovers from the days when Janice and her mother Lydia sold beads and antiques in that store space.
Beads from The Bead Shop

This is the bead. An old carnelian beauty. It's about 1" square. It has some dings and wear. I love it.

There have been many beads since that first one. Glass, semiprecious, handmade lamp work beads. So many beads that I collected and saved. Beads that we made especially for different occasions at The Bead Shop.

I still have those two as well. They have found a home in my bead stash.
A favorite necklace made from my bead stash.

I worked at The Bead Shop for 10 great years. In my position as Class Director I developed countless classes and met amazing students. I made friends amongst our staff that I still have to this day. I left The Bead Shop in late 2002 to continue on my career path. It included owning my own bead store in San Francisco, teaching my classes at national bead shows and working for a variety of different companies in the bead and jewelry business. I also authored countless magazine articles and two books. Little did I know, that little want-ad in the newspaper would hand me my life's work and passion.

And now what goes around, comes around. I am so pleased to be back as part of the family. I have a lot of fun things in store for you. New projects, tutorials, videos... the sky is the limit! It's a pleasure to meet all of you and feel free to reach out and say hello. Find me at kate (dot) beadshop (at) gmail (dot) com. And thanks, Janice. It's good to be home.


  1. Kate, your video from Craftsy was my introduction to metalsmithing. I too was hit by the bead bug. The bead shop is my other favourite and started with Brittany's beautiful designs and videos. I haven't found a medium of jewelery making that I don't love. Now at a gallery in Nova Scotia Canada and sell at two juried shows once a year. Thank you ladies, you are all a great inspiration to beginners and experienced beaders alike. Welcome back Kate!

  2. Yay Kate. You got me hooked on beads and I can't wait to see what you are up to now.


Flash Sale Friday...get creative!

Last week Kate went shopping for some special strands at a local gem show, and she brought back six stone strands she couldn't live with...