Summer 2024 Workshops

Heart of Texas Bead Retreat

Summer Retreat

May 30-June 2, 2024

Embassy Suites        Grapevine, Texas 


Register Here

Full Day Workshops

Cynthia Rutledge

Cynthia is a contemporary artist and teacher focusing on beadwork as her medium. She specializes in peyote stitch and off-loom weaving techniques with an emphasis on developing sculptural unsupported shapes in beadwork.

Her work has been exhibited in national and international shows and has appeared in Nicolette Stessin’s Beaded Amulet Purses, Carol Taylor’s Creative Bead Jewelry, and Carol Wilcox Wells’Creative Bead Weaving: A Contemporary Guide to Classic Off-Loom Stitches.

“My attraction to 3-dimensional shapes has created a fascination for me throughout my life and has fueled my creative spirit. My choice of beadwork as a primary medium has followed that same fascination. As my beadwork has evolved, my work seems to always lean towards the building of shapes and forms that are functional and wearable.

The choice to use beads as my medium was primarily influenced by my love of color. Beads reflect and absorb light, hold shape and dimension, and in so doing, offer chameleon-like qualities. It is not always the end result that is the most important to me, however. The process of working with beads and thread is meditative and calming, which allows time for reflection. Engineering each piece is always a challenge that thrills me, as well as giving me the power to make the decisions that need to be made for each piece. The more I experience the wonderful qualities of beadwork, the more I realize my relationship with beads will always be one of learning, experiencing and sharing.

The decision to teach grew from my personal desire to share my love of beads and all the wonderful things that can be created with them. The commitment that I have to teaching stems from my desire to share the knowledge I have gained while developing my own skills in this medium. Ultimately, my mission is to help to keep this art form alive and well.”    (photo of Cynthia by Mark Rutledge)

To view more of Cynthia’s designs: Click HERE

Georgiana’s Cuff

Description: For a detailed description: Georgiana’s Cuff

Workshop: This workshop is an exclusive for Heart of Texas 2024

Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced
Techniques: Peyote Stitch, Netting, Edge-stitching, Embellishing techniques, Lacing techniques, Odd count, step up/step down flat peyote stitch, Stitching-in-the-ditch, Tubular even-count peyote stitch with increases. The samples all use 5.5” by .25” brass cuff blanks. The cuff blanks are available in 5”, 5.5”, 6”, 6.5” and 7”, so something for everyone.

Materials: Kit Mandatory
Kit: $60.00 each plus: the cost of one 18x13mm oval CZ, two 18x13mm pear CZs and 1 roll of 1/4” Red Tacky Tape
Kit Color Options: Click HERE
Students should bring: Students will need their basic beading supplies, craft scissors to cut plastic sheet, a thin permanent marker, bead board of choice and magnification if needed. Lighting and your usual beading supplies – see FAQ for beading supplies guidelines.


Melissa Grakowsky Shippee

My life didn’t always involve tiny pieces of colored glass with holes in them. Earlier in life my interests had a broader focus. I always had a fascination with the natural world, and equally with art. In college, when I was finally free to study what I liked, I majored in biology at first but went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in physics, and another bachelor’s degree in fine arts (with a painting concentration).
I got into bead weaving in my early twenties after my son was born and I desperately needed a creative hobby that would conform to the new space- and time- (some might say space-time) limitations that I was confronted with as I entered a new phase of my life. My old medium, painting, was simply not an option when caring for a baby in an apartment. And I had decided to quit my studies to care for my son, who needed just a little more help than the average baby in getting a good start to his life.
Thankfully a good college friend of mine introduced me to his aunt’s bead store, Beads East, formerly located in Manchester, Connecticut, and the rest is history.
I now travel all over the United States and to select countries around the world to share my love of beading with workshops, I design projects to sell as kits and patterns here in my online shop and in my workshops, and I produce illustrations for other artists in the industry.

To view more of Melissa’s designs: Click HERE



Workshop : Designed for The Heart of Texas Summer 2024 Bead Retreat
Skill Level: Intermediate
Techniques:  Bead Embroidery
Materials: Kit Mandatory
Kit: $120
Students should bring: Lighting/Magnification, your usual beading supplies – see FAQ for beading supplies guidelines.
Kit Color Options:  Click HERE There will not be pre-ordering for Melissa’s Kit.


Nancy Cain

Teaching bead classes since 1993, Nancy has traveled nationally and internationally and was the 2015 Bead&Button Show Master Class instructor – teaching Engineering Vessels. She had since taught her master classes seven times. In her workshop sessions, she shares her passion for structural peyote stitch by delving into the process of designing and structure. With an engineering perspective to beading, she shares the processes so students can enhance their knowledge beyond the specific project. Nancy has exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Hakone Open-Air Museum. She was named Beadwork’s Designer of the Year for 2010 and twice been a Bead Dreams Finalist at the Bead&Button show. She has also been widely published and is in the process of authoring a book.

Before her beading hobby grew, Nancy was as a graphic artist and calligrapher as well as a draftsman for an engineering company. She is married with two grown children and lives in Colorado.

To view more of Nancy’s designs: Click HERE



Made with structural peyote stitch, Raindrops necklace swings with 11x18mm glass variegated drops, cotton pearls, 4mm crystal beads, Firepolish, and two layers of delicate, embellished chain. As you wear this necklace, you can look into the reflective pool of the 18mm rivoli as it faces upward.

For a detailed description: Raindrops

Workshop : Designed for The Heart of Texas Summer 2024 Bead Retreat
Skill Level: Intermediate
Techniques:  Structural peyote stitch
Materials: Kit Mandatory
Kit: $135
Students should bring: Lighting/Magnification, your usual beading supplies – see FAQ for beading supplies guidelines.
Kit Color Options: Turquoise Copper, Purple Verde, Bronze Iris, Scarlet Bronze Click HERE


Register Here

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