Heather Powers

Heather Powers has been organizing the Bead Cruise for over 12 years! Heather loves inspiring others on their creative journey. She's so thrilled to share this adventure year after year. 

Heather is the busy beadmaker and jewelry designer behind Humblebeads. Creating and selling for over 23 years, Heather also teaches across the country and hosts retreats.  She sells her beads around the world and at Bead & Button and BeadFest. Heather is the author of Jewelry Designers from Nature, Beautiful Elements and the Beadmaking Lab.  

See more of Heather's work at www.humblebeads.com. 


Beki Haley

Beki Haley has been in love with beads for over 40 years now.  She was introduced to the amazing art form of seed bead weaving her Grandmother when she was a child.  That early start in exploring the intricacies and fine detail that can be attained with seed beads has stayed with Beki throughout her life.  Even as a young teen, Beki loved teaching others all the beautiful things that can be created with beads.  She has over 30 years of teaching experience in several different venues from large auditorium settings tointimate one-on-one classes.

Training as a classic silversmith at a young age gave Beki an appreciation and understanding of the art and beauty of jewelry design.  Beki uses those formal skills to teach the technical aspects of jewelry design.  In her classes, the students learn the importance of attention to detail and craftsmanship while exploring their natural creativity.  Her love and beads led Beki to opener own bead store, Out on A Whim, in 1986. With her husband, four children, several animals, and days filled with beads, Beki's life is complete. Visit Beki's site for more information: www.whimbeads.com

Mary Hettsmansperger


Mary Hettmansperger is a fiber and jewelry artist who has been exhibiting and teaching across the U.S. and abroad for 30 years. SOFA, Bead&Button Show, national and regional fiber conferences, basketry and beading conferences, art and craft schools, private guilds, galleries, and art shows are some of the venues to which she lends her instruction and art work.

Mary has authored and illustrated four books: “Fabulous Woven Jewelry,” “Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet,” “Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop” and “Heat, Color, Set and Fire.” Mary has also done several instructional DVDs (published by Interweave). Her art work and designs have been published in numerous books including “500 Baskets,” “Fiber Arts Design Book 7,” “The Gourd Book,” “Fabulous Found Object Jewelry,” “Teapots - Makers and Collectors,” “Beading with Crystals,” “Creative Beading Volume 2.” She does segments for the PBS programs “Beads, Baubles and Jewels” and “Quilting Arts,” and has had her work published in numerous magazines and publications.

To view more of Mary's work visit her website: www.maryhetts.com


Sherry Serafini

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Sherry was voted one of the top 10 instructors in the United States by Bead & Button magazine. She lectures and teaches throughout the world and has won numerous award for excellence in design, including Saul Bell Outstanding Jewelry Design Award; Bead International 2006; People’s Choice Bead Dreams; and Best in Show runner-up Bead Dreams.

Sherry has been published and written articles for several well-known magazines. Her work has been featured on the covers of trade magazines and catalogs and is the author of the newly released Inspired Bead Embroidery, Sensational Bead Embroidery and co-author of the “Art of Bead Embroidery” with artist and her dear friend Heidi Kummli.

Sherry’s beaded art is known internationally and is owned and worn by Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas.

Visit Sherry's website: www.serafinibeadedjewelry.com

Kinga Nichols


Kinga Nichols was born in 1980, in Hungary. At 19, she packed up her life in a backpack and moved to the US where she has been residing since, albeit not at the same place. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Paul Nichols and furbabies Samantha Regina Nichols and Karl Friedrich Barx. Samantha Regina is not only her muse but her model as well. Many of Kinga's best known pieces were popularized by the canine model.

One way or another Kinga has been always making things, which started turning into a career when she was painting murals at the time she lived in New York. The murals were fun, but  she did not feel like painting was her calling. Eventually she picked up a bead and Button magazine in 2007, found a bead embroidery project, and slowly but surely the obsession took over. 

After that first project, she started creating her own designs and quickly found her own distinctive voice that allowed her to translate her imaginings into beadwork. Kinga is always brainstorming, and her imagination provides an endless supply of fanciful ideas that she translates into bead embroidery. 

Her work first got noticed in the first Battle of the Beadsmith, quickly followed by her being a BeadDreams finalist in 2013 and getting 3rd place in the same competition in the Swarovski category in 2014, and a book feature in Marcia Decoster Presents, 2014. In 2015 she won first place in the crystal category in BeadDreams. She has done a number of instructional bead embroidery videos for Interweave publishing in 2016 and 2017, and has been featured in magazines in the US and Europe.

 In 2013 she started teaching and she hopes to continue this as her chosen profession for a long time to come, not only passing on beady knowledge, but perhaps her unique way of looking at the world as a magical place filled with endless possibilities.

Website crimsonfrogdesigns.blogspot.com

Marcia Balonis


Marcia has a lifelong passion for jewelry. As a young girl she remembers playing in her mothers jewelry box and fondling each treasure. That passion for wonderful trinkets led to beading as the outlet for her creative energies. She started making her own jewelry as a teenager during the ‘hippie’ years. She jokingly says that was more than 5 years ago. Later, on many trips with her mother, Marcia saw the possibility of a ‘bead’ in the environment.

Many of her fun designs using unusual found materials have been published in magazines and books. During her financial career, she traveled around the country for her job and often took art classes to relax. Marcia then began teaching at various venues including conventions, stores, and adult education centers. She found teaching beading much more rewarding than teaching accounting! In retirement, she has happily gone from being a “Bean Counter” in the financial world to counting beads.

She has been published numerous times in magazines in the United States including in Bead and Button and Europe including Perlen Poesie and Bead and Jewellery magazine. She has designed for Starman as one of the Trendsetters and for The Beadsmith as part of the Inspiration Squad. Here first book, Lush & Layered bead weaving, stitch jewelry with texture & dimension is published from Kalmbach.  

Now in Florida, she enjoys teaching beading at local bead stores, an occasional bead retreat somewhere in the United States, other regional or national conventions and of course the annual Bead and Button convention in Milwaukee, WI.

See more of her work at Baubles by Balonis

Cassandra Spicer


In February of 2013, Cassandra and her husband Christopher opened Beads to Live By in her hometown of Jackson, MI. Cassandra runs the day-to-day operations of the store as well as teaching, designing/writing her own patterns and other bead-ventures. She has been published in U.S. magazines such as Bead & Button and Beadwork, as well as internationally several times in Perlen Poesie. 
Her love for teaching and helping other people create beautiful things, along with 16+ years of experience in the industry, makes this her DREAM job! She is a 2 year alumni of the Starman TrendSetters Design Team and is currently a contributing designer for Beads to Give By. 

Website: Beadstoliveby.com