Melanie "The Bead Empress" Bentley established her commonwealth of creativity after years teaching aspiring artists how to work with metal clays. Within her 3,000-square-foot embellishment emporium, Murano glass from Italy, hill tribe silver from Thailand, and Swarovski crystals fill shelves from floor to ceiling. Polymer clays, sterling silver, stringing materials, and Czech fancy glass that Melanie handpicked on a recent trip to the Czech Republic round out the store's stock and arm patrons with the materials necessary to line their family's treasure chest.
But Melanie goes beyond filling the supply boxes of local jewelry makers. She also aims to expand the crafting community by welcoming beading newcomers and showing those who don't believe in their creativity that there's an artisan inside everyone. Along with her fellow specialized jewelrysmiths, Melanie leads more than 45 classes per quarter, providing her customers with a means of acquiring jewelry that’s guaranteed to be free of curses.