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From Our Editors
In 1986, Nancy Criswell set up her full-service bead store on the second floor of the historic Olney House in Olney, Maryland. At the time, she had little idea that the niche craft would soon explode in popularity, but after the meteoric growth of beading and the increasing number of local businesses willing to accept shiny baubles as payment, Criswell was able to expand her business to its present location—a 9,000-square-foot showroom in Rockville stuffed with over 18,000 different varieties of beads. There, the walls glisten with corrugated and smooth 14-karat gold spheroids, beads of sterling silver, and plenty of wire, findings, tools, and pliers to string them all together. Regular classes from nationally recognized teachers such as Stephanie Everett and Jessie Stern help students turn their hobby into an art form with instruction in topics ranging from chain mail and bead stitching to wirework.