Cristi and I have returned from our trip to Las Vegas, where we attended the 2012 Trollbeads Conference and Academy. This extraordinary event is a time for the international “family” of Trollbeads to gather and exchange ideas and information. We heard the latest Trollbeads ideas and news, learned more about the history of Trollbeads, got to know some of our fellow retailers from around the world, and were honoured to meet our hosts – the family and artists who created the designs we love so well.
Lise Aagaard, Cristi, Cathy & Peter Aagaard
We were very interested to hear the idea of the “Family of Trollbeads” repeated throughout the event. It seems that something special is happening when ladies gather to play with Trollbeads’ tiny treasures – not only at Tartooful, but at little family owned galleries around the world. This was not a sales conference… it was a love-in, where the call to action was to play, create, love and enjoy! They were preaching to the converted.
Cathy & Cristi meet Soren Nielsen, Trollbeads designer and silversmith.
Perhaps it is our particular passion for art and design, but we found the insights into the creative and technical processes to be especially interesting. It was wonderful to be able to meet and speak with the various family members, and to watch and listen as Soren, Lise, Isabel and Nicolas worked on silver and glass beads. (There’s so much to tell, I’ll share more about the studio demonstration in a separate post…)
Cristi played up the drama of her necklace for the Gala Dinner
Of course, the question we have heard most since we have returned is: “yes, but tell us about the beads!”… “what were the Trollies wearing?” “What did Trollbeads show?” …And most importantly, “did we bring anything home?!”
Well… the Trollies wore amazing collections, displayed with great creativity. If I learned anything from seeing all the Trollbeads finery, it was to wear the beads fearlessly and with originality. String together multiple leather bracelets to create a long, boho-chic necklace… Wear multiples of one silver bead such as “Frames” for graphic punch… and wear what you truly love. Witness Lise’s necklace, shown above, which contains so many uniques – both silver and glass. She wore the same composition throughout the day and evening, and it’s clearly her highly personal collection. Wouldn’t it be fun to sit down quietly with a glass of tea (or wine!) to hear the stories of these beads?
The Trollbeads designed displays were also very inspiring… they showed beads used in ways that we don’t usually imagine – such as these two “Black Spinel”, suspended on a necklace with simple silver stoppers…
They also used beads extensively that we often overlook. For example, “Snowflake Obsidian” was used repeatedly, in this necklace, in their “Urban Jungle” bracelet design and in many other compositions. Oddly I had just ordered one in for Tartooful – and it’s already gone! Must order this design more often!
I loved this necklace composition that features some of my favorite colours, cinnamon and raspberry pink – blended with the luxury of warm gold. Once again, the designer has repeated the “Gold Endless” and “Mini Heart” for drama – and has used the tiny heart design in a way that I never imagined. Wonderful.
With such a rainbow of colour in the Trollbeads collection, it’s easy to overlook the soft natural tones. However, this lovely and very wearable bracelet in chocolate brown is an excellent reminder of how satisfying the neutral palette can be.
In an exciting announcement, Trollbeads introduced a new self sustaining community project that began recently in Malawi. Similar to the Tibetan project, this endeavor provides training, supplies and equipment to local artisans, as well as a market for their products going forward. The Malawi beads are absolutely gorgeous glass uniques with a particularly African flair… and are going to be favorites with the Tartooful ladies. We have a very special preview of the beads at Tartooful – come pay them a visit!
Finally, the Aagaard – Nielsen family very generously gave a special gift to each person attending the gala dinner: a never before seen silver Trollbead! Appropriate to the locale, it’s a tiny deck of cards that was designed long ago by their father, Svend, but it was never introduced to the collection. Lise came across a prototype after he passed away and they decided to include the design in the Autumn 2012 collection. Aren’t we lucky to have heard the tender story behind the bead from Lise herself? Those of us who have had to say goodbye to a parent can relate, I think, to the painful yet universal experience of having to sort through the possessions of their loved one, and find fitting homes and uses for all their beloved objects. What a lovely way to honour their Father and his work…
There is too much to tell all at once, and this post is already so long… You’ll just have to stay tuned to hear the rest – or better still, come visit us and hear all the juicy details in person!