Studio Musings

Monday, September 25, 2017

Then End of An Era - Saying Goodbye to Fusion Bead's Seattle Store

After hours at Fusion Beads
Times, they are a'changing; last month I learned that Fusion Beads would be closing their Seattle store.   The end is almost here now; their final day will be this Saturday, September 30th. 

Talking with Mari, the founder and owner of Fusion Beads, it sounds like more and more customers, including locals, are simply shopping online, rather than visiting the store.  (The online store is going strong).

I remember discovering Fusion Beads soon after moving to Seattle in 2001.  I was simply a hobbyist beader at that point, and I'd never seen anything like it.  The colors, the beads, the possibilities.  I took my first ever 'beading' class there, on beginner wire wrapping.  I still have the bracelet I made in that class. 

Somewhere along the way, I began teaching for them - freeform peyote, my random right angle weave lacework cuffs, snowflakes, and every sort of fish design I came up with - in their fabulous classrooms.  I'm not even sure quite when I started, maybe 2011, maybe a little earlier?  I know that it's been at least five years, and that it's been a huge part of my life and my social community during that time.  As well as an amazing source for inspiration, and beads (did I mention beads?)

I stopped by Saturday and snapped a bunch of pictures, after the store closed for the day, which is why there are no people in my photos.   Because it's busy when it's open; everything in the store is half off, with deeper discounts for some items.  The walls are looking a little bare, but there's still so many amazing things, so much inspiration.  So many amazing, talented women working there.

Clearance items (last ofs) for 75% in these cardboard bins

still lots of beads hiding in their little white cubbies

Need any size 15s?  Still plenty of those left as of Saturday night!
I have to say that from my perspective, Mari has really been handling the closing process with class.  A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Trish, the store manager, offering all of their instructors first crack at the classroom tools and supplies before they went on sale for the general public.  I don't do a lot of metal working, but when I do I kind of make do in terms of tools.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity -  I now have a real set of metal working tools. 

My new-to-me tools!
But one of the coolest things Mari did was move their anniversary party up a little bit so that the store staff could participate, and included all of the instructors in the invitation list for a sunset cruise along Lake Union and Lake Washington.  Once last chance to glam up and hang out with the gang.

Sunset over the arboretum
A peak-a-boo view of Mt. Rainier from Lake Washington
Downtown Seattle from Lake Union - my camera had a little trouble with this night shot

a photo with our 'captain' while waiting to set sail
 Thank you Mari, for creating the go-to place in Seattle for beads, for encouraging me to experiment and grow as an artist in the medium, for so many wonderful memories.  I will definitely be visiting you online!

Do you have favorite memories of the Seattle store, or a class there?  If yes, please share below - I'd love to hear! 


  1. so sad to see a local bead shop close - there is a sense of community to them! I wish my LBS had more of that as they won't take on instructors who don't work full time in the shop. I would show up just to bead with other local beaders, but that just isn't what they have going on in their store.

  2. Fusion Beads' Seattle store was definitely focal point for the local beading community!

  3. This is sad ~ we had four bead shops within a 45 minute radius and they all closed within 18 months of each other. I'd rather shop in person than on line. That community atmosphere is something to cherish and it will be missed. All the people who were fortunate enough to take your classes will certainly miss it.

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