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Meet our Staff


Julia Gerlach

Few things are as satisfying to me as making something I like with my own hands, the key phrase being something I like. I’ve dabbled in a number of crafts over the years, including embroidery, crochet, sewing, and paper crafts, but it wasn’t until I took up beading in 2002 that I began to find real satisfaction in my pursuits. Perhaps it’s because I have a fondness for very small things, as my mother insists, or maybe it’s because beadwork is so versatile and  forgiving. If I don’t like my pattern or design, I can just tear it out and I haven’t destroyed anything but a bit of thread! (I mourn the yards of fabric that have met an untimely end at my hands.) 

So, I’m delighted to be able to work with beads every day, heading up the talented team of designers and editors bringing you Bead&Button and I’ve been working on the magazine since 2005 in various capacities, and enjoy it all, especially working with the creative and spirited Bead&Button contributors and readers. 

I have a BA in music and philosophy from Milwaukee’s own Alverno College (where I learned to graciously accept that I was not going to be the next Itzhak Perlman). Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, reading, doing crossword puzzles, and gardening.

Connie Whittaker

Associate Editor
I had a passion for beads when I started working for a bead store in 2009. That passion quickly grew into an obsession! I couldn't wait to go home and create something with the beads I'd been handling all day. I soon began teaching and writing instructions for my classes. With my background in illustration, writing instructions let me combine my love of beading and drawing into one. Now, being on the Bead&Button team, I'm able to do the things I love, all day!

When I'm not at work, I'm visiting family or home with my husband and daughter. I continue to teach and any extra time is usually spent creating new designs. I am also a member of the Loose Bead Society of Greater Milwaukee and enjoy being involved in the beading community.

Cassie Donlen

Associate Editor

My discovery of the beading world followed an interesting journey. I come from a deeply creative family and have always loved the arts but practicality led me into the business world where I worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative. When our first of three boys was born, I quit work to be a stay at home mom and my creative drive kicked into full gear. I found myself involved in several crafts such as stained glass, wedding photography, knitting, floral arranging, quilting, scrapbooking, and stenciling large murals. I guess you could say I couldn’t stay put or focused on one endeavor as I found pleasure in all of them.


Then by sheer chance, I stumbled into the world of lampworking and jewelry making. My sole motivation was seeing a lampwork bead ring that a friend of mine was wearing.  I loved it. I wanted it. When I asked her the price, I was like “No Way! My husband won’t let me blow that much money on a ring.” So I determinedly decided to learn how to make glass beads so I could make my own ring. (He should’ve let me buy the ring, as it would’ve been way cheaper in the long run!). That was over 13 years ago, and I can honestly say that I have discovered my true passion. Every other crafty endeavor was replaced by all things bead related. I officially started calling myself an artist. As my experience grew, I also adopted the titles of lampworker, jewelry designer, metalsmith, teacher, author, and now associate editor. I am excited to say I am doing exactly what I love, and being part of the Bead&Button team is a dream come true.


Lora Groszkiewicz

Editorial Assistant
I joined Bead&Button in November of 2000. My job started at 25 hours a week but quickly increased as the magazine and the Bead&Button Show grew. I like to think of myself as the hub of the office, taking care of all the phone calls and e-mails we receive. I also log in article proposals and send out contracts.

My favorite part of the job is handling Bead Dreams. Seeing photos of pieces created by artists from all over the world is one thing, but I am in total awe when I actually get to see and touch the pieces in person.

Lisa Bergman

Senior Art Director

“Wow! That is so cool!” This is usually my response when the Bead&Button editors give me the jewelry pieces for each issue. Occasionally it is followed by the comment “You could make that.” I'm mostly a stringer but the projects in Bead&Button definitely inspire me and I keep thinking that eventually I'll graduate from stringing to stitching.

I began my career here at Kalmbach working on titles other than Bead&Button, but as the years transpired, I got my chance. Nearly 10 years later, I’m still enjoying every issue that I get to design. Seeing and touching the beautiful pieces going into each magazine is the best part of the process for me. That, along with receiving the printed issue, which is always a little scary too. After designing magazines for 23 years, you’d think I wouldn’t be so anxious.

My hobby heart is in home decor. I like everything from redesigning an entire room to a simple weekend DIY project. And I love color. Color is tricky and color choices are subjective. But without color, the world would be an awfully boring place! 

I also enjoy anything outdoors with my daughter, from camping to boating to baseball games and even snow and cold. Yes, I just said snow and cold. I grew up in Wisconsin and I’m still here. The change of seasons does a heart good.

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Editor's Pick

Daring Daggers

Earn points for style and flair with this clever design that incorporates dagger beads in a flat peyote stitch foundation.  Designed by Marcia Rose.