Meet Your Board

2020 Board of Directors

The Board of the San Diego Bead Society meets at least six times a year to provide direction for the programs and activities of the Society.  The 2019 Board members are:

Susan Blessinger – President
Orly Garrett – Secretary
Raenell Transue – Treasurer
Donna Cousins – VP of Membership
Michele Lane – VP of Programs
Amy Butzen – Webmistress
Priya Wong and DeeAnn Chenn – Historian
Ellen Kindsvater – Librarian
Ellen Kroll – Parliamentarian


President (elected position) — Susan Blessinger

I have been enjoying beadweaving and wire working for about 25 years. My style has evolved to showcasing unusual objects that I find on the beach, or in other people’s discards and bead sales. I like to combine old and new, and I’m fascinated with color and texture.  As Class Coordinator, I invite you to take a class with our fabulous line up of teachers, try something new, improve your skills, and enjoy creating with like-minded artists.


Secretary (elected position) — Orly Garrett

I retired from a defense contractor in 2016 after many years in supply chain management. Originally New Yorkers, we moved to CA. in 2005, after concluding that shoveling snow was no longer an acceptable way of life.  I discovered bead working when I spotted a beaded necklace at a street fair and I thought, I could do that. And I did!  I enjoy doing flatwork with seed beads, both looming and free hand.  In 2017, I invented and patented OGees Seed Beading Design Board  as an alternative to grid paper and software to create designs. I’m happy to be a new board member and look forward to meeting fellow beaders.


Treasurer (elected position) — Raenell Transue

I began beading more than ten years ago.  I had purchased a simple necklace made of rice pearls in Moro Bay for about $12 and wanted to replicate the necklace in white pearls and onyx.  My first venture to a bead store was in Julian where I found the faceted onyx and pearls, much more of an investment than the $12 necklace, I was hooked and the rest is history!  I enjoy visiting bead stores and have beading buddies in San Diego, Newbury Park, Huntington Beach, Las Vegas, Danville, and Albuquerque.  I have met many wonderful and knowledgeable beaders and have had the opportunity to take classes from many exceptional designers and teachers, several of whom I have taken classes offered by SDBS.  We are fortunate to have this organization in San Diego and the opportunity to take classes every year with a number of the outstanding bead artists from throughout the US as well as the occasional teacher from abroad.


Vice President/Membership (elected position) — Donna Cousins


Vice President/Programs (elected position) — Michele Lane


Webmistress — Amy Butzen

I started beading over 10+ years ago, and haven’t stopped since. I love to learn new stitches and push my skills as far as I can.  I am a Soutache and beading Instructor at the Bead Cellar in San Diego. I love to create my own patterns in soutache and share those with my students that I have accumulated over the past 3 years of teaching. The greatest joy I get from beading, has been the friendships. I have met some incredibly gifted and interesting women and cherish the times we get together, bead, laugh and share stories.


Historian — Priya Wong and DeeAnn Chenn


Librarian — Ellen Kindsvater

Designing and making things is an important part of my life.   I especially like to work with seed beads, other small beads and wire. I’m also a machine knitter. I was a librarian before my husband and I retired and moved to Oceanside from the Victor Valley twelve years ago. Buying new books is fun!


Parliamentarian — Ellen Kroll

When I retired, we were going back and forth between New York and San Diego.  I started beading in 2001 when I took a course in Introductory Beading through the Craft Student League in Manhattan, and then took more courses whenever we were in New York. In San Diego, the Bead Society has been a wonderful way to learn more about all kinds of beading (micromacrame, soutache, embroidery, wirework) and to expand my craftsmanship in working with seed beads.   The best part has been meeting, working with, and getting to know other beaders.


Special Events — Viola Sullivan