About Us

Raven's Journey is a wholesale distributor of unique glass beads and buttons from the artisans of the Czech Republic


The story of Raven's Journey is really the story of our owner Lenka Bindzar.  The fall of communism changed things for everyone in the Czech Republic.  For Lenka it opened the door to travel and the wind blew her wayward seed all the way from Czech to a tiny island a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA., where she made beeswax candles for sale locally.

Out of supplies for her small beeswax candle business Lenka wandered into a craft store.  After picking up what she needed for candle making she browsed the bead section looking for some interesting decoration for her new puppy's collar.  She was delighted to find a vast selection of beautiful glass beads that were all from Czech!  She talked with the store owner for a while and learned that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find unique high-quality Czech glass beads and if she could find some he would happily take them off her hands.  A customer was earned, and an idea was born.

On her next trip home to visit family Lenka traveled to the mountains north of Prague to the center of the Czech glass industry.  It was in the Fall of 1998.  She managed to pick up some leftover beads and sample cards but couldn't locate anyone who was willing to supply a new business.  Not to be discouraged she decided to drive through the region one last time.

When they say that Czech glass beads are a cottage industry they mean it literally.  Czech bead pressers have a unique feature to their homes, two chimneys.  One for heating the house and one for melting raw glass to be pressed into beads.  Lenka spotted one such house on the very outskirts of Jablonec overlooking a peaceful mountain valley filled with grass and sheep.  The gravel driveway sparkled with the color of countless tiny pieces of discarded glass.  An endearing older couple answered the door and invited her in.  They were the second generation to run a small family owned bead pressing company out of that house.  They supplied Raven's Journey with our first custom inventory and we still work with them all these years later.  We hope to work with the next generation to come!

The first few years Lenka bought what was offered to her as a direct importer.  The glass was beautiful, and her customers were happy, but she was always a little dissatisfied with the beads that were readily available.  She dreamt of a time when she could combine the raw glass colors and available finishes in a more modern and elegant way.  She wanted a unique style of Czech glass beads.

After 20 years and many trips back to those same Czech mountains we have developed relationships with industry artisans that allow us to affect every detail of the production of our glass beads and buttons.  Recently this has extended to the design of custom contemporary molds for pressing beads.  In this way we hope to offer our own humble addition to the history of Czech glass bead making.

Working with artisans in Czech to make the highest quality glass beads and buttons possible is a passion for us here at Raven's Journey.  Our 20-year commitment to working with small suppliers gives us the flexibility to innovate and bring unique and beautiful products to market.

Lenka in action

Lenka surrounded by glass canes for inspiration while designing beads