I had the best time in Tucson! Saw tons of beady peeps, and enjoyed the sights. Thanks to the nav system in my rental car, I was able to safely find my way while driving alone to the shows scattered about town. It really saved me some mental effort and frustration. Here are some of my favorite moments:
- A stimulating conversation with Milon Townsend, who helped me think about my last name in a brand new way.
- I met the charming Andrew Thornton, who was chatting up the visitors to the Green Girl Studios booth.
- I had a lovely chat with Kate McKinnon about her exciting new designs, and her experiences with the new bronze clay.
- I was thrilled to meet Lori Greenberg and see her work in person. She has given a tremendous amount of herself to the beading community, and her beads were spectacular.
- I got a ton of helpful advice from Toni Lutman about showing in Tucson, and was wowed by some of her incredibly well-displayed work.
- I met Judy Carlson from JuJee Beads and had a wonderful chat about our positive experiences with the Convergence Exhibition.
- I was honored to meet Jeff Barber and hear what it was like to make 200 commemorative beads for the Bead and Button's 15th Anniversary.
- Gail Crosman Moore's work just knocked my socks off. I wish I had been able to talk with her, but she was engaged with a customer when I was there.
I hit the Whole Bead Show, the Best Bead Show, and Rio Grande's Catalog In Motion all in one day, and was pooped after that. I was appreciative for a chance to talk to the guy at the Swanstrom booth about my damaged flush cutters, but overall there wasn't much at CIM that I could relate to, not being a traditional jeweler or metalsmith. I was fighting a cold and a couple of blisters, so it was good to get back to the hotel and crash.
The next day I had only about 4 hours to spend before driving back up to Phoenix for my flight home, so I wandered around the Gem and Jewelry exchange downtown. I'm sure I had that deer in the headlights look, but who wouldn't with booth after booth after booth of cut gemstones and exotic pearls? I couldn't tell one from another. I did, however, find an amazing vendor named Gary Wilson, who had the most beautiful and amazing gemstone cabachons I've ever seen. I'm certain I left drool on his counter.
While I use (and bought) some of the items these vendors were selling in my finished jewelry pieces, I can only take a few hours at a time of that stuff before I'm toast and have to seek out some visual relief. Fortunately after leaving the show I found a nice little urban park downtown that had just what my eyes needed, and I got some lasting photographic memories of Tucson to boot.
The icing on the cake was this sunset from the flight home. See you next year, Tucson.