Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Memories of Tucson

Cyndie and I in our booth at the Best Bead Show in Tucson last week.

I'm just coming back down to Earth after a whirlwind week at the Best Bead Show in Tucson. When I last wrote my internet friend Cyndie was about to arrive and we were to meet for the first time. After final preparations at my house, we headed off into the Arizona desert with our most recent glass bead and jewelry creations. It was a whole lotta new wrapped up into one exciting but exhausting package, and I'm sure that all of it is going to be swimming around in my head for a long time.

The day after Cyndie arrived I thought it would be fun for us to head up the coast to have lunch in Davenport and meet up with Nancy Wilder (another local Etsy artist) who had contacted me about a trade. Her fleece and felted wraps and scarves are TDF, and she had her eye on some of our jewelry. So, after lunch we had a literal trunk show in the restaurant parking lot, trying on wraps and jewelry and generally drooling over each others' work. It's safe to say that four women went home feeling pretty good about what they wound up with.

What was it like to finally meet each other in person? Well, it was fun. There were things we knew about each other already from our writing, and things we did not, and the long drive to Tucson let us cover a lot of territory. I'm even more impressed with Cyndie's No Fear approach to metalsmithing and jewelry in general, and really, really excited about our next project.

Highlights of our trip included a stop at a flea market just outside Quartzite, meeting and joking around with our booth neighbor Kevin O'Grady, seeing the hordes of shoppers descend on the Kino Community Center on opening morning, the party at Kate McKinnon's house where we met some very interesting beady peeps, the Beads of Courage party, the BBS Karaoke party (John even wrote a song for the occasion), and "discovering" David Orr, a wonderful jewelry photographer who was onsite to take photos of the exhibitors' work. Unfortunately we were too wiped out to make it to the Flameoff, but we will next time. We were thrilled to learn the next day that the bead maker team (girls rule!) won.

It was a challenging schedule with the show opening at 10 each day (we arrived usually by 9 to put out our wares), and going until 8pm (first day) or 6pm, and social events nearly every evening. It's on your feet, in the elements (we chose an outdoor booth), in "on" mode for 5 days and I tell you, it's exhausting but incredibly stimulating. Despite the exposure factor, I think I prefer the fresh air and adventure aspect of the outdoor booths. If we could just convince John to have a live band out there we'd have a party! Each of us made some great contacts for future work, and we had time to brainstorm our design for the Convergence II exhibit. It was a week of "firsts" for us - Cyndie's first show, my first time doing the Best Bead Show, first time meeting each other in person, first road trip together. Wow. My brain is full.

Here's some photo highlights from the trip. If you'd like to see a funny video clip from karaoke night, click here. I regret that I didn't get my picture taken with Mona of the Gaffer Girls, who was incredibly sweet and fun to meet.

Several of the show days were cold and rainy. Thank goodness for long underwear and propane.

Miriam (another booth neighbor) and Cyndie.

New focals.

I can't believe that I was recruited AGAIN to sing Love Shack on karaoke night.
By a woman I don't even know! I'm the blurry one in the background.
Thank you Cyndie for capturing this special moment for me!

Our booth neighbors, Kevin and Linda O'Grady. I don't know who the chick is with the heavy eye makeup.
He-LLO! Is that your best daytime look, girl?
Kevin's borosilicate bracelets will amaze you, and as a show veteran, his advice on how to
keep a canopy from flying away in the wind is to be trusted. Linda is just plain sweet and fun.

Joyce Rooks in her booth. I had the best time talking to Joyce at Kate McKinnon's party.
She is a lovely woman of many talents.

Patty and Jean Baruch,the national Beads of Courage Coordinator. She hosted a lovely "Reception of
Gratitude" for beadmakers who have helped out with BOC.
She's a sweetheart and a force, all wrapped up into the cutest package!

Can you believe this was taken with an iPhone as we were passing them
(it's a photo booth vendor from a fair, I'm guessing) on I-10 on our way home?


mairedodd said...

what an experience for sure! i hope you made some great contacts... and that lots of people got to appreciate and take home your beautiful work... total non sequitur - i love cyndie's sweater!!

rosebud101 said...

Patty, it looks like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

Patty said...

Thank you, ladies! It was amazing, and it's going to take me a long time to recover, I'm afraid. So many ideas...

Isn't her sweater great? I was drooling over all the artsy things she brought to wear. We actually had a literal "trunk show" with another Etsy artist the day after Cyndie arrived, and bought some of the gorgeous wraps we wore at the show. I'll edit the post to include it, but she's NancyWilder on Etsy. Amazing felted wraps and stuff, and we LOVED meeting her to trade. She and her friend got lots of Cyndie's great jewelry, a few pieces of mine, and we made sure we would look stylin' and be warm in Tucson. :-) said...

great pic's Patty...
we loved meeting you toooo..
mona & the girls

Deb said...

Patty - it sounds as if you had a blast from the second that Cyndie arrived until the moment you left Tucson! How wonderful.
I recall your disappointment when the last meeting didn't work out & I'm so thrilled that the two of you finally got together :)

"New Focals" - talk abut understatement of the year. It should be "Outrageously Scrumptious Focals". They are fabulous.

You were next to Kevin O'Grady. Oh my!! I am so envious - you have no idea how long I have wanted to see one of his tide pool bracelets in reality. I'll bet all of his work is stunning.

Mermaid Glass said...

Patty, it sounds like you had an absolute blast with all of your 'firsts'. Busy, busy, busy, though. I was thinking of partnering up with someone and going next year, but I'm not sure I could keep up!

BTW, your new focals are gorgeous. They look so big and fabulous.

Patty said...

Deb, it was a total joyride, but the one big thing missing was YOU! It was so fun to meet Mona (what a SWEETHEART!!), and had you been there it would have felt more complete.

Yes, I think there was a lot of drooling going on in Kevin's booth. His work is very impressive, for sure, including the silver clasps on his bangle bracelets which he designed and casted himself. I guess that you'll just have to plan to do the show next year so your eyes can feast upon it all. I know a bunch of people who'd be whooping for joy at that news!

Patty said...

Laurie, yes, there was barely a moment to rest, but it was that "good kinda tired" feeling.

Yes, the new focals are B-I-G. You know why? My oxycon went belly up just before the show (clearly when I was still making more beads!), and I switched to tanked O2. Right about then the beads just started getting bigger, and bigger...without me hardly noticing it until they were out of the kiln the next day. Hmmmm.

Hope to meet you one day at a show... The Gathering, maybe?

JenSan Candles said...

It looks like you and Cyndie had a great time. Thanks for sharing.

Kate said...

Looks like you had so much fun, despite the weather! I'm so happy for you that you had so many great connections and experiences to take away home with you, that is what will last and is the best of all!



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