Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tucson in my rear view mirror

While it's been almost a week since returning from The Best Bead Show in Tucson, the memories are still warm and fresh.  It's always so much fun, and such an adventure, and I'm grateful to have a wonderful friend who likes to make the trip with me.  We are also tremendously grateful to be able to stay with good friends there, whose kind hospitality seems to know no end.  Somehow, waking up there I almost feel like I'm home.  Could I have some long lost ties to the desert I'm not aware of?

This year's trip was extra special.  A local glass bead friend and I teamed together to enter the Sonoran Glass School's annual Flame Off - a fundraiser where glass artists compete to make something fabulous in under 2 hours, and the pieces get auctioned off the next day for the school.  Ever since I first attended one of these I've been itching to somehow be a part of it, terrifying as it was, so I decided to go for it (since this is apparently the year where I'm actively pushing myself toward many of my fears).  It turned out fine and Joy Munshower was an extraordinary team mate for Team Firefly.  She's always done such incredible work, and as soon as I saw her new African series I wanted us to do something in that realm.  She came through in a big way with an impeccable elephant focal, and even had time at the end to put a sweet little bee on my last bead.  If you want to see the work produced by the artists in this year's Flame Off, here is a link to their online bidding album on Facebook

Here's the piece we made.  Beads were made during the Flame Off, and the next day we sandblasted them and assembled the necklace.   

The lovely Kate Drew-Wilkinson.  I loved chatting with her at the Flame Off.

Here's a view of the tent set up at the glass school, during the individual competition.  That's Harold Cooney on the end, making a sweet little footed bowl.

Harold Cooney from the American Trade Bead company, working his magic during the individual competition.  Spectators could stroll around or sit in the bleachers.  Food trucks, wine and beer were also on site for the event, along with big screens showing video from the cameras, and MCs Margaret Zinser and Rashan Jones.
Here we are, just getting started.
The work at the Best Bead Show this year was amazing as well, and I loved visiting my friends and seeing their latest.  I took the biggest crop of acorns ever, and many found new homes there.  It was so much fun to see everyone again, and delightful that I got to chat with a trifecta of Kates!  Regrettably I did not get a photo with Kate Fowle Meleney, but I enjoyed chatting with her about electroforming and I'll not miss that photo op again.  Here's one of 7 acorns that I added to my Etsy shop today.

New acorn pendants in my Etsy shop.

Jari Sheese and her prodigious work.  She brought THOUSANDS of beads to the show, and each was exquisite.

The lovely Bernadette Fuentes was one of my neighbors.  Her murrine are tiny works of art.
Saturday night was the Bead Inspired fundraiser for Beads of Courage, and Jean Baruch and her dedicated team just keeps getting better and better at what they do.  It was a touching, well-organized event on a warm Tucson evening, and I was honored to be inducted into their Bead Hall of Fame for people who help the BOC mission, along with several other outstanding artists.  I've been honored to do what I can to assist Jean in her mission to help children and their families as they struggle with overwhelming health challenges.  She inspires me enormously.

I am deeply grateful for my good friend Heidi, who is the best booth helper Ever!    
I'm so glad we took the Phoenix bypass so we could go through Gila Bend!
So now it's back to the grind, and my mission right now is to unpack (yes, sadly I have not completely done that yet), get my studio back in order, and get some more work listed on Etsy. 


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