Have you experienced the exhilaration of visiting Tucson during February yet? Are you planning a trip to the gem show and wondering how you'll survive? It's more than an escape to the desert sun (in fact it can be quite cold there sometimes), and if you're at all a fan of beads, gemstones, pearls, jewelry, jewelry making supplies, meteorites (yes), or people watching, you should check it out because you won't find a greater assemblage of vendors anywhere else. The Tucson Show Guide will tell you where and when every single show is, and will help you plan your time. If you're not sure what to bring or how to schedule your time, check out this great survival guide so you don't melt into a puddle of overwhelm on your first day there. Or maybe this guide.
There are classes and workshops too, and you could learn some new designs and techniques from the best instructors and makers in the business, the ones you see in the magazines all the time. My friend Terry Henry is offering a sweet wire wrapped floral lampwork necklace class and here is the class info. The amazing Susan Lenart Kazmer is teaching at To Bead True Blue, as is Lisa Pavelka, Christi Friesen, and Anne Mitchell. JC Herrell is teaching her incredible stringer control techniques at the Sonoran Glass Academy on Feb 9. Kate McKinnon is launching a new book on Contemporary Geometric Beadwork and also having a photo shoot with the one and only Kyle Cassidy. And if you'd like to learn some tips and tricks about how to photograph your own artwork, Doug Baldwin is teaching at the Tucson Bead Show as well and still has some seats left.
Some refer to it as the Tucson Gem Show, but in reality there are independent shows at nearly every hotel, and every parking lot, with pop up tents in vacant lots and a wide range of offerings. They go for weeks, and some planning is required to ensure that you are there when the shows offering your favorite items (e.g. tools, beads, minerals) are in swing. Some make a point of being there on the first day that a show opens, to ensure that they have the best choice from vendors. I can certainly tell you that Day 1 of my shows there has been the biggest by far, so if there's an Absolute Must Have on your list you should plan to hit that show on the day it opens.
This year I am not exhibiting at the Best Bead Show (contrary to what their outdated website says) - I'm doing a brand new all glass art and bead show called the Tucson Glass Art & Bead Festival, where you'll find nothing but amazing glass creations from some of the best glass makers on the planet. The Japanese glass art alone will blow. Your. Mind. I will offer both beads and finished jewelry at this show. It's at the Quality Inn and Suites, and goes from Tuesday, Feb 3 through Saturday, Feb 7, and I'll be there in the Palo Verde Room (the "ballroom") at table B-6, just inside the front door. Check the show website for more info. The Tucson Glass Art & Bead Festival also has their own shuttle bus route and it goes between the Quality Inn (where this new show is), Kino Sports Complex (where the Best Bead Show is), J.O.G.S. Tucson, and the Tucson airport, and it goes several times an hour. Here is the link to the show guide containing all of the shuttle bus info.
Please come and visit me at my new show! Here is the exhibitor list:
Lori Engle / Heiden & Engle
Monty Clark & Carol Fonda-Clark / Dichroic Inc.
Jeff Rogers / Rogers Art Glass
Darryl Emmett / Blast Shield Tools
Donna Felkner / CG Beads
Doug Harroun / Greymatter Glass
Donna Conklin / Prima Donna Beads
JeriLyn Alderman / Firechilde Glass Studio
Margaret Zinser / MZ Glass & Bijoux Bee
Jo Hoffacker / Dogmaw Glass
Susan P. Hanson
(+ about 20 amazing Japanese artists work who cannot attend in person!)
Lewis Wilson / Crystal Myths
Marcia Kmack/Cavecreek Glassworks