For three-plus days I toured the jewelry show of the year, Tucson Gem, Mineral, Jewelry, Bead and Fossil Shows 2012. What an incredible experience and fabulous opportunity.
I walked the aisles of The Best Bead Show Wednesday night and felt overwhelmed. Beads, colors, vendors, fibers, finishings all flooded my senses, numbing me to possibilities. I couldn’t think clearly. How would I ever make my selections?
Later that night, I thought about my real reason for attending the Tucson shows: my love of beads and my desire to present beautiful creations at affordable prices to my customers. I studied the show catalogs and mapped out a plan.
With a new sense of purpose and calmness, I chose to first visit the African Art Village on Thursday. I wandered through tent after tent, fingering beads, talking with shopkeepers, making selections: cherished strings of black and bone, Ghanian glass in unusual golds and green and, of course, trade beads. My stash of ethnic themed beads grew accordingly.
Throughout my time in Tucson, a cloudless sky and crisp temperature amplified the sights and sounds. My daily pattern was the same: I pulled my wheelie behind me and lost myself in bead paradise: from the Howard Johnson Gem & Mineral Show to Doubletree Reid Park and To Bead True Blue, from The Whole Bead Show to the Tucson Bead Show and more, more, more.
Did I see it all? No way.
Sometimes I’d walk the perimeter and then decide where to shop. In one pavilion a woman commented that she’d seen me three or four times that day. We chatted. I ended up buying several pearl strands from her: black pearls, faceted pearls with incredible luminescence, khaki pearls, coin pearls, side drilled pearls …well, you get the idea.
The beads were spectacular but the people were amazing.
I talked for some time with a shop owner who was closing out her tribal jewelry. I longed for, no, I ached for her ancient Mayan green turquoise prayer beads. Reluctantly, I decided my budget couldn’t accommodate them. I liked her though and resonated with her taste in glass beads. (I bought several strands from her.)
At the Whole Bead Show I took a picture of Judi from Judipatuti with her happy bead tote. Judi engaged everyone who glanced at her booth. I suspect she had a most successful show because she, like all successful people, just oozed her passion.
Over and over again I was drawn to ethnic booths where I conversed about the history, the values, the quality and the future of charms and gemstones from around the world.
Yesterday I fingered every purchase. I thought fondly of the joy in looking for the perfect items and negotiating the best deal. I made notes on the business cards. I sketched a couple of designs with a silent promise to get to them within the week. In short, I worshipped at my church of beads.
I also answered my own question about how do you shop for your passion.
My passion is beads. I bought what I loved. I love what I bought.
I can’t wait to present my Spring collection, the result of Tucson 2012.
Needless to say, Tucson 2013 is already on my calendar. How about you?