This was my fourth time to visit Tucson for the bead shows and this year was an especially fast trip. There are over 45 "shows" or venues at locations across the city. My first visit was in 2010 and I spent hours pouring over online information, watching YouTube tutorials and planning the venues I would visit. And that is really the best approach. Give yourself at least one visit just to get oriented and see what all the fuss is about. Better yet, adopt a buddy who has been there before and will show you the ropes. That way, you can decide if it is your cup of tea and can be more targeted in planning future visits.
It's very easy to get overwhelmed. Here we see just one venue at the Kino Sports Complex where tent upon tent holds an abundance of materials.
Some less well organized than others. Buffalo teeth, anyone?
One of my must-do venues is To Bead True Blue held at the Doubletree Hotel.
They have a sister venue called The Tucson Bead Show, held at the Radisson. It is perhaps one of the strangest set-ups I have ever seen. There is one smallish ballroom where some of the vendors are located but most vendors are set up in individual hotel suites where the items for sale are in one room and the room the vendors sleep in is in the other. Every time I visit, I wonder if I am the only one who finds it a little creepy and off-putting as you try to figure out what rooms you want to visit. They do seem to host a fair number of classes so maybe that is the main attraction.
Here are my goodies. My first stop was the Potomac Beads booth where I met Ali Brukner, star of their YouTube tutorials. I was out of Tulip needles which are my very favorite needles and then I picked up some of the new shaped beads: a pack of Ava beads, dome beads and cup buttons.
|Potomac Bead Company Purchases|
Then a mandatory stop is The Lipstick Ranch. Oh my how I love their charms, pendants and chain. Take a look at the unusual 6mm ball chain. The fringe is to make a sassy tassel that is secured in a bead cap. Tassels were very prominent throughout the show.
|Lipstick Ranch Purchases|
|Ancient Moon Beads Purchases|
Then, I bought two finished items. I fell in love with these raku pieces by Jennifer Pottner who creates mix and match components that you can use in your own designs or tie them together with one of her beautiful silk ties. Aren't these colors delicious?
|Jennifer Pottner Purchases|
|Make and Take Ring by Marianne Kasparian|
Here are my final purchases. The left three pieces came from the T-Beads Booth at the Kino Community Center (where traffic was really light) and the seed beads on the right were my only purchases at the Tucson Bead Show from the Beading House booth.
Next year my goal is to take some classes and stay for a bit longer but all in all, it was a pretty fun day!