Monday, June 4, 2012

A quick wrap of my bead show

"You know - black is this year's pink."

Has it only been 3 days? I feel like I have been away longer. In fact, today has had a sense of unreality all day. That's what spending two days at a bead show hawking your wares will do to you. With a wedding thrown in for good measure.

I love bead shows. Usually. I especially like them when business is brisk and the time flies by and you are so busy you don't even have time to shop. This show wasn't like that. Traffic was steady and there were periods of busyness but there were also lulls.

Saturdays was the hardest day. I made it a little harder by not reading the setup information, instead relying on memory, which unfortunately was memory of the wrong show. So after goofing the day away on Friday, I arrived at 4 pm to set up, to find that the room had just been locked up. Right, it's the other bead show that has the 4 pm to 8 pm setup.

Other than kicking myself in the virtual butt, I didn't suffer any material consequences, since I am only 10 minutes away from the venue and had plenty of time to set up in the morning. And I went with a minimalist display this time, few props, just a tablecloth, my trays and my boxes that double as risers. I might have saved myself the trouble of bringing finished jewelry, necklaces, earrings and wire-wrapped pendants. I know by now that bead show patrons buy beads.

This is the fourth year that I have been a vendor at this show and if I had a hundred thousand dollars for every person who came up and said, I still have the beads I bought from you last year and I haven't done anything with them yet, I'd be a millionaire. Nice thought.

I used the opportunity to expound on my philosophy of bead ownership. It's the destination, not the journey, by which I mean, give yourself permission to own a bead and not do anything with it. Absolve yourself from the guilt of not having used the bead in some marvelous piece of jewelry. Revel in the joy of just owning the bead. Take it out, look at it, feel it in your hand. That is enough, that is good. And less is not more, more is more. So why not buy another or six?

This is the philosophy I apply to both lampwork beads and bead store beads. I have strands of gorgeous bead store beads, stone and glass and shell, and I keep them in glass jars or clear plastic bins and I rearrange them all the time, just for the pleasure of handling them, holding them up and seeing them catch the light.

Of course I am not a jewelry maker. I string beads but that is about it. And I find that the anticipation of the possibilities for my bead store beads generally gives me more pleasure than ownership of a strand of those beads made into a necklace. Sometime I enjoy the process of making the necklace, but most of the time, once it is made, I am happiest to give it away as a gift or donate it to a good cause. I'd be happy to sell it, but that market is super-saturated and I am an amateur when it comes to jewelry design and execution.

But enough with the philosophy, I'll do a quick wrap up of the show. The room was cold, I ate my  breakfast and lunch the first hour I was there, and I was cold, hungry and under-caffeinated, and as a result sleepy all day on Saturday. On Sunday I wore more layers, ate a better breakfast and packed more comestibles and a thermos of coffee, which made the day a lot better. The fact that it was the best Sunday show in four years was just icing. I love icing.

I was happy that my newest beads sold well and fired up (pun admitted) to make more of them today. The bead has a base that can be any color as long as it's black. Just kidding, it can be any color, black is just my preferred, but variety is the spice and I use amber and cobalt and red and maybe even pink, because face it, pink is this year's black, every year. The bead is clothed in colorful shards, garnished with twists and the final touch of magic, after the bead is melted smooth and pressed, is the addition of goldstone and silver plum shards which are left in relief.

And now that I've used about a thousand words describing it, here is an example. This one didn't go to the show with me because it is slightly off kilter, but you get the idea.


Simple enough no? No, apparently not, because I plodded today, struggling with the shape, with laying the shards down the way I wanted them, with keeping the bead hot enough without boiling the plum and burning the sparkle out of the goldstone. Who knows what I have in the kiln. Sometimes low expectations turn into nice surprises. And sometimes they merely live up to themselves.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer school, so no torching but certainly some cleaning and mandrel dipping and maybe some photos. Hopefully. Meaning, it is hoped. Which I heard on NPR this morning has been approved as an appropriate modern use of English by the AP Style guide, the bible of journalism.

"But truth is just like time, it catches up and it just keeps going." Dar Williams

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz