Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Supply Source

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show deserve a mentioning, for it is the main source and major opportunity for beaders around the world - in our own back yard!! It is the biggest show of its kind in the world.  My mom and our friend Nancy come down each year for a few days; plus my aunt Joyce and neighbor from Phoenix, Sherry, come for a day as well.  They are experts at finding the good spots and leading me to them.  A few local friends come along each time as well.  Lots of people I know here head out to the shows several times a week after work during the month - Dedicated!  It is a frenzy here.  Some folk at work even take days off for it.  It is really hard to pay full price for beads or jewelry, most people say, after you have been to one of these shows. I also recommend going to the workshops.  Mom helped pick out a fun felting class this year with an artist who came to town. Last year we learned to work with glass, paper and resin. I hope to get to keep having that kind of fun with my ma every year!

Next year I will have to take a picture that truly shows the ridiculously overwhelming amount of supply, table after table, tent after tent, mile after mile (that was starting to sound like the Gansters' Paradise song there... chuckle).  I started to like the smaller shows that show the smaller, finer artists' hand-casted beads and hand-torched glass, like Best Bead Show and To Bead True Blue.  I frequent these now not only to support them, but because I needed less choices to reduce the shock of knowing where to start! I have finally honed it down to getting a few new things a year to refill or delve into new colors. I think these photos are from 2009 in the big tents that go up each year. Imagine massive tents of gems and minerals sprouting all over the city!

We used to buy a few items for Toad Hall (a boutique a friend owns in Oregon) but now that my mom runs her own art business, Bloom! an Artscape, we can can get in to the wholesales for some fantastic deals through her own business license. Some shows don't require that, but it does help you get bulk price tax free deals.

So that is where I get my fancy pants beads. Ta da!!

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