My friend Mallory (rosebud101) & I took a little road trip this past weekend to the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was my first time there & it was FANTASTIC!! We spent just about 2 full days there... early Friday afternoon through early Sunday afternoon & I'm so glad that we didn't just make a day of it. You CANNOT do B&B in just a day.
Well, first of all, I should say that I was mainly there to scope things out, see if it was a show I might want to eventually sell at, so I didn't really plan to "shop" for things... (I obviously had no idea what I was in for. LOL!) I asked Mallory along for company...certainly didn't want to go by myself, right? We learned rather quickly that we're different kinds of shoppers, LOL! I'm there to scope, I like to visit w/ others, network, I guess you would call it. Mallory, OTOH, was a woman on a mission... with a list. :o) She also disappears quicker than a 4 year old, LOL... we learned that cell phones come in really handy & also learned that we don't need to be attached at the hip, either.
Anyway...Bead & Button Show is HUGE... almost 400 vendors... I truly didn't know what to expect. I knew that there would be people selling all sorts of beads & jewelry findings & such... but I had no idea that there would be lampworking suppliers there...like ABR, Frantz Art Glass & Arrow Springs... as well as Cattwalk, my favorite presses, Mary Poineal of McDuck Creations... and Scott Bouwens of Bearfoot Art, a lampwork tool engineering wizard who must never sleep! (I learned that if you ask Scott the right question(s), you can keep him talking for hours. LOL. We visited a few times...he's so generous w/ his knowledge...nice guy!)
I knew that my new friend :o) Bernadette Fuentes would be selling there, Tony & Lisa Blackwell from Zoa Art, too... as well as Jeff Barber, Stephanie Sersich & Dustin Tabor, since they were all teaching, & my local friend James Henke from Outa Torch Glasswerks was there, too... but I had no clue that so many other fabulous lampwork artists would be there as well... Andrea Guarino-Slemmons, Kate Fowle Meleney, James Daschbach, Dora Schubert, Milon Townsend, Larry Scott, Leah Fairbanks, Ellen Black, Gail Crosman Moore, Bronwen Heilman, Kristen Frantzen Orr, Heather Trimlett, Wayne Robbins, Sharon Peters, Lisa Kan, Nancy Tobey... just to name a few. LOL. Literally. There were many many more...I can't possibly name them all. Oh yeah, LOL... Michelle from Caliente Glass (aka. Boobie Beads) was a kick, had fantastic boobie beads, LOL & even better skulls & was sharing a space w/ Kerri Fuhr & Stephanie Ann... all of whom have incredibly fabulous beads. Mallory got a fabulous skull bead from Michelle & I bought a beautiful ocean bead from Stephanie Ann. I was completely in love w/ Kerri's beads, but had to pick one over the other.
I was so happy to see Bernadette, she's such a sweetie. I FINALLY bought one of her fantastic hand beads (yay!)... some of her other pieces, an incredible necklace in particular, just floored me. She & Mallory have befriended eachother online & they met eachother for the first time @ the show. We ran to Bernadette's booth first thing when we got there & I looked at her neighboring vendor & realized that it was this guy I had been trying to track down since the Gathering last year!!! I had seen James Daschbach & his fantastic beads about 5 minutes before the end of the Gathering's Bead Bazaar & knew I could find him again & then promptly forgot his name, LOL. I had seen his pieces in ads before & thought for sure I would see one again, but nope. :o) I was THRILLED to see him... I think the first thing I said to him was "hey, you're hair is much longer than it was @ the Gathering!" LOL. Geez... really smooth. :o) Anyways... YES, I did purchase one of his fabulous beads & chatted w/ him a bit a few different times throughout the show. He's going to start teaching & I HAVE to be his pupil. :o) I'm going to be in Seattle in August... I might have to go take a ferry ride for a private class.
It was nice to meet Andrea Guarino-Slemmons & see her fantastic beads in person. Just makes me want to take a class from her even more. Her hubby Whit is adorable. He's also a flirt. LOL.
Everyone that I knew (or found out) lived in the Seattle area I had to ask if they were going to be going to Mike Frantz's Glass Bash in August... Mallory thought I was bragging about going to Glass Stock (the week afterwards), I just wanted to know if I was going to have a chance to see them again & hopefully watch them demo!! So many fantastic glass artists live in that area... I think I'm moving there. :o) & yes, many of them will be @ the bash. Yeah!!
Libby from Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis was there...she has such beautiful beads & I had a really nice time meeting her & visiting w/ her. I'm definitely going to go take a class w/ her @ Third Degree & I think we're going to try to get her up here to teach.
It was really nice seeing & visiting w/ Kristi Everson of Coliebug Beads...I've seen her at the past few Twin Cities Bead Bazaars that we were both selling at & never really got a chance to visit w/ her. She does such awesome metalwork.
It was also nice to visit w/ Jennifer Ionta of Spotted Moon Designs... she's part of my local lampworking group but doesn't live really close, so it was nice to see her. She's a super sweet lady & not only makes beautiful lampwork beads, but also makes incredible jewelry! Annemarie Herrlich & I are going to take a field trip down to her studio & play a bit sometime in the near future.
I ended up w/ some incredible beads... I couldn't help myself.... from:
Dora Schubert's beads are just as fabulous in person as you'd expect... & she's pretty darned nice, too. It was nice to chat w/ her. Her daughter was there w/ her ...beautiful girl, looks just like her mom.
I also had a really nice visit with Lori Engle of Heiden & Engle on our last day there... a really nice lady. It was funny because as I was talking to her I noticed a bead on her table that was just a little bit similar to the one I had been wearing all weekend (until that day, of course!) in that it had Rubino dots on the bottom 3/4 of the long tube & something different on the top 1/4. I thought that maybe I had packed that bead (w/ pendant holder & silk ribbon ...I'll post it in the next post) in the bag I had w/ me & sure enough I did... so I pulled it out & showed it to her. As she was chcking it out, the subject of how long I have been lampworking came up & she looked at me & said "do many people tell you that they hate you?" LOL. I took that as a compliment. :o) Very funny. I hope to meet up w/ her again someday... maybe next year.
Mallory & I really enjoyed shopping at & visiting w/ Catt & Fred from Cattwalk. The have such fantastic presses & so many awesome bead samples at their booth... it's really fun to just look at everything you can do w/ these presses. Catt had a simple & petite cross on display that had been made with her thinner versacube press & I mentioned that I have the thicker version of that press & make much larger crosses on it & she wanted to know if I had any of them w/ me, so I brought my beads along w/ me on Saturday to show her. We ended up trading one of my crosses, 2 crunched beads & a kaleidoscope (for her mom!) for 2 presses!! Yes!! :o) She had all of the beads out on display so others could see the larger cross & the fact that I manipulate & decorate them after pressing them..... and she wanted the 2 crunched beads because I don't completely fill the press, so the sides aren't thin & sharp and again, I decorate & manipulate the glass after I press it. She wants me to play w/ the versacube press more to see what else I can do w/ it & send her the beads so she can include them & the cross as examples on her website. I still ended up buying 4 more presses from her, too. LOL. God, I'm in trouble. :o)
Some non-lampwork favorites were Anne Choi, BEAUTIFUL & intricately detailed silver beads, Diane Hawkey had some of the cutest ceramic inspiration word beads...I think I ended up w/ a half dozen of them. LOL. Another ceramic artist was Jennifer Heynen of Jangles... she had really fun & whimsical beads & toggles. I got the most beautiful hand dyed fibers & ribbons from the Fiber Goddess & special ordered her The Diva Custom Cord Maker, which is quicker & simpler to use than the kumihimo disc I use now. (I can put the kids to work for me this summer so I can offer some fabulous braided cords w/ my beads, LOL...they've gotten pretty good @ kumihimo!!) And I bought an incredible polymer clay heart pendant from Christi Friesen of CForiginals... and spent a bit visiting w/ her, too.
Some of my other favorite suppliers were Vintaj, I just love their stuff & it was so nice to meet them & see their pieces in person. I get so many great comments on my pieces made w/the Vintaj findings... I had packed up a few of them & brought them w/ me to show them on Sunday after talking to them on Saturday about them. I'm going to send them photos for them to post in the gallery. Yeah!! :o)
Such crazy weather while we were there...we almost didn't go because the forecast looked horrible, but I'm so glad we went. Lots of thunderstorms the whole weekend & some tornadoes in the area, too. Sunday, maybe a half hour from closing time, while I was on the show floor they announced that there was a tornado warning for the area & to be safe they were asking everyone to stay away from the lobby windows & stay on the show floor.......& feel free to contintue to shop. LOL!! The whole room roared w/ laughter. It was pretty funny. There were some touchdowns in the area, but nothing that close & the warning was lifted just in time to close up for the evening. Bummer. :o)
Anyway...if you've followed along w/ me this far, THANK YOU, LOL... there's so much more I could talk about... but that's enough for now.