Stitch Pro: Tucson!

I've just unpacked my bags after spending several days at the Tucson Gem and Mineral shows, shopping, trend-trolling, visiting friends and associates, and soaking in a little sun. Whew! What a great trip. Since I hadn't been to the shows in a few years, this visit was especially fun. I got lost in the chit-chatting and general visual overload. For this visit, I got to travel with Danielle Fox, Jewelry Stringing editor and Editorial Director of our bead group, and Marilyn Koponen, the bead group's ad manager. When we weren't all wrapped up in booth-hopping, I remembered to take my camera out… I didn't take photos of even half of the things or people I got to see, but perhaps you'd like to view some highlights from our trip?

On Tuesday afternoon we visited the To Bead True Blue show at the Double Tree Hotel first. Linda Hartung of Ala Carte Clasps was demonstrating techniques with her new lace wire and findings. We also stopped to visit with our buddies at Green Girl Studios…it's always such a pleasure to see them!

I couldn't resist these pretty enameled flowers at C-Koop's booth. I took one of the large flowers and turned it into an instant ring. I'm still wearing it!

The Trinket Factory (formerly Glass Garden Beads) has some really new, fun enameled beads and recycled glass shapes.

Two of our favorite people! Jamie Hogsett (former Stringing editor and current contributor, working on the creative team of Antelope Beads) and Gail Crossman Moore (artiste extraordinaire with a killer DVD in the works with Interweave).

This new sandy lustery color from Miyuki is pure beauty. I had to clean up a little drool off of the table here…

On Wednesday we visited the Best Bead Show at the Kino Center, where we said hello to the talented and lovely Molly Schaller. Last time I saw Molly we were both filming segments for Beads, Baubles, and Jewels…so nice to see each other out of all that television makeup! We stopped by Brenda Schweder's booth, where I got to see her Steel Wire Jewelry book for the first time. Totally inspiring! She's also got a wonderful new jig for sale.

A visit to the Best Bead Show isn't complete without a hello to the sparkling Betcey Ventrella of Beyond Beadery; the fabulous Beki Haley of Out on a Whim; or the talented polymer clay artist Karen Lewis.

We were so happy to see some of the Beaducation team in the tent: Founder/CEO Lisa Kelly, Education Lead Aisha Formanski (who is just about done with a book for Interweave!), and (ACK! I don't have a name here, even though we were introduced. I'll blame it on how completely overloaded I already was at this point in the trip. Do you happen to know who this pretty smile belongs to?)

A howdy-do to Perry Bookstein at York Beads, who had racks filled with all of the beautiful new spikes and gumdrops, which I couldn't resist. And my first face-to-face with the beadweaving sensation (and current Beadwork Designer of the Year) Jill Wiseman.

Leather cord and straps were definitely the "thing" in Tucson this year…

…and chain! Lots and lots of chain.

I'm always drawn to vintage supplies, so the Sandy Schorr booth held my interest for a long time. I just loved how these bags of buttons looked on the table, and who could resist these vintage crocheted beads?

Here are my sweet travel mates, Danielle and Marilyn, kicking it up a little at the Swarovski Elements Ambassador book signing at Beyond Beadery.

Here are Kristal Wick and Diane Fitzgerald (left) and Kelly DeFries (right) signing books like banshees.

More shots from the Ambassador party. On left (from left): Maria Rypan, Debbie Simon, Diane Whiting, and Lisa Pavelka. On right: Shoppers admiring Nikia Angel's fabulous designs.

On Thursday morning we visited the Windmill Hotel. I didn't seem to pull my camera out much in here–must have been yakking to much–but I did take a snap of these whimsical calaveras, another weak spot for me. I love the mermaids and gay couples!

We spent lunch time with Sarah Wright and Julie Young at Tierra Cast. They have a sensational new set of leather findings, and we were eager to play with them.

Their new, super easy-to-use 2-piece rivets, end tips, and snaps are really great! I walked out of our meeting with a hipster double-wrap bracelet I made in less than a half hour.

Another quick swing by the Double Tree meant we got to visit with the ever talented and super sweet Katie Hacker, who was doing a demo for A-Z Bohemian. I also got to meet Paul Ricks, the inventor of Ricks beading loom, which is, quite simply, awesome.

The stash sure was piling up in my hotel room! Check out all the 2-hole beads we picked up at Starman: bricks, tiles, lentils, and daggers. I have no excuse for lazing about in my bead studio now.

Speaking of Starman, at left is Dave with Marilyn, Joelle, and Heather at the Interweave party on Thursday night. At center is Cheryl and Michael of Art Beads. And at right is Sara and Kristen of Soft Flex. What fun to see all the people who we work with all year long in one room at a time! This party is always the highlight of the week.

Ah…Tucson! What a wonderful winter break. And what's more, the trip proved to be an inspiring and rejuvenating creative jog. Did you attend the Tucson shows? What did you see that inspired you most? Please share your stories with us!

Happy beading-

Jean Campbell

Senior editor, Beadwork

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