Tucson Bead Shows 2012, Day Two!

My second (and last!) day in Tucson, I had originally planned to hit The Best Bead Show, To Bead True Blue and maybe sneak over to one of the gem and mineral shows, since my son was asking for geodes and green-and-purple rocks.Little did I know what I was in for when we arrived at The Best Bead Show!

It was so good to finally get to meet Beki Haley of Out On a Whim after all these years!

The first thing I saw when I walked in were the signs pointing me over to Out On a Whim, and Beki Haley and her family. I've been buying seed beads from Beki for nearly ten years now, and I could barely contain my excitement at getting to meet her face-to-face for the first time ever! And, of course, I was anxious to see what kinds of treasures she had brought with her to Tucson this year. (Not that I need any more seed beads!)

Tammy Jones was gracious enough to hang out while I did some shopping, re-stocking my metallic seed beads and finding some new treasures to add to my collection. I was also drawn to the lovely strands of Chinese crystal hanging in the sun, and I added a few strands of beautiful two-holed pearls to my pearl collection. It must have been something about the desert air, but I found myself picking out a thoroughly desert-inspired palette of seed beads. A sparkling multi-colored strand of tiny Chinese crystal rondelles were too tempting, and I picked out some opal green and opaque orange crystals to add to my stash.

I am totally in love with my little turtle from Green Girl Studios.

Once I had finished in there, we moved on to the show floor, where the next person we saw was the amazing Andrew Thornton. I've admired and followed Andrew's blog for a very long time now, and it was such a thrill to get to meet him. I found myself making delightful discoveries as I looked through all the pieces he had displayed on the Green Girl Studios table. Meaningful quotes were engraved into the backs of pendants, and each bead and clasp was full of fanciful details. When I saw the lovely little articulated turtles, I knew there was no way I was walking out of that show without one of them. I always allow myself one big splurge at a bead show, and this little turtle was perfect.

After nearly three years, I got to hug on the fabulous Jill Wiseman again!

Jill Wiseman's mother, June, directed us to where Jill was teaching her afternoon class, and Tammy and I got to get our hugs on with this beadweaving superstar! I haven't seen Jill since we met at Bead Fest Philadelphia back in 2009, and I so wish that we had had more time to chat and hang out.

Betcey Ventrella is always up for some fun if it involves crystals!

Right in front of Jill's classroom – lucky for us! – was Betcey Ventrella and Nikia Angel hanging out at Beyond Beadery. More seed beads, more crystals, and some absolutely gorgeous vintage glass cabochons found their way into my tray this time around, while Tammy watched Jill in action with her class. My seed bead color choices from Betcey's selections were definitely not my usual preferences and included blues, neon greens and bright orange. I also picked up a few packages of these wonderful new Czech glass spikes. While the colors are beautiful, they just look dangerous — especially when they're embedded in some of that fun Crystal Clay!

As Tammy and I made the rounds at each booth, we saw more people that we knew and spent more time chatting and gazing at the beads being offered. We each picked out a beautiful Botanical by the very talented Lisa Kan with the idea of a special challenge for our readers. (Hint, hint.)

Since 2012 is the Year of the Dragon in Chinese astrology, I added two more dragon pieces to my collection from the talented Marsha Hedricks.

On our way out to wait for our taxi, we ducked into a side room and discovered the lovely and talented Marsha Hedricks of Amazing Porcelain Fantasies! I picked out two of Marsha's dragons to add to my collection: one cabochon with lovely mottled pinks and tans in the background, and one of her wonderfully detailed donut pendants.

I can't wait to start on a beaded rope for this gorgeous lampwork glass pendulum by Beau Barrett.

My last purchase of the day was this striking mini pendulum bead by Beau Barrett of Evolving Creations Lampwork. It was a tough choice, since I could have easily picked out one of every bead and bead set they had, but the colors of this particular handmade lampwork bead just happened to match a tube of matte metallic seed beads I had picked out from Beyond Beadery.

By this time, my feet (and the clock) were telling me that there was no way I was going to be able to race through one more bead show, let alone two! So, after a quick nap back at the hotel, Tammy and I headed back out to dinner with Beki, Betcey and their respective bead "gangs" at a wonderful Tucson eatery. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard! Chatting with these talented ladies about anything – and everything – made me feel like I had known them my whole life.

Tammy and I spent a little while back at the hotel drooling over her pearl purchases, and then it was time for her to catch the train back home and time for me to get some sleep before my flight back to New York in the morning.

Even though I was only in Tucson for a little over forty-eight hours, I found new friends and inspiration that are going to last me a very long time.

Have you ever been to the Tucson bead and gem shows? Share your experiences by leaving a comment here on the blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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