Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The BIG Bead & Button Post...

NOTE: I have tried and TRIED to finish updating this, but Safari keeps crashing and I keep losing HUGE chunks I've written. I will post it "as is" and go back and update in small pieces. Otherwise this may NEVER get finished. Sorry!

I began my trip by racing the sun across the sky. A deep sense of relief washed through me as I got on the plane. I could do no more. No last minute projects or preparations. All I could do was relax and focus my attentions on the horizon ablaze by the setting sun.

sunsetWhen I got to Milwaukee, I was greeted by my family and by Bob Burkett. We then went to dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was nice to spend a little time catching up and talking before the madness of the show began.

maximus green girl studiosIt was also particularly nice to spend time with my niece and my little nephew, Maximus. He's grown so much. Not only is he getting big and developing physically, but so too is his personality. Azalea is a good big sister and she loves her little brother. He loves her too and his dark eyes follow her movements carefully. I can tell that they'll be good friends.

Setting up is always a blur. It's a mad dash to the finish line. It's a wild race to get everything done before people start streaming in. We had a double booth, so it took twice as long to set up. It was also a challenge to entertain the kids while focusing on getting everything set up, but somehow we managed at the last possible minute. The last sticker was placed on the bowl just as the first customers started filing in.

The weekend was busy and admittedly, I didn't get a chance to walk around very much. It was great seeing everyone. It was so nice to catch up with long-time customers of Green Girl Studios and meeting new ones. I did carry around my camera and snapped shots whenever I could.

lisa peters art ceramicsDown the row a bit was the very talented and funny, Lisa Peters Russ of Lisa Peters Art. She makes wonderful ceramics and I picked up some special skulls she made just for me! I'm hoping to carry her skulls exclusively in my shop. CLICK HERE to check out the ones that are available for purchase now.

marcia decoster kathryn bowman tierracastThe best thing about these big shows is that nearly EVERYONE is there. It's always so good to see friends that you only see once or twice a year. For instance, it was nice for the ever-regal Marcia DeCoster author of Beaded Opulence: Elegant Jewelry Projects with Right Angle Weave to stop by. She said she added the bright fuchsia pink to her hair because I said it was missing last time.

Teacher and artisan, Kathryn Bowman of BeadWeaver, dropped by in between classes to say hello. We met several years ago in the Milwaukee airport of all places. We were both stranded by overbooked flights and planes with mechanical difficulties. We talked for hours.

The fine folks of TierraCast came by as well. (From left to right: Tracy, Christopher, and Julie Young.) I love that even though we both produce pewter lines, we all get along and have a deep respect and appreciation for each other. Their work and the work of my family goes well together. I met Tracy (the TierraCast jewelry designer) and Christopher (the TierraCast graphic designer) this past Tucson at the Swarovski Party. It seems as though I've known the delightful Julie Young forever.

erin prais hintz mary wohlgemuth fusion beadsLast year, I had the pleasure of meeting Erin Prais-Hintz for the first time. She owns and operates Tesori Trovati and has maintains the Treasures Found: Inspiration is Everywhere blog. She has been a steady source of support and encouragement. I was looking forward to talking with her more this year, but only got to chat with her briefly when she swung by the booth.

Bearing gifts of chocolate and locally roasted coffee from the fabulous Alterra, Mary Wohlgemuth (a.k.a. Mary Walla-Walla-Bing-Bang) of Kalmbach Publishing, popped by to say hello. It was great to see her (and not just because she replenished my coffee supply either)! She is an absolutely lovely person and an editor extraordinaire, who I hope to work with some day.

Speaking of lovely people bearing gifts of chocolate, Lindsay and Katie Wall of Fusion Beads visited the booth. They are hands down some of my favorite people in the bead world. I always have so much fun with them and I adore Fusion Beads. Fusion Beads is a one-stop-online-retailer that sports a variety of artist-made goods and just about any jewelry making supply you might be interested in, including (but not limited to) the NEW Swarovski crystal colors, pendants and beads, and a wide selection of new jewelry saws! Make sure to check out their collection of over 800 inspirational projects by CLICKING HERE.

heather powers humblebeads erica cessna lillypillyHeather Powers of HumbleBeads, Art Bead Scene and the Bead Cruise was set up just down the way. Heather makes really incredible polymer work, like this hand-painted bird pendant. It feels as though I've known Heather for ages, but I just met her last year at Bead & Button.

Erica Cessna, a fellow Pennsylvania resident and one of my favorite customers, came by the booth. Erica owns Reed's Beads in Ambler, Pennsylvania. It's easy to get swept up in chatting with her. We could talk for hours about books, movies and television. Erica is responsible for my addiction to TrueBlood and the books the show is based on by Charlaine Harris.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to swing by Lillypilly's table this time. I always look forward to seeing what they've been up to. I love their laser-engraved shell, horn and wood beads. Luckily, Jodi was able to swing by, even if only briefly to say, "Hello!"

marlene blessing molly schaller danielle foxThere are some people you are just meant to know. I feel that way about Marlene Blessing, editor of Road of Her Own: Woman's Journeys in the West. When I first met her, she told me a story about when she lived in the Philippines and went to the movies in a mahogany-paneled theater and how odd it was when they played a Tide commercial in the middle of the film. As she started to describe the commercial, the synapses fired and I realized that the commercial was the one my mom was in before she moved to the States! What are the chances?

Molly Schaller, former editor of Simply Beads and talented jewelry-maker, hams it up for the camera a little, showing off her recent Bob Burkett ring purchase. I couldn't resist posting this picture!

Molly poses again with Danielle Fox, editor of Stringing magazine and author of Simply Modern Jewelry. I just love Stringing! It's one of my favorite beading magazines. It's jam-packed with tips, tricks and design ideas. It's truly a designer's magazine.

michelle mach jeannette cook kate mckinnonIt's always a pleasure to see Michelle Mach. Michelle has such a good, grounding vibe. You might remember Michelle's work as the first editor of Beading Daily or through one of her countless contributions to various publications. We talked about the infamous "what's next..." Don't you think it's about time that she penned her own book?

I met Jeannette Cook of Beady Eyed Women earlier this year in Tucson. Even though we've only known each other for a short amount of time, it feels like I've known her for years. I remember staying up late after long days at the show with Jeannette and Joyce Rooks, sipping wine and talking into the wee hours of the morning.

katherine wadsworth heather powers humblebeads deanna kittrellNormally I see Katherine Wadsworth of Natalia Designs in Hawaii. I've been lusting after one of her amber colored tree focal beads. They are particularly nice. Luckily she was set up just around the corner and I could periodically sneak away to grab a glimpse of them and chat about my new kittens.

It was nice to see the full array of Heather Powers' polymer clay at her HumbleBeads table. I've read about them. I've seen pictures of them. I even have a couple of her pieces. But I've never seen them all en masse. It was a treat. She does a masterful job of capturing painterly strokes in polymer clay.

Deanna Kittrell has been set up down the row from us for as long as I can remember. She was there again, sporting some new blue in her hair. She offers amazing chainmaille kits and jump rings.

diane hawkey melanie brooks earthenwood studio alethia donathanWithin the last year, I've gotten to know the delightful Diane Hawkey better. She's always got the craziest stories. You hear rumors about people who find lost works of art by seminal figures of art history at estate sales and then reselling them for much more than what they were originally purchased for. Diane is one of those people. Her spark for life and abilities as a storyteller add a little bit more spice and charm to her lovely ceramics.

Melanie Brooks

Alethia Donathan

Susan Nestor

Ute Brenstein

Stephanie Ann and Kerri Fuhr

Heather Wynn

Pam and Heather Wynn

Jill MacKay

Jess Italia Lincoln Vintaj

Stephanie Sersich

Patti Cahill

Heather and Jessica Glass Garden Beads

Andrea Guarino-Slemmons

joanne zekowski margaret zinser bernadette fuentesJoanne Zekowski

Margaret Zinser

Bernadette Fuentes

tierracast party milwaukeeTierraCast Party

michelle heim kristal wick katie hacker candie cooper melanie brooksMichelle Hiem

Kristal Wick

Bead Blogger

melanie brooks diane hawkey colin mahler wolfstone jewelryMelanie Brooks Diane Hawkey Wisconsin

Colin Mahler
barb switzer four seasons of beadingBarb Switzer
beaducation jeannette cook kareokeBeaducation

gail crosman moore tony irena miech eclectica jamie hogsettGail Crosman Moore

Tony and Irena Miech

Jamie Hogsett

bronwen heilman ghostcow clara nina designs kim foxBronwen Heilman

Clara Nina Designs

Kim Fox Handfast
kelli burns susan jones brenda schwederKelli Burns

Susan Jones

Brenda Schweder

sharon driscoll melissa j lee heather trudeauSharon Driscoll

Melissa J. Lee

Heather Trudeau

jean campbell kelly angley susan lenart kazmerJean Campbell

Kelly Angley

Susan Lenart Kazmer is fabulous! Was there any question? Not only does she manage to stay true to her muse and create things as an artist and is an active teacher, but she is also the figurehead of Objects and Elements Design Team and Blog (which are run by the delightful Jen Cushman), has a successful online shop, produces ICE resin AND just launched the Industrial Chic line of components at Michael's craft stores. Did I mention that she's also the author of Making Connections: A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists?

cynthia thornton anne choi kim van antwerpOn our last night in Milwaukee, we had dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery with Anne Choi. Anne patiently drew and traded pictures with Azalea, using index cards and crayons. Azalea took home an illustration of a mama mandrake holding a gourd along side a baby mandrake. I wonder who that's supposed to be?

We walked around after dinner. The light was magic. Everything was bathed in twilight. Cynthia stopped to take pictures. I just enjoyed the stroll.

After our walk, we headed back to the Rock Bottom Brewery to meet up with the rest of the gang. Greg was there with Aveesh and Carter (and her cousin Grenville) of Bead Trust and Temple Singh Jewels, Bob Burkett and Kim Van Antewarp. I told Kim that she looked like a teenage foreign exchange student. She proceeded to tell me about her Schwinn bicycle and I knew my earlier description was apt.

The big shows are such an amazing phenomenon. People gather from all over the world, united by a common creative interest. I find that after the shows, I'm a little blue. At the shows, your heart is so full of love, camaraderie and friendship. At the shows, your head is full of ideas and inspiration. Leaving it – saying goodbye – creates a vacancy filled with only an afterimage. It's kind of like we're all at summer camp and our time making crafts and seeing friends is over. I can almost hear the echoes of people shouting, "See you next summer!"


kate mckinnon said...

Thank you for sticking with it until you got that dang post up.

The very final photo in your series is unnamed, that is the supercute Kim van Antwerp, of course.

I LOVE the photo of Dustin Wedekind and I. Classic plotting stances.

Andrew Thornton said...

It's not over yet! I plan to augment each of the photos with more in-depth captions as I have with some of the photos.

I was just losing my mind each time Safari would shut down while I was in the process of saving the post with huge chunks of it being lost to the ethers of nothingness. Ugh.

At least now it's up and what is up cannot be lost now unless I decide so. I can add bits and blurbs and links that were getting swallowed up.

Oh yes, Kim is not to be forgotten! She's a shooting star! I said that this photo made her look like a teenage foreign exchange student. When she told me about her bike, I knew it was an apt description!

I LOVE the photo as well! Plot away!

Christina J. said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for posting all the photos. It was good to see you there.

TesoriTrovati said...

Goodness Andrew! I am quite speechless! (And for me that is quite a feat!) You really are so sweet to mention me. You snapped a lot of pictures! I loved meeting all these people too. I had so much fun. And if it weren't for that pesky battery problem in my car, I would have been there on Sunday. I was saving that day for you. Well...we will just have to cyber-talk until next year, and then maybe I can join you at the Rock Bottom which is divine!

I will be by soon to purchase things that I never got the chance to see. I missed spending time with you too!

Enjoy the day!
P.S. Thank you, thank you! For the piece of your (he)art. It means the world to me and it is prominently displayed on my new wall o' inspiration!

Unknown said...

That was just wonderful all the photos. I would have to take bunches of cash to that show! You do have a charmed life Andrew!

Thank you for sticking with this I really enjoyed it.

Michelle said...

Andrew, thanks for the wonderful re-cap! It was a pleasure meeting you formally!
Bead Happy!
from the very "strong and sleep deprived" Michelle :-)

Pretty Things said...

What an absolutely marvelous recap! You're always so good at capturing all your friends and customers. I hope to be there next year!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

this is spectacular! I never get to go, but you allowed me a wonderful, magical overview
of what this show is like. Andrew, many people vow to take lots of photos but they get caught up in the momentum
and they just don't do it, because there are so many people and sales to make, etc. YOU are one of a kind. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
I got to see my invisible firends, as Aard Art's husband calls them, close up. Really made me happy!


PS love those GGS kids!!! mwah!

and I have never typed mwah before :)

Anonymous said...

I love how you created little photo collages. so cute. Its always a treat to catch up with you, even if it is,sadly, so brief.
You always make me smile and giggle.
I love you sweet friend

Sharon Wagner said...

This is a lovely treat....revisiting all the wonderful people at the show this year.
Thank you!
Sharon Wagner

Tammy said...

Love all the pictures! It is very cool that you got to meet so many people in the jewelry industry in one place, wow!

Erica said...

As always, it was great to catch up with you and your family. You were a busy boy with that camera.
Thank you for writing such a thorough review of the show and the people you visit - it helped remind me to check things I missed. Also, thanks for the shout-out.
I love rehashing books/TV/movies with you. Can't wait to hear what you think of the new season TrueBlood and to harp on you and Cynthia more about renting / buying Carnivale. You MUST see it.

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