[Sherry Serafini, beading teacher, designer, and author of Sherry Serafini's Sensational Bead Embroidery, reports below on her experiences at the 2011 Tucson gem and mineral show. The show actually is a constellation of many shows, with about 50,000 people descending upon Tucson during late January and February. You also can read an earlier Tucson report from Marcia Decoster here; interestingly, the two beading designers had some of the same favorites. Learn more about Sherry on her website. ~ Ray Hemachandra, team lead, Lark Jewelry & Beading]
I’m back from Tucson, and it seemed like a whirlwind trip!
Trying to leave Pittsburgh through ice and snow just made it seem like the trip was not going to happen. Looking forward to heading south and then west in my travels to get away from the cold became a distant reality when I found out that Dallas was iced over and Tucson was having a record-breaking cold spell!
However, “bead luck” found me, and I eventually found my way to a city that was glazed over with beads, gems, artists, and designers.
My first stop was to see my friend Marianne Kasparian, whose company name is MAKUstudio. Marianne does the most amazing raku I’ve ever seen. The poor girl—I think I wiped her out and left nothing for the rest of the attendees to see. Her work is my addiction, and you can see it yourself on page 39 of the new Lark gallery book 500 Raku.
Marianne was exhibiting at the To Bead True Blue show at the Doubletree. I saw the work of glass bead artist Robert Jennik there, and of course I had to buy some cool cabochons from him. His work was set up at the Knot Just Beads booth with Kim Rueth.
This was a beautiful show, and I was in danger the first day of going over budget with just these artists! My intent was to buy beads for my upcoming classes this year … but hey, you only go around once, so do it right!
I saw Perry Bookstein with York Novelty Imports and had the pleasure of chatting with him and looking over his awesome selection of daggers and charlottes. Of course those went home with me. as well.
Being a beader and a collector of unusual things to use in my embroideries, I had to find Betcy from Beyond Beadery and Beki from Out on a Whim, two of a my favorite vendors and dinner dates! They both have selections that take care of every need a beader has. They were set up at The Best Bead Show at the Kino Center. There were also booths and tents set up outside the show with several amazing glass artists. I love attending these shows to see the incredible talent.
The GJX show was one of my stops, with an amazing display of fine gemstones and jewelry. I spent a lot of time at Gary Wilson’s booth for his cabochons. Laura McCabe was helping at the booth, and I some of her beaded art in cases there. Did anyone hear my jaw drop when I saw it? Gary’s cabs and Laura’s art are both AMAZING and so inspiring.
The Swarovski party brought out a lot of people I had the pleasure of chatting with. Marcia DeCoster, Deb Saucier, and Kristal Wick were a few among the many. It was a great party held at one of the most incredible hotels I’ve ever seen.
Despite my travel issues, once I was in Tucson I had a great time. Yes, I’m a poor woman now who will dine on ramen noodles for a while, but ask me if it’s worth it! My answer will be “Yes!” as I sit here writing while gazing over at my pile of treasures.
The event in Tucson has to be lived to be believed—it’s an unbelievable gathering of the finest shops, gems, and artists of all kinds in one city.
I wish they did it twice a year!