Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tucson 2011: Best Bead Show Review
It was an amazing year in Tucson! A great week for friends, family, glass, money, and spirit so if know know me at all, you know I was right where I needed to be.
I actually got to Tucson a day early for me, Monday before the opening of Best Bead. This was the 2nd year since John Iannucci took over for "Big Daddy" Lewis Wilson. As humans, we dont really enjoy change and there have been a lot of them, so John and I met early to ease the transition. This year our venue, The Kino Veterans Center, added a playground right smack dab in the middle of where James Yaun and Andy Rays booth used to be, so logistically we knew there would be challenges. But with our trusty tape measures (mine is bigger than Johns LOL!) we got everyone moved and happy. We added 3 new artists to our "power glass row" by putting James Yaun, Eusheen, and Travis Weber right around the corner from our lampwork anchors Kevin O'Grady, Andrew Brown, MZ, and Harold Cooney. Literally 10 globally recognized lampworkers, less than 100 yards from each other? Thats why they call us the Best!
Inside the building, Lewis Wilson posted up next to the Japanese Team. Aki, Tak, Kenta, and Ryo were back to make it happen and displayed some of the most detailed oriented work on the planet. And my anchor vendors in the main hall JC, Joyce Rooks, Nancy Pilgrim, Roanne, Isis, Stuart Ableman, and Emiko were back with new work. NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!
I relocated my booth so I could be next to Lori Greenberg, and we held down the tent...er pavillions... well. Lilly Pilly Designs were right across from us, Tika Designs just down the way, and the Mazet Brothers right outside. One love also to Ross at ABR. Team Arrow Springs, Team Glasscraft/Winship, Art Co and all my other tool vendors. I appreciate that you folks come out year after year, just to make sure we all have what we need to succeed!
Best Bead Show isnt just a name, its a philosophy. We jury, and pick, and decide the best mix of glass, stone, findings, gems, jewels, and tools. Every year we bring in only the best of what the bead world has to offer and we do it because we care about the industry. As a show, we're the 1rst and only show to align ourselves with Beads of Courage, a powerful arts is medicine program started by Jean Gribbon Baruch, AND several of our vendors serve on their board of directors. We received a Donor of Distinction award on behalf of all the shows artists and we have given countless $$ back to the kids at the Kino Center, and once again, John Iannucci, owner of the show, has put his money where his mouth is. We have 2 vendors that are breast cancer survivors, and they are in our show for the 1rst time. John has graciously donated their booth fees, in entirety, to Breast Cancer Research. As a promoter, John bares the brunt of any show critiques, Im happy he lets it roll off his back and keeps going towards a great cause!
All in all, as a asst Promoter, AND as an artist, this was a successful show. Sales wise, I was a bit down, but in our current economic climate, Im just happy I get to do what I love and prosper from it. I was able to join the Beads of Courage artists Team, I partnered with Doug Harroun for the flame-off (more on that tomorrow), kept 178 vendors happy, and still managed to SHOP (again, more on that tomorrow). Jennie K and I were happy to show and sell work we'd done together, and that was an AMAZING feeling. I finally feel understood, privately and professionally so thank you to all of our friends that help put this together.
All in all, my 7 years of experience, tell this show was somewhere between B+ and A-. The weather sucked for 3 days, and the storms on the East Coast limited our customer base because a lot of shops and buyers couldnt make the trip out. God bless Cali, AZ, NM, and CO for coming out and supporting the shows, and of course our international buyers from Japan, Canada and everywhere else! see you next year!
Tomorrow we'll talk about the flame off and the more social side of Tucson including pics, and a few restaurant and hotel reviews...
Thanks for joining me here as we get started into the 2011 season. And Special Thanks out to Mona "Mama G"Larson at Gaffergirls Glass USA for keeping a fire lit to keep my blog up to date. Apparently people care what I have to say! NICE!!