Monday, June 21, 2010

Baltimore Best Bead Show

Heading to Baltimore this Friday for the Best Bead Show! This show is new to Baltimore and I am excited to see how it goes. I am very happy with the number and quality of art bead exhibitors. So many shows are getting overwhelmed with imports; it is great to see a promoter doing their job and balancing the show, especially a first time event. Some other lovelies you will find at this event, Alice St. Germaine lampwork glass, MyElements by Yvonne Irvin, and if we're lucky Lisa Peter Art. Check the complet list of exhibitors here. Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bead and Button, 2010: The Day After

Kimmie here, about to get opinionated:

It's Monday after the Bead and Button show, and we are all tired, exhilirated, and ready to go home.

It has been great hanging out with friends and developing new ideas. I think that's why we all come; sales are good and important, but the quality and quantity of artists at this show make it unmatched as an inspirational experience. I hope it can stay that way. Economics have made it hard for many of us to come, especially with increasing numbers of non-art-bead vendors at the show, but we are all optimists and fully expect things to improve with each passing year. I hope Bead and Button pays attention to what people are saying and needing, because so-called 'gem and jewelry' shows are a dime a dozen, and really not what this show is supposed to be about. It's supposed to be about artistry, like the wonderful work in Bead Dreams! I saw a booth here selling cheap sunglasses and fake pashmina scarves. That is NOT Bead and Button. Enough rant; but the mixed feelings of excitement and frustration are hard to keep in. Maybe keeping them in is a bad idea, anyway. The more people express concern about the direction the show is taking, the better, I think.

But about those new ideas: I'm really bad about keeping track of ideas, never having a sketchbook at hand when something percolates up. I have, however, learned to trust that if I put something into the flowing waters of my brain, it will swirl into the appropriate eddy and come back when it's ready and I'm ready to make it a reality. Tentative new projects will involve learning to carve wax for casting jewelry, recomitting to my metal clay/embroidery pieces, and designing some exciting jewelry pieces with my own beads. Can't wait to get started--and come back to Milwaukee next year with a suitcase full of exciting new work!

*also want to add extra thanks here to Kate McKinnon for offering to share booth space and a hotel for the show. She is talented, nice, and above all, fun! I wouldn't have been here if she hadn't given me the opportunity, and I really appreciate it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seeing Red is a Good Thing- Bead Dreams 2010

Seeing red is a good thing! I got the news Wednesday from my friend Lisa Peters who snapped a picture on her way to set-up. Second Place Handmade Beads or Buttons, Bead Dreams 2010. Very excited to place especially in the new category sponsored by Whole Lotta Whimsy . Ceramic art beads have been bounced in and out of the glass bead category which left us ceramic bead artists either unable to compete or taking one of the glass spots. I love the new category as it not only provides a space for ceramic bead artists in the competition but allows handmade beads or buttons in any media. Kimmie was selected with her fabulous felted Koi Beads which I hear looked great in those big glass cases. Still missing all my friends cavorting around Milwaukee, but very proud of how my buttons on their wacky little tree are representing me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time and Beads

I can hog the blog a bit since Kimmie is either packing or in transit to B&B. One of the most influential teachers in my life used to say "Life is short and Art is long." I was in my 20's at the time and although I understood what she meant the older I get the more that statement comes home to roost. I thought I was pretty focused. I settled on porcelain over 20 years ago. I have been a beadmaker for 10. Creating mostly art beads and very little finished jewelry. And yet there is still not enough time. For recent customer request I made a large set of beads in only two patterns. Black and white with color accents. I really didn't want to put it in the box and mail it. I wanted it to stay with me for a while longer. I make beads nearly every day but rarely to I take the time to make large sets. Its just too time consuming and they become too expensive for my average bead customer. Most that do get made eventually get paired down into smaller sets so I can afford to buy more kibble for my darling mutts(I'm including hubby in this group which if you knew me is a great honor. He gets better than kibble though.) I always think I am driven by my inner muse and not the demands of business and life. To an extent this is very true or I would never have made a single bead in my life. My inner muse has a habit of telling me to make EVERYTHING more complex and detailed; not exactly the recipe for quick cash. But on the other hand "Why are there not more large sets?" Crap! Life really is short and Art really is long. After 20-some years that still pretty much sums it all up.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Taking a Break

Allentown IBE show this past weekend
In a few days Kimmie will be embarking on her journey to the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee. I know she is excited and has been working hard. She has lots of wonderful beads and I know she will do well. I am in a different place. Having done the show for 7 years running I decided to give it a break. I know the excitement that Kimmie is feeling as she packs up her wonderful creations. The feeling that is isn't enough. You never feel like its enough. All the organizing an planning for the trip. Getting everything you need and can't buy there to Milwaukee by plane. Stuffing what's left and heavy into flat rate postal boxes and praying it is there at the hotel waiting for you. Deciding on clothes(to wear in public! a challenge for a studio mole) for 5-7 days and then rejecting the ones that are too bulky for the suitcase. Pondering how many days a pair of jeans can last that you notice they're not clean but no one else does. Its a fine line. I'll actually miss all of that. Not to mention seeing all the wonderful artist beads some of which I won't see at all this year. I usually aquire at least one special bead for my collection. I won't see the Bead Dreams or ISGB Exhibits. Seeing old friends Meeting new friends. The dinners out. Our "penthouse" room at the Hampton Inn. Why would I give all that up??? First of all, it wasn't easy. It is never easy to decide to move on even if it may be temporary(I haven't ruled out next year.) It boils down to time. I've come to a place where I positively loathe the push to get ready for a big show. Ironically I probably have enough inventory that I COULD have done the show, but making it was a much gentler process. New work came out of this period that I am really excited about. Some new opportunities are visible on my horizon. The only way I can get to B&B is to put blinders on for months before the show. I have really enjoyed taking the blinders off. Maybe I have finally learned to work steadily. Maybe next year I can keep the blinders off and still make it to the show. Maybe. We'll see.

For now I am really happy and relaxed. I am wishing all my bead buds that are going to B&B
their best show EVER! Knock 'em dead for me!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Kimmie here, in the final days before the biggest consumer bead show IN THE WORLD!!!

LOL I love that tagline for B and B. For me it is, as someone on Facebook noted, like summer camp. It's work, but it's also about friends and familiar faces that I haven't seen in far too long. The show itself can be overwhelming. So much to see, even the view from my booth will have my eyes dazzled by the end of each day. It is great to see beaders come out wearing the boldest, most beautiful work, eyeballing the Bead Dreams display (rooting for me and Joan!), and seeing what some of my favorite artists have brought to show.

It will be bittersweet this year, some of my very favorites won't be there, not the least of whom is Joan! Maybe next year. She's at a show this weekend,
in Allentown, PA at the Fairgrounds. If you are anywhere near there, stop by and say hi for me!

Time to get some finishing touches put on the BronzClay, for firing tomorrow, maybe some more silver fairy pods too. And more glass on Monday! Eek! Get to work, Kim!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just a post

Kimmie here:

I don't have any pictures to share, as I'm not posting from my home computer. The batch of silver fairy pods turned out nicely, just need to drill and patina and they will be ready to go. Time is running so short here before B and B! I have reached that point where I have some of everything and get perplexed about what to make I make some of something I don't have? should I make bunches more of something I think will be popular? Why aren't there more than 24 hours in a day (and in my fingers)?

The first batch of BronzClay didn't turn out at all. I am hoping I have figured out the malfunction, because the new pieces are looking great. I added some sculptural elements and hope to get molds made from them before we go to Milwaukee. That's how much I like them! I actually got so involved and the ideas were flying at me so that it was hard to stop, come down to Earth and get some production going. Time to experiment will come in a few weeks...

On a happy note, I found new batteries for my old camera online. The old one holds a charge for about 5 minutes and I had put off finding a new one thinking they'd be expensive. Wrong! Just $6 each, including shipping. I ordered two and plan to have lots of pictures from Bead and Button to share!