So are you coming to Tucson this year for the gem show? I'm looking forward to seeing the new trends, the new materials, learning new things, meeting new people and yes, parting with my hard-earned money.
Yes, I'm actually looking forward to taking the money artists give me for tools and supplies and turning around and handing it to other, and or those, artists. Isn't that how the circle should work? The circle of bead love. It's such a wonderful way to spend money!
I hope you are coming to support artists and have a little piece of them to keep with you. Or better yet, to make a masterpiece to sell to a buyer that will get great joy from your work.
Tucson is such a magical experience and yet can be a tad bit overwhelming. There are so many shows, and figuring out how to schedule them so you can get the most shopping time, is an art. So let me help you out with a tip or two.
After nearly 20 years, I think I've got it figured out. Here's my strategy:
- Saturday: Grant Inn
- Sunday: To Bead True Blue and Gem Mall
- Monday: TEP and Gem Mall
- Tuesday: AGTA and GJX
- Wed: Best Bead Show and Whole Bead Show
- Thurs: Holidome
- Friday: Catalog in Motion and Howard Johnson (and various I-10 shows)
- Saturday: Tucson Bead Show and more I-10 shows
- Sunday: football of course!
- Take healthy snacks with you (protein bars are great for these excursions)
- Pack a small emergency umbrella
- Wear very comfortable shoes
- Wear layers. It can be cold and or very warm…all in the same day!
- Make sure if you have a rolling bag that it will go over larger pebbles. It's best to bring a really comfortable backpack instead.
- Bring ziplock bags with a sharpie marker. Make sure before you walk away from the booth that you mark on the bag how much the strands and or pieces cost. You'll never be able to read the receipt if there is one, or decipher how much the beads should be when you incorporate them into your work. It's a good idea to go through your purchases every night to make sure mistakes were not made and you've got everything accounted for.
- Bring calipers, a loupe and a small scale
- Bring address labels printed with the name of your company, the tax id number, state licensed, and other pertinent info to hand vendors so they don't have to waste time writing down all your tax exempt info
- Bring cash. You can bargain and get better discounts if you have cash
- Set a budget and keep to your list, unless you have gobs of money to spend. Then by all means spend, spend, spend!
- Watch your items at all times. Do not set your bag down to reach for a strand of beads. It could be gone.
- Get reservations and eat at odd times. Eat a good breakfast and a late lunch. It will save you money and headaches.
- Keep hydrated
- Remember to take some Ester C and wash your hands frequently. The Tucson Crud is not a myth. Usually a week or two after leaving everyone gets very sick. Too many germs from all parts of the world and not enough immunity!
- Have a great time and don't forget to smile, be grateful, appreciative and joyful. These artists have put their heart and soul into sharing their work with you.
Hope to see you in Tucson! I'll be snapping pictures all week. My amazing assistant, Sarah, will be with me. It's her first trip to the shows. Can't wait to show her all my favorites and have her help me discover new ones. Leave me a comment if you are coming.