Dreaming of Tucson


Published On: 11-18-2011 03:08pm

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Okay - the Tucson Gem and Bead show starts in two weeks and I can't wait.  I am one of the lucky people who make jewelry and live in Arizona, so I can attend the show that every one, even remotely connected to the jewelry business would die to be able to attend.  Last year was my first trip there and I was not prepared for the size and extent of the show - this year I am ready.

I decided to only hit wholesale shows because you have to have some limits, there is no way to do the whole thing - forget the feet giving out, I do think that the brain would finally fry on one too many tourmalines or turquoises.  I have been studying the show book and fiquring out when to go to hit what I want to hit and not have to go on the weekends...it's nice to be retired.  I have even studied the vendors at my 4 main shows - To Bead True Blue, Grant Inn, Gem  Mall, and Holidome - and have marked on the show maps where they will be, so I don't miss someone I really want to check out.  I am also going to HoJo's for vendors I loved last year, will do the African Village toward the end, when the vendors are more apt to deal, because they store their goods in Tucson from year to year, and Electric Park and Pueblo are on the maybe lists. There are more that I'd love to do - but this is more than enough, if nothing else, I know that my credit card will be screaming in agony if I do all this.

Last year, I had to rethink the way that I shopped. I was used to on line ordering, buy one and if I liked it, reorder.  You can't do that at Tucson, if you like something, buy enough for a year.  That uses up your credit fast, but it's the only way to go.  So many of the vendors are foreign and even if they have web sites, I would want to see the material in person before purchasing it.  I also learned that you must have real, green, folding cash for some of the vendors, that's all that they will take.

One of the biggest problems at the shows is parking.  I have been checking out the shuttle lines, but the shows are so spread out, that you could spend 1/2 your day on the bus. Ideally, I'd stay in a downtown motel and shuttle from there, but that's just wishful thinking, I'd rather spend my money on inventory.  You all know the old line - whatever the traffic will bear - well the Tuscon hotels believe this and practise it to the fullest.  So, for us we will stay well north of the city and drive in for 2 two day trips and then a one day trip at the end.  Since the 40 something shows are spread out over almost two and one half weeks, and only a few are open that whole time it is a logistic nightmare, figuring out when you need to be there.  I would love to take a few classes - but this is difficult enough without throwing that into the mix.

If you get to come - you will know that you have arrived at jewelry making nirvana - I feel like a 5 year old waiting for Christmas to get here.  Last year was great going for the first time, this year is better...not only do I know how great it is - the vendors - the stones - the beads - but I feel like a have a handle on how to organize the time that I will be there. Here's to great shopping - hope to see you there.

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