05 June 2012

Close Encounters of the Bead Kind

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.  ~Rod McKuen

A curious thing happens when I go to the Bead & Button show. I make instant friends. 

When I am just walking down the street or at any other social gathering in my life, I don't have this instantaneous connection with people. Not to say that I don't make friends wherever I go, it just never happens so immediately.


I don't know what took me so long to attend the Bead & Button show for the first time back in 2008. But I knew that once I went I would never be able to stay away. These are my peeps coming home to roost in the big ol' beady nest. I love the Bead & Button show!

{This was us back in 2009 - meeting as strangers and leaving as friends!}
And that is what happened when I first met Heather Powers. We started out as strangers with a curious connection through beads, and left as friends. She decided at the last minute to come to the show and asked if anyone had any space in their hotels. I told her that she could stay at my sister's house with me (and only later told my sister I would have another guest!). I thank my lucky stars - and my gracious sister - that *free* accommodations trumps all other offers. So I became her chauffeur that first day in 2009 when I picked her up at the airport. I remember wondering if we would be able to recognize each other. I am sure she was wondering what she got herself into...meeting a stranger at Mitchell International Airport. But her smile lit up when she saw me. I ferried her around Milwaukee (promptly getting lost but not getting flustered so as to see me panic!). I met some amazing people by being unintentionally connected to Miss Heather that year. And we became instant - and lasting - friends. She is one of my very best friends, in fact. (I will be with her at the Humblebeads booth #1212 - stop by and  meet us!)


I don't know about you, but not a lot of people where I live 'get' what I do. It is isolating. It can be lonely. My parents think that I play with beads in the basement, and while that is true, I believe that I am doing so much more. But that all changes when I get to the Bead & Button show. It is a bit like the Mothership has landed and all my bead freak sisters and brothers have disembarked and are stepping out into the light of a million twinkling facets (I was just watching Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind the other night. I think that scene with the bright light and the people stepping out of the spaceship was haunting my dreams!)


One of the most peculiar things for those who are new to a show like this is the first time they experience the Beader's Handshake.


Someone you don't know will brazenly walk right up to you. You think that smile on their face is for you, so you stick out your hand for a firm shake and get your business cards ready. But as you get closer, you realize that their gaze was directed about 12" south of your eyes and the twinkle in their eyes was for the jewels on your neck (or your ears, or your wrist!). They will fondle the baubles and ask questions about how it is made and where you found the cool components. Only then will they look up in your eyes and give you a smile as big as all outdoors. And believe me, you will laugh. You have made an instant friend of the beading kind. 
{This is one of my favorites from my solo exhibit in 2010...
I will be looking for more of these cool bottle cap flowers from Glass Garden Beads!}
 Of course you will want to wear your most outstanding creations to this show. If you are like my friend Diana you have been making cool baubles for weeks to wear. Me, I just don't have the sort of time, so I will be wearing the same old tired jewels that have become my favorites. Heck, I might whip up a thing or two while I am there, since all the goods will be available within an arm's reach. I always bring some tools and a little kit with some basics to help me get started.

{I created this necklace called "Inner Joy" for the Sept 2011 Bead Soup... I think I might wear this one!}


There are a lot of posts out there that tell you what you need to do to prepare for a show like this... wear comfy shoes and clothes, call your credit card company to let them know that you will be buying, bring address labels with your tax ID number on it, drink lots of water, find a rolling suitcase... but trust me, you will be overwhelmed the moment you step through the doors no matter how prepared you think you are. I am every year. (Just go toward the sparkly light!)


And budget... schmudget! I still have most of what I bought from LAST year to use up. But that won't stop me from buying more! (I think there may need to be an intervention in my future!)

So when I come up to you and fondle your necklace and then look up into your eyes, be sure to flash that smile to me and we will be instant friends. 

P.S. I will be closing my Etsy shop up tonight for the duration of the show. If you have your eye on anything, please feel free to use the code: MOTHERSHIP for 30% off good through today only (sorry, not valid on the Simple Truths Sampler Club - but good on all charms and jewelry)! I will be taking my stock of Simple Truths with me to the show and I don't know what will be coming back in stock! 


20 comments:

Courtney said...

oh how I wish I could go!!!! I will live vicariously through you! Have a blast and please share when you get home.

(sparklie lights are drawing me....)

Gardanne said...

The Lampworkers handshake is the same as the Beaders's Handshake. Although I think our handshake involves more fondling, of glass of course.

Regina said...

Love your description of this wondrous event. What is it about beads and beaders? My husband thinks I will go anywhere with anyone if there are beads at the end of the journey! Thanks for your visit and your advice. I am looking forward to my mini bead show,. Enjoy your grand show. Looking forward to seeing your budget busters.

Erin S said...

not in my neck of the the woods, but I'll be there in spirit! Have a great time!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Sounds like a lot of fun...making new friends sounds even better! I really have to add this show to my calendar next year!

Have a wonderful time with Heather at the show, hope to see a follow up post of what I missed!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

p.s. I am so glad I am not the only one who hasn't used up the beads I bought at last years show (Bead Fest), makes me feel so much better and in good company! :)

Cynthia said...

Lots of good insights, Erin! It is so nice to go to a bead show and be with "our people"! We just "get it" like none of our loved ones can/will. My husband is supportive, but does not like talking about beads. Lately I've been fortunate to have joined 2 groups. One is a general craft group, with quilters, knitters, etc. While I don't do those crafts, they still understand my bead obsession (it's the same as their fabric or yarn obsession!). My other group is a new local Bead Society. I was thrilled to get an email from the local bead store about the formation of this group. We meet once a month to Show & Tell, and learn from each other. It makes my beading habit less isolating. Maybe you can start a bead society in your town!
Have a blast in Milwaukee!! I look forward to giving you the beader's handshake someday! (you should come to Philly Beadfest in August!!)

sandi m said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sandi m said...

My checklist...or buy list...is ready. Counting down the hours until Thursday!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

So, the "Beader's Handshake"! Cool! You had me worried there for a sec, like, oh-oh, what should I do!! But I've already done it! Yes, the B & B is a completely unique experience, probably has a lot in common with the Chocolate Lovers' Convention, though! See you and Heather soon!

mairedodd said...

have a most wonderful time, erin... i know how much you look forward to these events!

Sandra said...

Have a wonderful time. I hope to make it next year.

Diana P. said...

LOL! I can't help myself! Every bead show I obsess over what jewelry and clothes I'm going to wear. Can't wait to finally meet on Friday!

Erin Siegel said...

I love that photo of you and Heather. I'm anxiously awaiting my first bead and button experience. I feel a bit like a country bumpkin going to the big city for the first time! Looking forward to meeting you and Miss Heather! Forgive me if I look like I have no idea what's going on when you see me. ;)

Barbara Lewis said...

Really enjoyed this post, Erin!

JeannieK said...

Have fun. I'm going out of town too...but to work. UGH! I'll be thinking of you all.

JenniferJangles said...

Erin, you are so funny! Can't wait to see you and Heather.

Michelle said...

Hey Miss Erin! Hope I bump into you. Did you enjoy your class with Barbara? I'm green w/envy! I'm looking forward to going. It truly is a wonderful experience to be with fellow Bead-i-acs. Of course I get to be with them most days at the shop, but to be with thousands is a wonderful thing!
Hugs,
Michelle

maxandlucie said...

It happened to me! I feel blessed to have met you this year at B & B--I totally understand the "mothership" feeling--already planning on a longer stay next year! I can't wait to see what you make with those gorgeous stones we saw. Glad we are on Nunn Innovation Team together. :-)

LisaS said...

You are soooo lucky to have been there!!!! I really enjoyed reading your experience and thanks for reminding all of us how fun it can be to go to a big event like this ;)

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