Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bead shows are the best

So here I am, absolutely tired from three days of intensive beadiness, teaching, chatting, hugging and admiring all the stunning creations. Now I'm recovering from the Beaders Best show. I thought it would be nice to share how it feels to be part of a big event...
I shopped, for unusual beads, rare charlottes and vintage beads, delicious cabochons and, of course, the seed beads to match them.
I talked, pretty much non stop, with so many friends to catch up with and so many new people to get to know. It is also our opportunity to talk to the vendors, see new bead shapes, pick up the trends that are emerging and make notes for new designs.
For a little while there I was book signing, as my beloved Albion Stitch books have now been published as a beautiful volume in German, which was launched at the show... here is where you can buy the book. The English versions are here. This was a real personal landmark moment!
I loved every minute of my teaching days, my students were all brilliant so it was a genuine treat to spend time in their company. My two translators did a fantastic job of not only sharing my thoughts and ideas, but my slightly dodgy humour too, thanks you Barbara and Elina.
So, behind the scenes as a visiting tutor we start early, with classes starting at 8.30 we gather at the venue at 7.45. There is just time to secure a coffee and set up the classroom, then it is full on until the show closes. One lovely highlight at this show is the model walk. Each day at 12.30 beautiful models walk through the show wearing beadwork; competition entries and pieces by the artists present, either as tutors or with a booth selling their kits and patterns. It is an event and a pageant; it is also a validation that those awesome creations you see in photographs, really work as adornment.
After the show has closed for the day, a different kind of fun begins as everyone gathers for supper...
When I look back at the conversations over supper tables shared by artists from the UK, Russian, Germany, France, Italy, the USA, Sweden and more; it is with that luxurious feeling of having the opportunity to share the stories of our creativity. This little world brought together for a few evenings is not one in which jealous rivalry has a place. Each artist is on a personal journey of creativity, loving every minute of it, proud of their own work and delighted to honour each others achievements.
So these after show suppers are a blissful indulgence, a source of fuel too, discovering so many new points of view. We come away inspired to keep on taking creative risks, then sharing the successes. Talking of fuel, the evenings are also full of laughter, outrageously bad jokes, lots of photographs and plenty of alcohol! and yes we do talk about things other than beads... a bit.
But you know, there is another element required to make a great show, at the best shows it is hidden and should go unnoticed by the visitors, and that is great organisation. Attention to the tiny details,  from the simple, like having signs right at the point where you look up wondering where something is, to hiring chairs that you really will be comfortable in all day as a student. A million little things, and staff on hand to smooth the procession of people and questions. The team at Perlen Poesie are, I hope, and deservedly so, pleased that all their  hard work resulted in a truly enjoyable event.