As I mentioned before, I've never been to a major bead show... just the smaller local shows in the Twin Cities. While I certainly enjoy my local shows and appreciate having them within 45 minutes of my house, they are just so MUCH smaller. The shows I've gone to before have either been in a school gymnasium or the ballrooms of a mid-sized hotel... big enough to have some interesting things but not so large or overwhelming that you can't see everything you want to in a few hours. Bead Fest was a completely different animal! Here, the Expo portion of the event covered two exhibit halls of the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (the third hall contained most of the classrooms).
|All those tiny square on the right half are booths! So many beads!!|
Even though I had a full day class on Friday, apparently Bead Fest has a mandatory 90 minute lunch break for the all day classes to ensure that students have an opportunity to shop. As soon as I finished the morning's project to my satisfaction I made a quick stop at the concession stand for lunch and stared out into the mass of bead vendors and shoppers while I ate, already feeling a bit overwhelmed. As soon as my belly was full, I made a bee line for Artisan's Alley where many of the art bead makers are clustered together. While I didn't do any real planning or shopping lists ahead of time, I knew that the main thing I was looking for were gorgeous art beads. I also figured that the earlier I shopped, the better my selection would be. (Shop early, shop often... right?)
I headed straight for Heather Powers' booth with a little detour to say hi to Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio and snatch up some of her pretties. I didn't have a ton of time (and of course there was lots of chatting with Heather, her aunt Rosanne, and my friend Terri) but I did manage to amass quite the collection of Humblebeads! My apologies to the shoppers who came after me!
|So... I might have gone a little overboard on the Humblebeads!|
|Ceramic, bronze clay, and polymer yumminess from Jenny Davies-Reazor and Lesley Watt. (Jenny's are the pieces on the right hand column plus the other firefly pendant at the top.)|
|Despite how this looks, I did leave some Czech glass for other shoppers!|
|Reunited and it feels so good... Kathleen, Diana, and myself with Jenny photobombing us!|
|I found lots of great wood beads and some funky barkcloth beads.|
|Clockwise (mostly) from top left: ceramic from White Clover Kiln, polymer clay from Staci Louise Originals, lampwork by Alice St. Germain, pewter and bronze from Green Girl, and more ceramics by Firefly Designs|
|Kathleen took a quick selfie of us on the shuttle back to the airport after dropping off the rental car. So glad I got to see this lady!|