I meant to blog yesterday, but as usual for the first full day in Tucson, I hit the Gem Mall running, overshopped and under-hydrated and ended up with a killer headache. You have to have water with you ALWAYS as it's very dry here and we Canadians are just not used to that.
Now that I've been coming here for several years and have learned the lay of the land, so to speak, I can cover the territory much more quickly. The Gem Mall and the neighbouring Holidome are two of the larger shows in Tucson and I use them as a sort of 'home base'.
The first day, I went to 1/2 dozen of my usual vendors. With these people, I don't need to waste time negotiating. They point me towards their newest and most interesting stuff, hand me a big basket and are quick to take my filled basket and hand me another empty one. At most wholesale-only shows, nothing has prices on it or if it does, they will be retail, per strand, or MSR prices. Once I've gotten what I want from that vendor, I leave a business card with the pile of baskets/bins and I'm off to the next vendor. I'll go back in day or two and pick up the stuff. That way they have time to add it up and make up an itemized invoice.
After 2 days of shopping, I have to say that there are a lot fewer buyers this year, fewer even than last year. Some vendors are gone, several others are trying new venues in an attempt to get a different crowd of customers. In some ways, this is a good thing because a lot of the fly-by-night vendors have flown.
But there is still a lot of kitsch around. Everything from gaudy to gorgeous, from tacky to terrific. There's even more tables of "Chinovski" than there were last year.
Tomorrow is going to be some "me" time, in a Busman's Honeymoon sort of way. I'm taking a course in rivetting at Swarovski in the morning to learn how to set chatons and the beautiful large fancy stones. Oh yeah, then there's the Interweave magazine (Beadwork) tomorrow night at the Tucson Art Museum. Great chance to meet up with friends and scout out potential teachers.
Hopefully by tomorrow I'll also be able to incorporate some pictures into my blog. I just got a new phone last week. It takes pictures, of course, but I haven't learned how to get them off the camera and into my computer yet.