Yesterday we went to the Bead & Button Show 2013 in Milwaukee! As always, it was a fun & inspirational tradeshow! If you're ever in a creative rut...having a "block"...or just need an artist's date with yourself...try going to one of the many, many tradeshows or retail shows (beading, needlework, scrapbooking, quilting, painting, etc.) around the country! Even if you're not into beading - the color inspiration alone is worth the trip!!! Just looking at table after table FILLED with beads, stones and gems - thrown this way and that - making up different random color combo's...is an inspiration explosion!!
Last year was the first time I went to the Bead & Button Show - because I just started adding jewelry to my artwork offerings - and I was in complete OVERWHELM!! So much cool stuff! I had to have it ALL!! Of course - most of the supplies I purchased back then is still on my shelves waiting for the "perfect" jewelry project! haha. So, in the spirit of "exclusion" for the year (my attempt at decluttering), I DID limit my purchases this year - telling myself I need to use up some of the gorgeous stuff I bought last year before I buy tons more! And I'm happy to say, I DID keep to it! I picked up a bunch of cards though - and TONS of inspiration!!
I bought a bunch of rosewood mala beads that I needed for bracelets! I nice rich, dark red that I haven't been able to find anywhere else... along with some buddha and key charms for some pendant art jewelry that I'll be featuring on the new website (Coming soon!)
The other fun thing about attending these shows, are the make-it-and-take-its! If you've never heard of these - they are fun little projects that different booth vendors have for you to do, right there in the booth, to show off their products or tools! And just like it says... you MAKE it - then get to TAKE it home! Most are free - and let you get a little hands-on playtime with the products to see if you'd like to purchase supplies and make more!!
Other than the trade floor - where all the booths are set up to demonstrate and sell their wares.... they also have full-blown classes! Starting a few days before the show floor... classes begin for a number of projects and different media (glass, metal clay, polymer clay, metalwork, stamping, etc.) that you can sign up for! When you click on the sites for the shows, you'll see a classes tab that shows all the classes they'll be having during the show week! Or, make sure you sign up to get emails on the lastest news and classes that have been added to the show!
Conventions and tradeshows are an awesome way to KICKSTART your creative juices - and get re-inspired! And you'll meet LOTS of new friends and connections in the process! I always come back rejuvenated and full of ideas!! Give one a try!
P.S. If you're interested in exhibiting at tradeshows & conventions - let me know! - I've had some people ask me to do an e-book or checklist on the ins and outs of exhibiting...it's something I'm considering! :)