I went to the Whole Bead Show, and I just about lost my mind. (It’s a good thing that I had decided not to try to go to see Hunger Games). I had expected to be in for a maximum of two hours, but I ended up being there for four hours (no, I did not spend my entire paycheck! I just spent a lot of time agonizing over the best things for me to get right now with $100 budgeted for the show)
I went in, and looked at Starr’s Clasps (google them – they have some great stuff available on-line), but I am working on lowering costs this time around. Moving on, I passed the high-priced pearls and the glass beads and arrived at Chinese Vendor Central. The first and biggest display was a Chinese outfit where no one spoke much English other than “NO!” and “PAY?” They grabbed at everything I touched until I got into the habit of following a large black woman with a fierce look. Nobody bothered her, and I could go right behind her and handle things with no trouble. This display had a $1 section, and a $3 section. Most of the $1 items were some sort of plastic or acrylic. In the $3 section, there were stones, but, with my experience with the Chinese, who knows what the stones were. I did pick up some interesting amazonite, some turquoise looking stone which felt to me like magnesite, some dyed peachy-colored pearls, some green stone that looks similar to my old green jade beads, and some beads that look like C-grade coral (they may or not be coral, and are probably dyed – I’ll be soaking them before I make anything with them). The good thing about this table was that, since I bought 5 items, I could get a 6th item free, so I got another strand of the “coral” in another size.
Moving on, I passed by a table that had some solid-color glass beads (crystals?). Again a Chinese outfit. There were some red “crystals” like the ones my friend got at the last show, which I liked a lot, and there were some that looked enough like rubies that if they are made up right, with silver findings, will fool any but a jeweler. I chose two strands of the rubies ($5 each) and two strands of the red ($4 each). The Chinese guy said “sorry, credit card no. $20.” I figured he meant “minimum purchase on a credit card was $20”, so I grabbed another strand of the red and he agreed to that.
Then, I looked at everything else and finally arrived at one of my favorite vendors, Hands of the Hills, all the way at the back of the venue. I like these people. They do sell Hill Tribe silver items, but they also have a very nice selection of 24 ” loops of brass beads in either brass or else plated with silver or gold, at very affordable prices. Last year, I bought 10 strands of tiny silver beads, and used them as an enhancement to my turquoise necklace, making a statement piece. Today, I got two loops of larger silver-colored beads and one of copper-colored beads. (I was encouraged to make this purchase after consulting with the very handsome and friendly fellow of approximately my own advanced age, who talked to me about the content of the metal products and, when I told him that I had had some of the silver-colored beads turn yellow on me, told me that I should bring them back to him. Wow! You just don’t get that level of service in bead shows).
I managed to stay under $100, and I got a nice sack of goodies that are like nothing that I have seen in NYC, real or not real, brand or Chinese. I haven’t even seen things like these (for the price) on the Internet).
One thing that I saw that was really cool, and that I want to get, was the “Easy Knotter:”, a contraption which makes knotting really easy, whether you are knotting immediately between beads or pearls, or knotting the beads at measured distances along a thread. I am familiar with the concept of knotting, but I have never been able to do it as well as I’d like to… this gadget makes it look pretty easy and fast. They told me there is a youtube video where you can see how it works. It is reasonably priced (@$20). I am so there.