Sunday, November 6, 2011

International Gem and Jewelry Show

What fun! Last weekend we made a trip to Collinsville, Illinois to the International Gem and Jewelry show. We had a wonderful time exploring all the new beads and buying some great new crystal, lampwork, and metal trim to use (soon!) in new designs for Beaded Jewelry by Susan.

We had a beautiful fall day for the trip down, about a three-hour drive from Champaign-Urbana. The fall color on the trees was fantastic, and we saw a few hawks at the edge of the interstate. Once we got down south a bit, the terrain started to be less flat and there were rolling hills and river valleys that we don't get to see much around Champaign County, so it was a nice treat.

 Our friend Bob dropped us off at the Gateway Center for the show and went on to spent a pleasant afternoon in nearby Edwardsville, checking out the historical houses there. Meanwhile, we entered the center excitedly and began the great bead expedition! It had been quite a while since we'd been to a bead show and the anticipation had built to a peak.

This year my focus seemed to be on Chinese crystal. I love crystal and it makes such wonderful trim and accompaniment for lampwork and other delicate glass beads and pearls. Of course, I have a big collection of crystal already, both the expensive Austrian Swarovski and the new Celestial Crystal. But there were new colors in the lovely faceted rondelles I like so much and excellent prices. So I stocked up!

Also found some lovely lampwork that was faceted: colorful patterns inside clear glass rondelles with the whole outer bead faceted. Got some more of the interesting opaque lampwork beads too--with swirls, clusters of flowers, and geometric patterns. Although I didn't photograph them, I also found bags of tiny adorable bead caps in silver, gold, and bronze plating ... just right for earring trim.

I saw a lot of lovely stone beads at the show as well, but many of them are too large and heavy for earrings and right now I am mainly doing earrings and some pendants. I also saw lots of those charming ribbon necklets for suspending bead charm pendants, like the ones that Theresa and Sara Jones have been making. I have already made a few pendants and a bunch of new earrings for them to sell at the Holiday Market inside Lincoln Square (now that it's too cold for the outdoor Farmer's Market), beginning next weekend for the entire month of November.

I had to get a new Plano storage box for all the new beads and do quite a bit of reorganizing of my crystal collection. That's always time well spent because it makes it so much easier and faster for me to locate the bead I want in the middle of a design moment. I have started making new designs with the new bead and am looking forward to doing more of that very soon.

Hopefully, at some point I will take new photos of new jewelry to add to the Etsy site. In the meanwhile, I will continue to pass new work to Sara and Theresa for sales at Holiday Market and, at the end of the month, the U of I Holiday Bazaar in the Illini Union. I hope that local fans of Beaded Jewelry by Susan will be able to come to some of these events. If not, you can always shop online in my Etsy shop.

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