Last weekend I attended BeadFest Philadelphia with a fellow jewelry maker, and had an absolutely grand time. BeadFest is sponsored by Interweave and its the largest beadshow on the East Coast. It's held in August and September on the East Coast and two other times during the year on the West Coast. There are at least 60 different classes you can take on wire projects in May and a combination of other things in August. Trust, I will be going back. I had the opportunityt meet Dale "Cougar" Armstrong a master in the art of Wire work, and picked up a few tips from her as well.
This was my first visit and while I didn't have the opportunity to take any classes (slept on that one) I met a lot of great jewelry makers, instructors and vendors. Attending the event this time, allowed me the opportunity to see the quality of a few vendors I've been eyeing on line, which was great. I'm a planner and as Elaine (my travel mate) put it, I can be a bit anal about a few things, but it worked to my advantage this time. To attend this type of show, you have to have a plan and I was all over that. If you don't, you tend to overspend, you miss good deals and you come home broke!
Here's how I tackled staying on task and not going over my budget:
1st - I scanned the vendor list before even going to the show, circling vendors I was familiar with or those I definitely wanted to see. I also made a list of must haves that I needed for my inventory.
2nd - When I arrived at the show at 10:00 am, I browsed every booth (160) and marked off those that were of interest to me and what items they carried that I wanted. I also jotted down prices, specifically silver and crystal to do a comparison. This literally took me about 3:00.
3rd - After browsing, I started at the beginning again and started shopping. I shopped until about 6:45 pm. Only visiting the booths that were checked off on my list. Then it was dinner time and much damage had been done, but not complete.
4th - That night, I made up a new list of remaining vendors, to include those with the best silver prices and was ready for the next day of shopping.
5th - Saturday morning, started all over again, hitting my final list and finishing up about 2.
I came home with some beautiful beads! Of course this isn't everything, but wanted to share a few of my favorites.
There was just about everything you can imagine there for jewelry making, including tools, of which I got a few. Crystals were all over the place. If you've ever shopped for crystals online it can be a bit overwhelming, but seeing them all right there was even worse!So, there you have it, my first trip to Beadfest. Sorry I didn't get to take more photos, but as you can see I was on a mission.