I thought I would start posting some photos my husband, Nick, helped me take during the Tucson show. The photos are with Nick's camera, a Kodak, not mine that I usually use for the bead and jewelry photos on my website. There are some show photos I'll post later that aren't too pretty but since I have them to share, I might as well. The photos are the best his little Kodak can generate and not due to Nick's skills as a photographer. (At least that is what I tell him. hahah) This was just a portable camera that he likes to take on our trips. I often joke with him that he should stick with Canon or Nikon. My camera is the old trusty Nikon 995 that I purchased in 2004 and it still works like a charm. My photos would not be as pretty without the Nikon and my Bowen Tri-Lites (I have three of them)
The first "Show Stop" photos are of the beautiful Manning House Mansion, where I have been exhibiting for the last three years, since the show's inception. This show is where it all began for me, January 2005, my first major show while STILL working fulltime as an engineer. I was invited to join the show on November 17, 2004. I remembered the date distinctly because I recall I thought to myself "what did I get myself into and how am I going to have enough beads to make it worthwhile?". I BELIEVED and proceeded forward to build my signature booth look. Today the booth is pretty much the same, with a few additional accents here and there. Even the banner, is the original one I took to that first show.
So, I had saved up two weeks vacation and used it all for Tucson 2005! One week to make as many beads as possible for Tucson and another for the actual show dates. I know you think it's crazy to work only one week in the studio, to make as many beads, and expect to be prepared for Tucson. You know, you're right. You have to be a bit crazy and adventurous to take up such an endeavor and chance. I was determined to make it work and now reflecting back - you know what? - it lead me to where I am today, so it did work out!
After this show, working as an engineer, was never the same again. I was so happy when the company told me that they eliminated my job and department on April 20, 2005. It was SIX days from my 10 year anniversary where I would have won a company gold watch. Ah shucks, I missed that by SIX days!. My decision was made for me, right there, right then. It was time for me to fly off to new beginnings and start becoming the artist that I always knew was in me. One of the engineering directors that I worked with closely at the company contacted me two weeks after the "layoffs" and asked if I needed a job at a competing company. I gave my thanks and said "no I don't need another engineer job as I want to explore my art, glass and jewelry designing. If things don't work out, I'll give you a call". I haven't made that call yet and don't anticipate to ever. I even spent time attending the free occupational transition classes that the company offered, knowing full well that corporate life was a thing of the past for me.
The day I got laid off, I contacted my friend Kelly Thompson, owner of the San Gabriel Bead Company, and began shortly to work there part-time as I planned out my next moves. The San Gabriel Bead Company is where my artistic adventures started back in 2001. It was there that I discovered lampworking, metalsmithing, beadweaving... you name it, this is the best bead store around. And with my nice severance package, I was ready to jump right into booking as many "key" shows as possible and the Softflex Sonoma show was the first. While exhibiting there I met Marlene Blessing, editorial director of Beadwork Magazine and Marilyn Koponen, advertising director. Also there, I met the wonderful Gail Crosman-Moore, who invited me to exhibit with her at BABE that year. I gladly accepted. Well, as they say, the rest is history. (I'll tell more stories in future posts!)
I work REALLY hard now, harder than I ever worked in the corporate world as a senior quality assurance engineer, but I'm building something that I can call MY own. My own voice. My own art. My own image of what I want others to see me - see my art as - the stories that I tell through my work - whether I'm a glass artist, a bead artist, a designer, a writer, a metalsmith, a PMC artist, and a whole slew of other persona I will become overtime. I will always challenge myself to be better and better - growing, flourishing, learning and exploring all the intricacies of my creativity - and I hope you see that in my various works and follow me on this wonderful creative journey. Thank you for reading my thoughts, now let's return to the Manning House. (I can be quite verbose even with my writing! Yikes! You have been warned. Read on.)
I can't imagine a better setting for my work than the Manning House Mansion. Be sure to visit the Manning House link to read about this historical landmark, in the center of downtown Tucson and down the street from the Tucson Museum of Art. You must plan a visit to Tucson in the upcoming years during the gem shows in Jan/Feb to see this beautiful and elegant venue. It's really amazing all the work Colleen Concannon, CEO of the Manning House, and her team did to renovate and transform this glorious building to it's old grandeur. No detail was left unattended and the pictures will help tell the story in the next post. Check out the Manning House Beadshow site too for updated news on the upcoming 2009 show!