Monday, April 14, 2008

Show Stop: April 11-13, 2008: Bead Fest Miami

(click any photo for an enlarged view)

This year I am keeping to my promise of capturing my travels to share with you all. Not everyone can attend the big shows but you can be there through my camera.

Step into my third Show Stop this year, as I take you on a visual tour of Bead Fest Miami, held for the second time at the Convention Center adjacent to the Miami Sheraton Mart Hotel. This is my SECOND time in the beautiful city of Miami. Last year, I stayed at the hotel during most of the show. I don't know why I did that since I always have a rental car every show I exhibit.

This year was a different story. I flew American Airlines early non-stop flight at 6 a.m. so I could arrive in Miami early to do some exploring with my camera. This was the FIRST time I flew American Airlines but fortunately after a few chaotic running around finding the right line to do this and that, I made my way to the gate in time. The flight was also on time. Lucky for me considering all the horrid stories regarding this airline in recent weeks!

I have so many wonderful photos to share from this trip that I'll break them up into several posts by subjects. You will be flooded with visual stimuli and after my photos, you too will want to visit Miami on your next vacation! What a beautiful city with beautiful sites, beautiful people, beautiful (and delicious) food - simply put, one word BEAUTIFUL! I was inspired by many elements this city offered.

It is always a challenged to haul many luggages on these trips but remember I am training for my Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure, (I know you've heard me ask before but please donate to my walk. I am $1800 from my initial goal but by far not even close to raising $10,000 between my three team members. My birthday is coming up so I hope you will donate to support me in lieu of birthday cards, presents, or material items to me. I don't need anything but I DO NEED your support to show the world what bead people can do. Thanks in advance. My birthday is May 4th and I would so love to see your name on my donor list!!) so I went to pick up my car from Budget. Guess what I got? I got this little red Chevrolet. I tell you, my guardian angel is watching over me this year. So many signs of "RED" in my life that it is surely a sign of good fortune, good luck, and good prosperity. This is THE year that I get lots done. As in Portland, this trip revealed many signs that I am moving in the right direction and making fabulous connections! More to follow on this.

So after I checked into the Sheraton Miami, I was familiar with the neighborhood from last year's trip, so I strolled down to Publix to get necessities like water, snacks, carrots and some bananas. I don't eat during the show and so one banana each day keeps me going until the show ends - then I have a fabulous dinner! I like to eat HEALTHY if I can but I could not resist the Taro, Plantain, Cassava and Sweet Potato chips I found at Publix. So yes, I bent some rules and splurged a bit on these tasty treats but as a lover of all things food (within reason, not like Bizarre Foods by Andrew Zimmer but more like Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations! - visit Brasserie Les Halles in Manhattan, New York!). In the end, I didn't eat all the chips and bought most of the bags back home to extend my enjoyment of these wonderful snacks in future days and to remember my Miami trip! YUM! In order to fit the chips in my check in luggage, I went to the USPS to ship back excess inventory at the end of the show. Anything to make room for good food (and snacks!)

After I dropped off the snacks at the hotel, I found directions to SOUTH BEACH. I will have to designate several posts to photos I captured in South Beach, so let's go to Bead Fest Miami together, shall we?

As you walk into the doors, you are met with the fabulous Team Interweave of Bead Expo and Bead Fest. (Pictured above is Kristen Gibson and Bryan Stathopoulos) The setup in Miami was smaller than in Portland, so the Interweave booth only showcase recently published magazines. Because I knew this in advance, I could not NOT have my book, Bead Romantique, there and disappoint Miami patrons, so I prepared a case of 36 books to the hotel in advance. I later found that my friend Jane Overman, of Jane's Fibers and Beads (the photo of Jane's amazing booth did not come out!! Shucks!), also thought along the same lines and had an extra TWO cases of books to the show for her booth. I am happy to announce that I SOLD OUT of my case of books before the end of the show on Saturday! Yay! THANK YOU everyone who came to my booth for a chit-chat and provide me your feedback on my book. Your overwhelming response and appreciation brings great joy to me that I continue to work hard to build "a beading world". Get cracking at those Bead Romantique projects and next time I am in Miami I hope to see some of you visit my booth with finished designs! Most importantly, just have FUN with the creative process.

My Booth

My booth configuration in Miami was smaller than Portland but I packed as many goodies as I could while keeping with a nice flow of design. I am so picky and particular on how my work is displayed that it takes me DOUBLE the time to setup than most people because every angle has to line up properly. Each dish and display must be spaced just right (the engineer in me!). I think the presentation of one's work is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the quality of the work.

Can you see the beautiful Japanese Professional Precision Tools and the 15" Digital Frame. Oh! I love tools and electronic gadgets. And of course the camera I used in Miami was THAT Kodak from Nick but I can't complain too much as it did it's job. I will make time to break in my Canon Powershot G9 for the next Show Stop. No excuses and I'm dying to see what the hand stabilizer will do to my indoor photography. For some reason the Kodak does not take excellent indoor photos. Oh well, maybe that is why this is NOT my camera. I love teasing Nick about his traveling camera (he has two Kodaks!) I better be nice because he may not loan the Kodak to me in the future. Actually, he is slowly being converted to the Canon and has been looking at MY camera with desire! No one touches MY TOYS! No one. I will share most things but not my toys. Ahaha!

Meet Some of My Exhibit Neighbors

Beyond Beads LLC - New York

Meet Rajeev, owner of Beyond Beads LLC from New York. What can I say about Rajeev that will not make him blush? Or maybe I will make him blush as he just started reading this blog. Having been a show shopper as well as exhibitor, I thought I met most of the exhibitors already. I often like to walk around while setting up (Okay, so the truth is out that I only take twice as long to setup because I am socializing with my neighbors. I admit I like to talk to people to know who my neighbors are. It's amazing what connections you make during these spurts of conversation!!) to see who is there. I don't talk to everyone during setup because everyone is SO busy, but there are some folks that just "tell me" I have to open my BIG mouth.

Being the curious one I spotted some lovely gemstones at Rajeev's booth. Rajeev was there with two friends, Paul and Deepak. I couldn't help but look and of course, started getting these wild design ideas on the fancy shaped gemstones I saw. My wide big eyes were sparkling and already spending lots of money. Kaching. Kaching. I'll let you know that I have self-control. It was DIFFICULT because Rajeev had many beauties! but I overcame my sparkling gemstone desires (until Phoenix where I'll have more time to BUY!) You MUST restrain yourself, if you exhibit in so many shows, to NOT sink into spending spending spending. Besides, I generally try not to buy too much when I fly because I have to pay excess weight (enough to fly another person with me to each show! I hand carry EVERYTHING in 3-4 70lb suitcases!) At Bead Expo Phoenix, I've already made appointments with several new friends, to make some hefty purchases. I can't remain good too long and will just have to succumb to my gemstone wishes! I have many ideas for future projects so will "need" these components. Or at least that is what I tell Nick. (wink, it's our little secret, okay?)

Actually where was I going with this? Oh yeah! I meet a LOT of people at shows and I enjoy talking to everyone. There are rare moments when you come across people that you feel as though you have known them for longer than a few minutes. At least that's in my case. The moment I started speaking with Rajeev, who entertained my questions on his gemstones, I KNEW that he was going to be my friend. Rajeev is a rarity in the bead world, who has such a warm inviting personality for which I discovered in our many discussions during and after the show. I look forward to our future conversations. I can out talk most people and kept the poor guy up past 11:30 p.m. on several occasions. Ooops. Shut me up, will you? I never get exhausted from or shy away from good conversation.

I would have to say that Rajeev's friends Deepak and Paul were equally entertaining to be with. I will protect the innocent and won't divulge what Paul did to Deepak at the Waldorf Tower Hotel where we all had dinner Saturday. I had a fun time with the Indian version of the Three Stooges. The food was delicious as I had the Miami Mahi for dinner but the company was even better.

Nearly every show I have exhibited, I am fortunate to be next to some fantastic people. Susan Nestor is no different and actually a wild little girl (I can say this because I am taller than Susan. I normally don't find people shorter than me so I live it up when I do. Just kidding, Susan) She is a bundle of energy and kept me alert for the show since I was battling a cold (which finally caught up to me when I flew back. Better late than during the show! Yikes!) Thanks Susan!

Susan makes these wonderful message and picture beads from mostly resin but also wood. I love the stories that could be told through her work and I hope to collaborate with Susan in the future. I didn't have a chance to capture Susan beautiful self so I will do MUCH better in Phoenix and take a photo of Susan to share with you all. If you are coming to Bead Expo Phoenix, don't forget to check out Susan's lovely designs.

White Cloud Inc. - New York

White Cloud Inc has a plethora of silver, vermeil and findings to help you tie that design together. It is the finishing touches that add to the complete design. Veeneta, Ahmed and Mr. V (his name is too long to pronounce so I called him "Mr. V") of White Cloud are such wonderful people. Veeneta shared some of her homemade Indian bread with me on Sunday during breakdown and it was oh so delicious with curry flavors. YUM. I love Indian food. What am I saying, I LOVE FOOD in general and enjoy the flavors each culture has to offer. Thank you Veeneta! You have good hard-working boys helping you! (Ahmed and Mr. V was eyeing my 15" digital frame for their bedroom to watch movies! ahahah) See you at the next show or in Santa Monica!

So these were just some highlights of Bead Fest Miami. I had many more photos but they didn't come out good enough to share and I want to stop embarrassing the Kodak camera "for now". My other booth neighbors were Bokamo Designs, Singaraja Imports, and Multi-Creations NJ.

More photos and stories from Miami in the next few posts

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