OK, a good night's sleep, a good breakfast, donated blood, and now
can think more clearly.
I have not read much of what has been written to this point, so may
be repeating a bit. No, not a senior moment.
Overview of Tucson. I have in the past spent some days at the
Mineral and Fossil shows, they were in the past rather clustered in
a few downtown motels. I drove to the Drachman, Oracle, Stone street
areas and found close to a ghost town. Several of the previously
used motels were very quiet.
I parked at the Best Western and went in for a beer and a look see.
Nothing was familiar, the Lobby was over cluttered and the usual
vendors were not there. The bar is just off of the Ballroom and was
a pass through to vendors. The Ballroom doors were tightly shut.
When I asked why, I was told "no one is in there." I had my beer and
Later I learned there was a very poorly thought out move by the part
of the management of Best Western and most dealers changed to the
Smuggler's and Clarion. I suspect this is a permanent move. Dealers
were much happier at these venues and most likely things will pick
up next year.
My reason for spending a few days at these shows is my desire to
find unusual stones for incorporation into my fabrication. I do not
care for "calibrated" anything.
Now off to the Jewelry area. I have a deep loyalty to vendors that
participate in Orchid and patronize them first. Rio, enough cannot
be said about their support of Orchid and "us." Yes of course it is
a business for Rio, but we benefit greatly. A definite win/win
The very first two people I met at Rio were two fellow classmates
from our UCSD Jewelry Studio. They spent the better part of three
days attending the free demonstrations generously offered. We
attended a luncheon and at our table most of us were from that class
and San Diego area.
Questions were asked of Rio and well responded too. My inquiry
regarding spooling of wire, adequately answered me, and although I
prefer coiled rather than spooled, I do not feel ignored.
There is nothing anywhere to compare with the ability to meet
product developers and discuss directly the why's and where fore's
of an item. Lee Marshall of Boony Doone, Cindy Litchfield of Cloud
Dome, Bill Fretz of Fretz Miniature Stakes, etc. I missed Ray
Grossman of Jump Ringer, he was not well enough to attend but his
product was well represented. Blaine Lewis of new Approach School,
Dana Singer of SNAG, Brad Simon of Bench, Karen Christians of
MetalWerx were just a few I remember off the top of my head. All
there sharing, a great feeling.
Andrea Hill, CEO of Rio, and all division and product managers, were
in attendance and available at all times. For me personally, it
could not have been better.
Next stop, the Holidome, sticking with my credo of supporting those
who support Orchid, I stopped at the booth of Kenneth Singh, 46th
Street Jewelers Supplies. Kenneth is an unsung avid supporter of
Orchid members. His posts and responses never say "buy from me." He
responds to inquiries without saying he sells that specific product.
A very ethical and honest business man. It is a pleasure to buy from
him. In actuality, I am an impulse shopper, and once the product is
in the house, I wonder why did I ever buy that. Kenneth has steered
me away from unnecessary purchases, or unwise ones. He carries most
name brand products and at excellent prices. If you are in New York
City, give him a look see, if not in the area, check out his site
and new e-bay store.
There was much to see at the Holidome, millions of Pearls strung out
across many vendors. Never thought there were so many Oysters in the
Seas. I love the natural colors and find some of the dyed colors
garish. Yes of course I purchased a few bunches.
Art Clay offered free classes at their booth, and this year I
decided to take one. They generously give a 5 gm package to everyone
taking the class and then lead you through the entire process to
complete a piece of jewelry.
Paula Radke a glass bead artist had contributed to Art Clay a bag of
Dichroic beads, and they were also given to each student. Art Clay
and Dichroic Beads in hand, I used the wonderful tools available
free at the table and designed myself a pair of earrings. They came
out so well, I have received compliments each time I wear them out
and around the shows. My thanks to Art Clay and Paula Radke for
Art Clay had a booth full of products, but respecting their
distributor's, they did not sell at their booth. customers were sent
to another booth for purchases, and in exchange for the receipt
showing Art Clay purchases, upon return to Art Clay booth received
10gr of Art Clay Silver. A very generous offer.
I next went to the TEP, aka Tucson Electric Park. Well I love that
place because so many of the dealers I have come to know and love
are there for a full two weeks. Diamond Pacific, Alpha Supply and
Kent's tools. Yes many sell the same things, they also respect one
another. I make sure I buy from each and every one of them. That is
my way of thanking the wonderful three generation family that is
Diamond Pacific, Tom, of Alpha Supply and Kent of Kent's Tools.
I cannot be a major purchaser of any of the above, I have always
been treated kindly and fairly despite my tight budget, and this is
my way of publicly thanking all of them.
There are others, Daniel Grandi of Racecar Jewelry, far and away a
very well respected caster, and a deep supporter of Orchid, giving
freely of his expertise whenever needed, and like Kenneth Singh,
never taking advantage of Orchid by advertising his business, so I
will do it for him.
A personal recognition of the deep friendships that develop among
Orchid members, I so appreciate seeing Judy Willingham, Pam Chott &
Joe, Barbara Atkinson, Kate Wolff, Loren Damewood, Cynthia Eid, Dave
Arens, Sam Patania, Pat & Terry Glover among many others I cannot
think of at the moment. This is a once a year event, but treasured
throughout the year and the next year already anticipated.
A special thanks to Helen Edwards, a new friend who opened her home
to me. She did not like the idea of my sleeping in my car, and told
me so in no uncertain terms. The new friendship will flourish as
most Orchid friendships do.
I do believe opening our homes to one another can be further
developed. I know the cost of traveling to another city to take a
workshop greatly increases the cost of attending, then a hotel on
top of that can be the reason to not participate. So, I am here in
Oceanside, California, San Diego County. I do have a guest room as
well as a few couches and lots of floor space for sleeping bags. I
invite any Orchid member coming to this area to be my house guest.
Workshop or just a vacation.
To Hanuman and Ton, you both know you are deep in my heart, I thank
you for the wonderful friendships I have made simply because you two
are who you are.
In deep appreciation,