My friend Julia (Art of the Firebird) and I were at the Down the Street Bead Show this past weekend. The people were wonderful, as always; it is lots of fun to chat with returning customers, new ones, and of course other vendors. I'm always so thankful for the people who stop by and look, and talk, whether they buy or not! This year our friend Tara Roberts had made a pile of fleece hats with animal ears--everything from pert cats to long dangly rabbit and sheep ears--and several of us bought them. Julia and I each had one, and they were a conversation piece (AND were warm!). If you are on Facebook, Tara's husband John posted pictures of the show, including a picture of Tara in her bunny hat and other lampworkers in theirs.
In terms of money,the show was disappointing. Sales were slow across the show, and there was one four-hour block where we made only one sale. I was very thankful that at my faculty meeting on Friday I brought out my "box of sin" and was cleaned out of all my Prismacolor pieces! The other area of disappointment was Cobb Galleria's treatment of Miss Daisy, our favorite food vendor, who was ejected by the Cobb Galleria management. Audrey was very unhappy at that, as Daisy doesn't make much on these shows yet can't store the finished food--everything is seriously fresh, which is what makes it so yummy. So she bought Daisy out and then shared with all of us. Wouldn't take a penny, either. I hope that Cobb lets Miss Daisy back in next show; she's a lot of fun (and her chocolate is to die for!).
However, the slow pace of the show meant that I could finally sit down and figure out chain maille, which I have enjoyed ever since seeing Julia's absolutely gorgeous work. When I say "figure out chain maille," I am not implying that you can sit down and be an expert. What I figured out was how to hold my pliers, work, and rings while only spilling the rings seriously once. I still shed rings all over the floor (which I had to pick up ... and pick up ...) I started with a simple box chain, but I tarted it up with square wire. As a box chain is rather rectangular and, well, boxy, I thought I would see what happened when I used square wire. Lo and behold, it was elegant! I need to dig it out of the show box and take a picture of it.
Julia was working on a barrel chain with anodized niobium wire, and I really liked the look of the resulting bracelet. There's a trick to barrel chain! I hunted around on the web and found instructions to a barrel chain with a single inner ring, elegantly named Rhinos Snorting Drano. No, really. Who makes up these names? Anyway, RSD looked quite good in copper square wire, and was incredibly easy to construct. I like easy! I then tried half-Persian 3-1, but either my rings are too small, or the square doesn't work. I can see *how* to do it, but can't make the blasted things go. Will try again with larger rings.
So then I returned to the barrel chain, this time doing a real barrel chain. I added bright blue lampwork beads, with copper bead caps, and really liked the result.
I have the earrings made, too, but no picture. I really like the way this weave is soft in a round wire and is almost engineering-steampunk in the square wire. It makes a nice contrast with the soft blue of the beads.
One other thing about a slow show is that one gets to talk to other vendors, and in general, the vendors at the DTS shows are very generous with time and information. I got some more tips on the Prismacolour-on-copper process, and shared how I made my copper displays. , All in all, it was tiring--but a good time was had by all.
Now on to Christmas!