I can't tell you how happy my ODC alter ego, Carrie, is about how this week of blogging is going to go. HA! You know how she loves organization. She is down right gitty at the timing of things and couldn't have planned it better herself. You see, my first full day in England envolved a bead show and book signing. And today is Twisted Tuesday! So, we get to remember my trip in chronological order!! YOO HOO... oh the silly things that make smile.
A few months ago when I started planning my UK visit, I sent an email to a lovely jewelry artist that I feel like I have known forever, Jo Tinley of Daisychain Jewellery. If memory serves, I know her from the Bead & Button forum days of years ago, but I could be wrong about that! Anyway, I asked Jo if she could recommend some good bead stores in London that I could get in touch with about turning this friendly visit into a "business trip". She gave me loads of suggestions and also mentioned that the publishers of Beads & Beyond were putting on a bead/stamp show called Artisan around the time of my visit. I got in touch with the editors of the magazine, Becky and Michelle, and we scheduled a demo/book signing for Totally Twisted!! How seriously cool is that? I got to say, to anyone that asked, "yeah, I am doing a book signing in the UK on Oct 2." I am a lucky girl and I know it!
The place where the event was held was the coolest place ever. I am used to BIG HUGE US shows that are held in gigantic convention centers where it can take 20mins to walk from one class room to the next. I loved the quiantness of the venue in Lemington Spa. I didn't ask a lot about it, but my impression was that the was an old farm that remodled the barn into a fantastic building to hold gatherings like these. Quite literally, you parked in the front field, you walked through a pasture with sheep and pear trees, with a red ivy covered house to the right, and there you are.
We started the visit with a quick lunch and got to chat a bit. I loved getting to meet Jo and Michelle and Becky in person! And although we only really chatted for a half hour or so, I learned so much. I had no idea what it means to work with metal in the UK and needing to have pieces hallmarked in order to be able to sell them as sterling, or gold. Here in the US, buyers take us at face value, trust that we are selling them what we say we are, and we leave it at that. If a piece has a hallmark, it is an artist's signature not necessarily to identify the quality of the metal. I sign my beads with a titanium pen in hidden places on finished pieces of jewelry, but oh how tempted I am after our chat to have a hallmark designed to stamp my jewelry with. Especially now that I will be working with metal more (hint hint, clue clue... I have an art show in 3 weeks, eeeekkkkk!! good things coming). Can I also say, I giggled inside everytime I heard them say "Artisan"? Yeah, they pronounced it art-is-zan, and I love the accent!!
Jo was really great about snapping photos while I did the demos and signed books. THANKS JO!! I ended up signing about a dozen books, which isn't horrible, but I wish I could have done more. These are a really great bunch of people and I was so excited to get to work with them. And, I hadn't realized how many times we have "worked together" before! Jo handed me two copies of back issues of Beads & Beyond where both this blog and my book had been featured!! It was so cool to see. When I am in a publication overseas, I don't know about it and they never usually tell me. It is really hit or miss if I can get copies of the issues too. One of the people watching me demo is sure she saw an excerpt from the book in another publication as well. It is wild, seriously. I am so thankful to be so loved :)