I won't be attending the Bead&Button Show this year (if you've been following my BrideStyle column at BeadStyleMag.com, you know why). There's many things I'll miss about the show: Giving myself permission to indulge in a giant soft pretzel after giving myself permission to spend way more than I intended on beads; tracking down the bead artists I've worked with all year over the phone and via e-mail but have never met face to face; and getting mistaken for Katie Hacker (OK, so that only happened once, but boy was I flattered!). But I think what I'll miss the most are...the bags.
For me, the most beautiful moment of the whole show is when I drive into Milwaukee on Day One and see a total stranger walking down the street - only she's not a stranger because slung over her shoulder is a large, often neon-colored bag emblazoned with the words "Bead&Button Show." At that sight, every nerve in my body comes alive with a sense of joy, belonging, and solidarity. My face cracks into a huge smile and a wave of relief washes over me: I am among friends. Brothers and sisters, really.
In other areas of my life, mentioning the word "beading" causes people to look at me cross-eyed. People wonder, What kind of occupation revolves around beads? Or else they hear "beating" instead of "beading." Many times I gloss over the specifics of my hobby by saying, "I work for a jewelry-making magazine." That usually staves off the follow-up questions, though likely not the confusion.
But at the Bead&Button Show, the people with the big, bright bags get me! No explanation necessary. Our slogan ought to be, "If you're here, you're one of us." And that kind of affirmation is worth way more than any discounted gemstone strands or stash of sterling clasps we'll bring away from the show. So show your solidarity and shoulder those bags!
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re: The Bead&Button Show: Big bags of solidarity
Thu, May 6 2010 9:29 AM
I was just thinking about this, myself, Stacy! I'm so excited to see all the bags - and the people carrying them!