Tickets to the reception cost $13, and probably more at the door, but I had gotten the lower price by ordering mine online. Well, when I got to the door, I saw the ticket-takers handing each attendee a small organza bag. I opened mine and saw the sparkle of Swarovski crystal; a small handful of crystal beads, pearls and pendants in many shapes and sizes, all mine! I usually have such difficulty selecting what to buy, it was wonderful having it already picked out for me! Now, I am not such a bead geek that I have specific prices for various Swarovski elements memorized, but from my general knowledge of the prices I estimated that the value of the bag's contents were at least twice what I paid for my ticket--sort of like being paid in crystals to attend! (Later when I had computer access, I researched crystal prices and determined that the retail value of my bag was a whopping $58!) Here's what I got:
I got to see and touch beautiful works by many of my favourite influential artists like Jeanette Cook, Gail Crosman Moore, Joan Babcock, Leah Fairbanks, Anna Elizabeth Draeger, Christi Friesen and more. Sue Jackson had a beaded necklace with a red focal bead which had a Chinese character on it. The thing is, that focal bead was STITCHED!
When I first made my necklace, I thought it was cool and clever, but, seeing as it was merely simple square stitch done in only two colours in a simple pattern, I had NO IDEA how much it would resonate with people! But as I walked around, people stop and stare, gasp and come up to me, wanting to talk about it and touch it. People even remembered it and me from last year, including the lovely ladies Virginia Blakelock and Carol Perrenoud ( whom I privately think of as the 'founding mothers of modern beadwork'). When I walked up to Adrienne Gaskell's booth, I could hear a gasp of amazement run through the all women around the table at the sight of my necklace, and soon they were clustered around me! Later in the evening, recycled-bead artist Steven James begged to take a photo of it, and, undeterred by the missing last work, renowned chainmailler Spider bought it off my neck!