Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You'll Never Guess What I've Been Up To......

I had the honor of working with Thomas Mann in his 'Studio Flux' booth at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee this past week!! Tom contacted me about a month ago to see if I could help him, and I was thrilled that he asked me!!! I couldn't believe it!

The show was open Thursday through Sunday, so by Sunday evening I was really worn out. I have never been to the Bead and Button Show, so when I entered the exhibit hall on Thursday, I was totally overwhelmed with how large it was. I got to roam around a little when it was quiet at the booth, but I always carried my phone with me in case it started to get busy again. Geez...I'd get lost trying to get back to the booth!!!! It was sooo big, and there were so many isles, that I could've used a GPS to get back to it!!!!!

(Tom and Me Working In His 'Studio Flux' Booth)

Tom had a corner booth displaying his wonderful jewelry, metalsmithing supplies, and his new 'Learn to Saw' kits and DVD's. He even had an area in front where we gave sawing demos and people could learn how to saw and try it for themselves, using Tom's techniques. There were five bench pins mounted onto a workbench, so multiple people could practice at the same time. There were always three of us working in the booth...Tom, myself, and either Sarah Mann (no relation), or a gal named Holly. They are both great gals, and we all worked really well together.

(The Booth Before the Show Began)

(Another Shot of His Booth Showing the Sawing Station, Complete With Five Bench Pins)

Tom had a nice counter in the back of the booth, which was filled with all his fabulous jewelry and earrings, with a special enclosed case on the end that showcased his 'one-of-a-kind' pieces. He wanted to display some of my pieces along with his in that case, so he chose 3 pieces of mine, and showed them along with his! I could not believe the response I received to my pieces!!!!! Everyone absolutely loved my work! Each day of the show, I was also decked out in jewelry that I made for myself, and I can't begin to tell you how many people wanted to buy it right off of me!
I was just in shock...one woman even wanted to buy the earrings right out of my ears! I didn't sell them, though, because the pieces that I was wearing were usually the ones that had personal family photographs in them. Hmm.....maybe I should of sold them...I could've used the money.

(Some of Tom's Handiwork While He Was Giving Sawing Demos)

I met a lot of really nice people at the show. The woman pictured below had a great story to tell Tom....she was waiting to get into a show at the Riverside Theatre, and happened to look down at the ground. There was an earring laying there, so she picked it up. She immediately recognized it to be a 'Thomas Mann' earring, so she looked around to see if anyone was looking for it, and then slipped it into her pocket. She told us that when she got home, she decided to turn it into a necklace. She came back to the booth the next day, wearing her earring necklace to show us. I just had to take a picture of her!

(This Gal Found An Earring and Turned It Into A Necklace)

Another person I wanted a picture of was Tony Blackwell. Tony is a wonderful guy from South Carolina who had a booth at B&B. He does glasswork and casting, and his wife Lisa works with PMC and creates charms and completed jewelry pieces. He and his wife are sooooo nice, and are big fans of my work. I could never remember his name, so I always referred to him as 'Tattoo Guy!' Check out their website at www.zoaart.com. I've also got them linked on my "Kewl Places to Visit" on the side of my blog.

(That's me with Tony Blackwell, an Artist Who Does Glasswork and Casting)

(Tom Always Attracted A Crowd When He Gave His Sawing Demos!)
When we weren't busy helping customers, we would sit at the workbench and start sawing. It seemed like that would always attract folks to the booth. They would wonder what we were doing, and would watch. That's when we would show them how, and let them try it for themselves.

(Check out This Woman's Face - She's Thinking To Herself, "Wow, I Really CAN Do This!")

I had to take of picture of this boy. His name was Conlan. He came to Tom's booth with his mom, who is a metalsmith. I referred to him as "Jewelry Kid." He was really interested in Tom's work, and was really looking at some of the pieces he was interested in, seeing how they were constructed. You could just see the gears turning in his head! He even was wearing a necklace that he had made himself...it was a sterling backing that he stamped patterns on, with a vintage keyhole piece that he had found riveted onto the sterling. He really did a fantastic job on it. The part that I found sooooo amazing about 'jewelry kid'.............he was only 11 years old!!!!! Watch out Tom...you're gonna have competition in the future!!!

(Conlan, aka 'Jewelry Kid' - A Little Thomas Mann in the Making!!)

I had such an amazing time representing Tom and his work at B&B. It was sooo much fun, and I made a lot of new friendships while I was there. I also had a few funny 'open mouth, insert foot' moments, too....but I guess if you know me, you know that just about anything will come out of my mouth. Oh well.....

(And Last but not Least...Tom, Holly, and Myself after a Long Four Days of Working!)

When the show was finally over, Tom, Holly, and myself spent the next 2 hours breaking down the booth, and packing everything up for him, as he hits the road for his next stop in Pennsylvania. He took Holly and me to a wonderful little restraunt in Milwaukee, where he treated us to an absolutely wonderful meal. Gosh...he knows his way around Milwaukee better than I do, and he's from New Orleans!
I will be seeing Tom again this year...I'm taking his Soldering Workshop over Labor Day at Valley Ridge Art Studio, in Muscoda, WI.


Crystal said...

Jill what a well deserved honor ~ to be called to work beside Thomas Mann and be allowed to show your own pieces alongside his must have been a thrill. Your work is very inspiring and I can see accumulation of all the classes you've taken come together in your own unique and expressive style. So many of your loved ones have been honored through your hands and your heart!
I'm so sorry to hear that your dog passed away. Pets are so much a member of the family, this must have been difficult.
Thanks for stopping by my blog today. It is always a treat to hear from you. Someday we'll have to plan a playdate together. We live so close!

kecia said...

wow, jill, that was fun to read all about your time at the bead show and working the booth. what an experience! i think next year i'd like to attend that (but only if thomas is there again!) what a great opportunity for you. thanks for sharing. i agree, "jewerly kid" was very cool.

dogfaeriex5 said...

wow is right! sounds like you had a wonderful time and you should feel so proud that you got to work along side thomas mann as you are every bit as talented..your work speaks for itself...xo

Jill Marie Shulse said...

Thanks, Kecia and Kim...As far as I know, Tom is going to be at Bead and Button next year with his booth, and I think he may possibly be teaching a workshop there as well.