The American trip (2007) photos are now on another page which I have cunningly called: "The American Trip".

   I just returned from my trip to America and the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee.
   I flew into Los Angeles, via a quick stop in Hong Kong, this time. Customs were very professional and I was through there in a matter of minutes. I stayed overnight at the Hilton hotel near the airport. (I hate trying to make connecting flights and the hotel was only a 15 minute - free - shuttle bus trip.)
   I had a direct flight with Mid West Airlines to Milwaukee, so no worries about the weather anywhere else or countless lots of security. In fact, what can I say but downright boring, thank-you, You-know-who!
   I went to an electroforming workshop with Kate Fowle Meleny on the Tuesday. It was held in the manager's office in the Hilton and there were eight of us in the class. Chris Butler, husband of Annlee who works for Woodland's publishing, was also in the class.
It was fantastic! I must say that I have never received more value for $250 spent.
   We each received a large bead made by Kate which we painted with copper solution. (We got to keep the container of copper solution.) Then our beads were balanced on copper wire and put into the electroforming baths (we each had a separate one which meant there was no mix ups when the beads were finished.) Not that it would have mattered as the beads ALL turned out fantabulously.
Kate had made little stoppers to go on the end of our pendants and after we had patinaed our copper areas she individually made up each of our necklaces with a stainless steel cable and a sterling silver clasp. Value or what!!!
   I can honestly say that Kate is one of the most generous teachers I have ever come across.
   We had already been given class notes to which I added a few scribbled sketches but Kate topped this by giving us all the class on a cd, complete with photos of all of the steps.
   The show set up was either Wednesday or Thursday so I did a bit on each and it opened on the Thursday afternoon at 4 and went until 10 that night. This was for wholesale traders only but it was still well attended. Friday was from 10 until 9, so it was another long day.
   The weather was a lot more muggy this year with the mornings a bit drizzly. However on Friday it was raining steadily all day and then to cap that, there were tornado storm warnings for Saturday.
Who would have thought it, the weather bureau actually got it right!
We awoke to teaming rain and virtually had to swim to the venue. Lucky it was just down the street. Needless to say, there were fewer people out and about and by the afternoon everyone was told not to try to leave the venue and to stay in the main body of the venue and away from the foyer and the windows. It continued to bucket down for the rest of the day and night and we heard later that the eye of the tornado passed about two miles away which seems like quite a distance until you are actually there.
   This whole scenario was repeated on Sunday, except it stopped raining long enough for us to get our belongings back to our hotels.
   The good thing about it being quieter was that I got to have a bit of a look around. I bought a bead and a 'marble' (it is conical) from Wayne Robbins who makes the lost brilliant borosillicate frogs; a barrel bead from Larry Scott (I had breakfast with him and his wife as they stayed at the same hotel.) and Sharon Peters swapped me a 'cat in a hat' for one of my triffid beads. Mike Frantz had some lovely green rods from his personal stash as well as a new Double Helix glass which hasn't been released yet and a great sale on some Vetrofond colours.
   I went and saw Cat at Cattwalk press and came away with two more presses and then her husband came to see me at my booth  and GAVE me a new press he had designed! Boy are these nice people!!!
   I returned to Los Angeles for a week after the show and went to the Getty Museum which is the most amazing architectural structure on top of the mountains and the art work there is phenomenal. So many of the works of art that I saw in books when I was studying art at school and college are there. It leaves you speechless!
   I also went to the Petersen Automobile Museum which houses a major collection of cars and was also displaying the Hotwheels collection. They even have a life size Hotwheels car. How to lose yourself for hours in amongst the old Rolls Royces and Batmobiles.
   I then flew to Hong Kong again to catch up with a friend, Rosalie, who I hadn't seen for several years. What can I say, we went shopping! I haven't been to Hong Kong for over twenty years and it has changed a lot. Globalization has taken over quite a bit and there aren't as many bargains there as there used to be but there are enough to keep me interested for a few days. The night markets and jade markets are much the same and never has the saying that you get what you pay for been more apparent.
However, it was lovely to catch up with Rosalie and Tony and her two sons who are totally brilliant musicians.
I had a good flight home and was extremely happy to see Fio and my sons at the airport.
Although I am hoping to go to Milwaukee again next year I must say that we are certainly lucky to live here with our fresh food and calm weather.

Bead and Button Show 2008.
Electroformed bead by Kate Fowle Meleny