Sunday, January 28, 2007

African Art Village and More at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

OK.... as always, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show was a blast today. The first weekend generally is the same as Super Bowl weekend, but this year the Super Bowl falls on the second Sunday of the show. No matter, regardless of the hype the Super Bowl receives, the game won't put a crimp in the foot traffic at the show!

Alex (my daughter) and I really wanted to go see the African Art Village. I parked west of Interstate 10 off of Congress because I also wanted to poke around at the motels (see previous post). I had looked at the maps online and saw that the Africans were south of the motels, but WOW I didn't realize how far south they were. The African Art Village is south of 22nd Street. It was quite a hike from the parking on Congress Street. If you're going to see the Africans, there is parking south of 22nd Street, right next to them.
The Africans were wheeling and dealing-- beads, wooden and brass statues, beaded chieftan head gear (above), beaded arm chairs (amazing), baskets, hats, African food, very cool drums, kalimbas, gourd percussion instruments, original African paintings, $5 tubs of shea butter (often in fancy $20/tube body lotion at Bath and Body Works), you name it. I bought several different types of brass beads for necklaces (ranging from $7-$10 per strand), some recycled glass beads ($20/strand for thin beads-- lots per strand), and some smaller glass beads for $5/strand . The Africans deal some but not too much. Also, now some of them take plastic and checks. The African Art Village used to be primarily cash.

In addition to spending hours in the African Art Village, Alex and I visited a few booths at the Howard Johnson, the River Park Inn (formerly the Pueblo Inn), and the Days Inn. At the River Park Inn, I bought 300 feet of .015 Beadalon for about $10; this is the price for 100 feet in town!!!! I also bought 50 long headpins for $3.50 (very cheap) and a large bag of crimp beads for ~$13. At another booth in the same motel, I bought some really nice coral for $4/strand and beauthful abalone strands for $3 each.

In the yard of the Howard Johnson's, there were some great lapis lazuli deals and plenty of belly dancing gear! I bought a really nice lapis necklace for $12 and matching earrings for $2. I also bought several lapis and brass pendants (very ornate) for $2 each!!! Alex bought a fancy seed beed bracelet for $2. All of these were made in Afganistan. I liked the prices (obviously), but this made me feel sad. Those poor people. Imagine how much they were paid for such beautiful work! This is worse than Wal Mart.

Star sitings at the Gem Show: remember the TV show Dharma and Greg? I swear I saw Dharma's mother in the African Village. It was her hair and voice. Also, near the Afgan lapis, there was a guy who looked just like Hamid Karzi (Afgan president). He had the hair, the beard, and the clothes, but not the hat. I wanted to go up to both of them, but I didn't. So, these are unconfirmed sitings.

Anyway, now it's time to make some jewelry and some wall hangings! More on the Gem Show later. I didn't find everything on my list.

No comments: