Last month I spent a glorious week at the Marriott in Oakland, California taking classes at the Bead Expo. (http://www.beadexpo.com/beadexpo/)
With my beading buddy, Joy Newton, of Tucson, AZ, we spent four days straining our eyes as we learned new techniques in advanced beading and wire work.
Every day we'd skip lunch and run down to the exhibit hall marketplace and tour the rows of 200 vendors who were selling silver findings, gazillions of handmade beads in glass and ceramic, gorgeous, unusual clasps and every color, size, and shape of seed bead that you could ever desire.
Each night we'd find a nearby restaurant, have a glass of wine and recount our daytime adventures. Later, we'd have show and tell in our room...what we'd accomplished in class, what we'd bought and what we planned on buying for the next day!
Neither of us needs to add to our inventory but it is at shows like this where you find unusual and unique beads, findings and clasps, all of which can make your (my) finished piece a one-of-a-kind collector's item.