Monday, March 18, 2013

Annual Clear Lake Gem and Mineral Society show

This is a placeholder post in part, because the event it describes has already occurred for this year, but I'll refer back to this summary when future annual events roll around.

The Clear Lake Gem and Mineral Society show took place the weekend of February 23, 2013.  I'm mentioning this because it's really a nice event but it receives virtually no publicity.  Of those internet sites that do mention it, there are no photos and little to indicate what the show comprises.  For instance, here's the official show page, a recent Galveston Chamber announcement, and an Ultimate Clear Lake blurb from three years ago, but there's not that much in the way of additional info on the net at this point. 

It's held every third or fourth weekend in February at the Pasadena Convention Center.  For many years now, my family has referred to this as "rock show weekend". 
The Pasadena Convention Center is an older, smaller facility but it's really a neat place and immaculately maintained, almost as if it were frozen in time. 
  The participants run the gamut from rock and mineral dealers... jewelry-makers, both suppliers and finished product purveyors, to fossil dealers...
Regardless of your lifestyle, there's always room for ammonites special artistic displays...
The "rock food table" created by a couple from Robstown interactive opportunities...
Breaking open a geode - what's behind this ancient door #1? activities for the kids...
There is usually also a Scout table. 
...and also collecting opportunities for kids.
Three for two bucks... that can't even cover the dealer's costs.  Try finding the likes of that on eBay. 
Of course, I can never resist the kids' tables.  Here's what I picked up at this most recent show so that I can give them away to neighborhood kids (my perpetual ulterior motive:  the promotion natural sciences education).  It's good to take a picture like this so that the kids will have something to refer to as they learn to match the name to the specimen.
I don't have access to a typical annual dealers list, and there doesn't seem to be one on the internet.  I was only able to grab a small number of cards during the show this year.  The exhibitors are mostly from Texas and here are those represented by the very few cards I grabbed:
One regular exhibitor who was conspicuous by his absence this year was independent jewelry artist Walter Cooling of Uvalde.  His booth was set up, but he was not present on Sunday when we attended.  Dealers adjacent to his table reported to me that they had no information on where he was.
I can't find a webpage for Mr. Cooling, but here's a screengrab of some of his designs from this site.  There's an Etsy reference for WC Designs but nothing active. 
I had acquired a couple of Mr. Cooling's works over the years (always a fan of local independent micro-enterprises).  Mrs. Cooling and I had several long chats at previous shows about their husband-wife artisan business model.  She would hunt for rare mineral specimens on the internet and procure them, and she would also handle much of the selling, thus allowing her husband to concentrate on developing and executing his high-end but reasonably-priced designs.  I now see from internet announcements that Mrs. Cooling passed away a few years ago. 

Anyway, there's some info on yet another great local recurring event.  Even if you're not into rocks, minerals, fossils, and jewelry yourself, it's a great place to stock up for future gift-giving to either free-ranging neighborhood children or for more formal events such as holidays and birthdays. 

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