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OK, I promised some friends and customers I would do my CHA (Craft & Hobby Assoc.) wrapup and since it's been a month... Well, here goes.
The first rule of CHA still applies. That is, if there is a particular someone you really don't wish to see, you will encounter that person within minutes of arriving at the show.
This year I had two people on my list. One is an old friend and I found out that she used to have the Art Director job that I was doing at the time. And I really wanted to avoid the whole, "So, what are you up to?" conversation. I saw her but was in line for my press badge, so other than a quick hug, we had no time to talk. Whew!
Number two is an artist I booked on Carol and fought to keep her on the show. She sweat profusely under the lights and was really discombobulated on air. I often would take my lunches to go to her house to prep her. After 9/11, she behaved like a spoiled brat and since I left the show, she acts like a five-year-old when I see her. (We belong to the same silver art group.) I was putzing with my cellphone trying to reach friends when I saw the rude artist out of the corner of my eye. I kept right on putzing... Whew #2!
With rule one out of the way, I got to enjoy the show. First, I got so much swag in the press booth, I had to go all the way back to the car first thing in the morning. I came back in and did a quick pass through new products.
Sorry to say, all was lackluster. I am amazed at the lack of creativity. First of all, there is still an overabundance of crapbooking materials. OK, I'm willing to admit I see no ART in this craft form. And what is the point of spending all that time to create something just to shove it in a book?
No offense intended if you are a crapbooker, but it was summed up best on Date /20-20 Minutes/ Primeline. The episode was a "Can this marriage be saved?" type of thing. The husband was saying, "I come home, I play with my kids. We go to soccer, gymnastics. We ride bikes, roller skate."
Reporter: "And what is your wife doing while you and the family are out playing."
Husband: "She scrapbooks."
It's like, you're so busy documenting your life, you actually miss your life???
CHA had a ton of new vendors hoping to break into that market.... Just when you think the market is oversaturated, here's all these new companies trying to break in.
The rest of the new products were not memorable except one. Here too, the lack of creativity astounds me. Someone has come up with a paint by numbers for grownups. They sell a painting on a canvas...really, it looks good enough to hang on the wall as it. But an oil "artist" can paint over it and texturize with the oils to add dimension. Yeah, I want to say I painted that!
I went on upstairs and hooked up with my dear friend Becky Meverden. I was her producer on Carol and we became fast friends. She's like another sister to me. She and her hubby, Curt walked the show with me. I have to say, it's such a pleasure to do a show with Curt. I'm used to having to pay attention and keep things on track. But he did that for us and hauled our heavy bags of magazines and samples all the way back to their hotel. What a sweetheart.
We ran into Carol Duvall at an autograph signing promoing her upcoming book. I begged Carol to write a book when I worked for her and now that she's "retired," she's finally done it! No surprise to me that she wrote it on her favorite craft medium, Paper. It should be a bestseller when it comes out in a few months.
Becky had her own book signing to get to...she's written her first jewelry book after writing many polyclay books. Below is a cell photo of Becky with her book.
While Becky signed books for her fans, I walked the show alone and ordered a ton of stuff for the shop. Show specials such as free shipping, BOGOs, or just percent off really helps a small shop like mine.
Later, Becky and I stopped by JHB to check out their buttons that Becky designed. Just as I was about to give up seeing anything new and really exciting... I found myself racing across the show floor to Armour.
Someone there thinks like me. As a sometime glass artist, I've often considered the feasibility of owning a sand blasting booth. (No room, too much money.) I really wished for some kind of inflatable thing to sand blast in and Armour has made one!
It looks like two swim toys connected by more plastic. You can insert your glass, their sand etch (sand attached to a propellant) and blast away. Their Sand Etch is so gentle, it won't even hurt your hands and it's refillable! No Waste! This excites me!
All in all, a good show but really only to see older vendors. It would amaze me to see any of the new ones back again next year.