The 2013 Craft and Hobby Association trade show is the 6th event I've attended since I first discovered this organization. It's gets better and better every time I go. The people are amazing, the creativity is phenomenal and the energy will keep you motivated long after the show ends. I always learn so much and come home inspired to create more, share more and explore more ways to improve my skills. Regardless of where your creative expertise lives in the realm of talents, attending this event has benefits for everyone. Here are 10 reasons I continue to go to this show…
Photo note: you're not going to see juicy images of brilliant craft projects or glorious new craft products. 1 reason is because I didn't have my camera out and ready every second of the show.. photography on the show floor is not always allowed and I spent most of my time talking.. and since I can't walk and chew gum, I didn't want to try to talk and shoot photos either. But I'll share delicious project photos later, for now, let's drift off into what I like to call… the arena of craft heaven where glitter is in the air and everything smells of glue. (love!).
Ways to interact and get involved at the Craft and Hobby show
- Sneak Peek: New Products for all realms of the art, craft and creative communities
Because this is a trade show, the focus for most exhibitors is showing off their products to potential retail buyers. So, you'll often hear about new products, potential new products or concepts and variations to products you already know and love. There are plenty of opportunities to explore new product lines and chat with those that know how to use them. It's a ton of fun. Walk the show floor and look for trends, new ideas and brands. Some things I noticed… loads of bright colors and multi-purpose products plus products that encourage cross medium use. Think one product that can help you be creative in many ways instead of just one… gotta love multi-tasking, right?
- Learn Techniques, Tips and Tricks to improve your creative talents
Many of the exhibitors have an area in their booth where they show off their products with a hands-on approach. You can watch a demo or participate in a “make-n-take”. Try the products with an expert on hand to show you how to best use the products. It's really great to be able to sit and chat with someone that knows the different techniques for success in making fabulous projects.
- Keep and eye out for Examples of Creativity to Inspire your own creations
Most of the booths have examples of projects made with their products. It's so cool to see what other people come up with especially when it's products and materials I also use. I think it's so inspiring to see the different perspectives in tangible form.
- Networking with More Creative Minds
From the professional Designers to the product developers, there is always someone nearby with a creative mindset to swap ideas and share inspiration with. Many of the booths have designers there ready to show off how to use a product or demo a new technique. They're always happy to “talk shop” when it comes to creativity. I really love meeting new creatives, exploring companies I haven't yet networked with and share ideas for more project ideas. You can also run into folks at the hotel bars, lobbies and even Starbucks. Just smile and say hello, you never know who you might meet! I met a lot of great new people in the elevator and the concierge lounge at the Marriott.
- Attend Fabulous and Fun Events to Mix and Mingle
No matter which section of the show membership you belong to, manufacturer, retailer, Designer or press, there's plenty of opportunity to mix and mingle. The CHA organization hosts a number of events that will allow you to rub shoulders with names and faces you might not otherwise run across. Depending on which groups you belong to and which companies you work with, there are also a ton of after-show dinners and minglers. I attended the Favecrafts blogger event which allowed me to chat with a number of companies looking to work with designers and bloggers that I hadn't previously met – great event!
- Learn Something New Every Day
Every day of the show there were classes and sessions available on a wide range of topics. From the keynote speaker and big panel discussions to intimate classrooms intended to teach a new method of some technique, there's always an opportunity to learn something new. I took a ton of notes (which I'll share later) and also took the opportunity to meet the speakers… again, usually learning something new.
- Make a Creative Difference
I think the most important reason I continue to attend this show and what I love about it the most is the opportunity to inspire more creativity. You might think, with so many like minds, there's little to learn – but really – every time I go I gain so much. Being able to share this knowledge, help inspire new ideas with others and maybe even help convert a non-creative mind into a crafting fan… it's a fabulous seat to sit in.
Doing some do – all the folks in the center were dancing with embellished bras on as a big flash mob to promote awareness for a local breast cancer organization. Charity Wings has organized a different proactive event at many of the CHA shows.
If you walked it all, there's miles of craft happiness waiting to be discovered!
This is just a peek at the room filled with some of the best craft bloggers in the industry and a wide variety of fantastic manufacturers. Can you see the creative halos?
(these are the folks at the top of the organization making things happen)
At the end of every CHA show, the organization hosts a party to close out the event with a bit of fun networking and mingling. This time the theme was “luau” although it was unseasonably cold in Anaheim so the party had to be moved inside. I have a photo I can't share becuase it doesn't do the event justice of a dance floor of crafters doing the Gangnam Style dance – too funny! (My spell check wants to correct that to “gingham”..
Some of the goodies I brought home from the show. This little carryon was packed with nothing but craft supplies from all kinds of companies. Yarn, paint, glue, buttons, ribbon, stickers and tons more. Over the next few weeks I'll be showing off these great products and sharing ideas of what you can do with them.
Some of my favorite “take-homes” from the CHA Winter 2013 show include:
- Meeting Terry
This was the artist painting at the DecoArt booth. He shared some great stories he's experienced over the years. You could see the twinkle in his eye when he talked about art and it reminded me of why I'm so passionate about creative share. He is a really neat man to talk with.
- Brainstorming with Influential Minds
I had multiple opportunities to sit and swap ideas with people that sit in big positions at various companies. Swapping ideas, brainstorming on the spot and learning about different mindsets is what really gets my mind swirling. I loved every minute of it and hope that I was able to offer something inspiring in return. There's always celebrities and big wigs at this show, from TV personalities and super star creatives to CEOs some of your favorite creative companies. What a great way to get a little closer to creative genius, than to stand and chat with one!
- Cre8Time movement announced
At the CHA 2012 Summer show there was a sneak peek of a new movement to help inspire creativity and encourage everyone to get back to exploring their crafts. At this show that movement, aka cre8time, was revealed both online and on the show floor. There was a large lounge area featuring information and creative inspiration (designed by 10 Designers, including me). You could hang out, chat with other attendees and learn more about the movement. It was neat to see the word spread throughout the show and have discussions with a variety of people. How do YOU want to cre8time?
If you want to see some more tasty craft goodness from the CHA winter 2013 show, here are some other great recaps that share photos that are sure to inspire you to get out and get creative.