As I write this post, the first half of my west coast trip is winding down. For the last 5+ days, I have been attending the Craft & Hobby Association annual conference in Anaheim, California.
The CHA Mega Show, as it is now called, is an annual event in which manufacturers, buyers and designers come together for 5 days of education, buying, selling and networking. It is the time when many companies release their new products and many retailers try to figure out what will be best sellers in the crafts and arts industry. For designers and bloggers, the show is typically thought of as the biggest perk of CHA membership but in fact there are a lot of other benefits as well.
This is the second year I have attended. I came with a plan this time and ended up having a very productive experience and good time -- as can be seen below...
Day One was education day, with workshops and seminars held throughout the day. I taught a workshop called Mixed Media Layer Conveyer to 50 attendees and somehow managed to feel like I knew them all very well by the time the workshop ended.
The workshop focused on paint techniques to create dimensional layers. I was too busy to take too many pictures but here are a few detail shots of some of the participants' pieces.
I am sending a shout out to Imagine Crafts, PaperArtsy and StencilGirl Products for providing some of the workshop supplies and the very ample sample kit that all class attendees took with them.
I was joined at the hip with Mary Beth Shaw and Pam Carriker all day, as we each assisted in each others workshops. Traci Bautista also taught that day and we had fun sharing students and notes.
Day 2 saw the opening of the show floor, where all the exhibitors displayed their products in creatively-designed booths. There is always a huge crowd at the ribbon cutting waiting to get in and this year was no exception.
There were over 400 exhibitors and I managed to at least walk BY every booth over the course of the show. Naturally I walked INTO many of the booths as well. This is a wholesale event so I was not there to purchase any supplies. But I did get samples of some new products that I plan to experiment with -- and share with you in later blog posts.
Just a few of the booths and/or displays that caught my eye included...
Spellbinders Paper Arts
Spellbinders Paper Arts
Spellbinders Paper Arts - I am not the only person blown away by their display as it won an award for best booth at the show.
My Mind's Eye
I was fortunate to be able to give away signed copies of my workshop DVDs at the F+W Booth.
The people who stood in line for my DVDs were a patient and fun bunch, as can be seen by the evidence below...
The best part of the show for me was connecting with other creative people, networking with a number of different companies, and seeing the success of so many of my friends...
Dina Wakely's newest journaling book
Finnabair's line of mixed media products with Prima
Pam Carriker seeing her new book with F+W for the first time
Though the sun may have set on CHA 2015, its effects will last for some time. Stay tuned for another post where I share my thoughts on the trends coming in 2015. And part 2 of my travels in California.