Here’s the 411 on the National Craft Convention

Photo from CHA Winter Show: Artist Traci Bautista in the Duncan Crafts booth teaching a Fabric Fusion headband “make it, take it” project to DIY Network TV hosts Jennifer Perkins and Vickie Howell, and TV producer Lisa Sicci. Thanks to Jen for use of the photo!

So..I just got back from the Craft & Hobby World’s Fair, a huge trade show produced by the Craft and Hobby Association.

Every time I mention the event to everyday crafters, they don’t quite understand what it entails. Before I begin power posting about all my adventures there (and boy were they ever memorable!), I’ll shed some light on what CHA is all about. Please keep in mind that I’m just sharing this info off the top of my noggin. If you want all the knitty gritty details, put on your specs and check out the CHA web site from top to bottom.

CHA is an organization that caters to the professional craft industry. That’s a pretty wide umbrella. It basically includes:

Manufacturers. These are the big and small companies that come with all those cool products we see on store shelves. Their mission is to set trends and come up with brand spankin’ new goodies for us to use.

Buyers. These are the merchandise buyers for large and small stores.

Designers. These are professional artists and crafters who come up with “out of the box” ideas for using those products to relay to the consumer. Many designers are also book authors and TV personalities.

Everyone is on the same page when it comes to the mission: to keep the crafts industry thriving! The actual trade show is held twice a year. The larger one is the winter show. It consists of 3,500 booths, 20,000 attendees and 46 nations!

This past winter show was held at the Anaheim Convention Center where rows and rows of exhibitor booths and vendors eagerly waited for buyers to come by, drool over their offerings and place mega orders. I’m talking scrapbook companies, plus paint, fabric, yarn and on and on. Many of the booths have demo tables where artists show clever ways to use the products. Also in the mix are publishing houses displaying their new titles. Many of the vendors have cocktail parties, author signings, contests, etc. Throughout the week, there are oodles of seminars, workshops and recpetions. There is just so much to soak up, it’s total madness. I wish I could have split myself into four people in order to cover it all.

Walking the exhibit floor are buyers, as well as book and/or magazine editors looking for new authors/designers. Plus artists hoping to get their work seen/published/picked up and media people in search of trends and perky personalities to profile. Many companies and TV shows film videos at the show that they will air later on in the year. Everything shown at the event will eventually be seen at retail level.

If you craft for a hobby and have always wanted to do it professionally – you totally can. You can join CHA and attend the show (they even have a designer showcase at the front of the show!), or you can start right now by picking up your favorite crafting and art magazines. Somewhere in there you’ll find a “call for submissions”, which lists the upcoming themes for future issues. Follow the directions and submit your work. The same works for books. Visit your favorite publishers web site to see how they take submissions. Now, if that sounds like too much work, you can always go grassroots stylee and start up a blog and post your projects there.

Ok, there’s the Crafty Chica 411 on CHA! Hope the info is useful!

Love & light,

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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