Monday, July 25, 2011

CHA Impressions

Posing by the October Afternoon CHA booth
CHA was amazing. My head is still spinning and it's taken me this long to feel like I can even give you my impressions of the experience. I had the intention of blogging it all right away but honestly was completely unprepared for the huge impact this conference and trade show would have on me. I went with my friend Shelley from Single Stone Studios and we thought we'd go in and just sort of scope out the people and opportunities with the idea that we'd attend our next one knowing what to expect and able to really be proactive. We were not expecting to meet as many people as we did, we were not expecting to be given as much advice and guidance as we were. We were both totally unprepared for how generous, open, and encouraging everyone was. We both felt like we were suddenly in this cool club without really knowing how it was that we got there.

Crafty Couture by Jen Cushman and Claudine Hellmuth
The conference part of CHA started on Monday so I flew into Chicago on Sunday night where I met Shelley. Monday morning we dived right in, our first seminar was a round table discussion for designers. I've never been to a round table thingy and thought it was so cool to walk into the room and see all these round tables that seated about 8, all with some neat-o sounding topic and discussion leader. We were late and so sat down at the table closest to the door and that happened to be the go to table  for info on the CHA designers council. We were both feeling like complete newbies so this was just a little gift from God that we were able to chat with people who really knew the organization and could point us in the right direction right from the start. They also told us about a  design council meeting that we were able to attend later that night that proved to be hugely informational. Then it was time to switch it up and I made a bee line for Jen Cushman's table which had the title, The Editor's Eye. I SO love Jen Cushman's articles on the Create Mixed Media site. Besides having a background in journalism, Jen has a ton of other experience in the craft/art industry AND has authored the book Explore. Create. Resinate, a book about using ICE Resin in your art. In case you missed it, Tonia Davenport wrote a fabulous review of the book, that you can see here. Jen was super sweet, she knew who I was and even has a copy of my book. It was surreal to hear her give a glowing opinion of it (and I'm sure that by the end of our little chat I was completely glowing too). So a fabulous, wonderful way to start.

The new Vintaj embossing machine
As for first impressions- the theme for this summer's CHA was Mixed Media and I was completely struck by how new the concept of mixed media was to the attendees. It's like it was this completely new thing that nobody knew what to do with but everyone knew they needed to understand so that they could bring the products, techniques, and projects that mixed media artists want to their buying public. Walking the trade floor I realized that the majority of companies there were companies that cater to the scrapbooking trade. The aisles were full of paper products. Many of these companies were trying to move into the mixed media realm by adding dimensional products to their paper product lines. By dimensional I mean mdf cutouts, chipboard, rubber embellishments, and flowers- lots and lots of flowers, made from any and all materials at hand. There were some really innovative products though. The one that literally had me jumping up and down in their booth was by Vintaj. They've created this little pressure machine that will create impressions on their little metal blanks. They have two types of plates, one creates a deep embossed look, and the other more the delicate appearance of an etching. I've been wanting to texture metal for a while and this seriously was just so so cool to see. Vintaj has also partnered with Ranger products which you can use on the metal to create an enameled look. AGAIN, so so cool!!!

I've got a ton more to tell you about - more interesting people, experiences, and products. But it's late and time for me to be in bed so I'll have to share the rest with you tomorrow. Thanks for reading- I have to say,it was a great trip but it's nice to be back. :)


Liv @ Choosing Beauty said...

Sounds fabulous! So glad you felt swept up in a sea of support and kindred spirits!

Jen Cushman said...

Awwww thanks for the super sweet comments.. you are making me blush! I'll tell you the same thing publically on your blog as I told you and Shelly at CHA; you are on your way girlfriend. You are talented and smart and a quick learner. Just keep going in the direction of your dreams and all is well. It was wonderful to meet you in person. Looking forward to seeing you at Winter CHA as a Designer Member. :-)

The MadStamper said...

Ohhhhhh!!!! Tell me more!!!! Sounds like being in heaven....some day I WILL go!!! =) Until then, I will just live it through you, my friend! ;)