The CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) Winter Conference and Trade Show recently wrapped out in L.A. This massive gathering of crafters and manufacturers takes place each January, offering up a sneak peek at what products and trends we’ll all be seeing at our local retailers, in the pages of magazines, and filling the nooks and crannies of our own home craft studios this year. As someone who has attended a couple times in the past I can attest to the dizzying visual and creative flood. It’s a cornucopia of crafty wonders.
For fun I asked a couple of our favorite craft personalities to chime in on their highlights to this year’s show.
Cathie Filian, author of 101 Snappy Fashions and the upcoming Fall release 101 Tees, and Jenny Doh, author of this Spring’s hot title Signature Styles, were generous enough to answer some key questions I posed about their action-packed days roaming the bustling aisles at the show.
Is there anything in particular you look forward to about CHA every year?
CATHIE: “My favorite part of CHA is seeing all my creative friends. Independent designers, authors, in-house designers, bloggers, magazine editors and product inventors are always sprinkled around the show and at the after-parties or gatherings. It is the one time of the year that we all get to play together, swap ideas and spill the behind-the-scenes scoop with each other. I usually meet a new friend or two!”
JENNY: “I love connecting with old friends and developing new friendships.”
What was your top CHA memory this year?
CATHIE: “Being nominated for the Innovation award for Hot Glue Gun Helpers. I have worked on this product for over two years and I was truly honored to have the tools be recognized by the Craft and Hobbies Association.”
JENNY: “I had a couple. I was so excited to spend time with Erika and Monika Simmons (The Double Stitch Twins), who are designers for Red Heart Yarn. The Red Heart folks had a beautiful booth, and it was exciting to hear about all of their upcoming projects and also fun for me and Erika and Monika to be able to talk about how awesome Signature Styles is going to be, which includes a feature and project from the twins. I also had a terrific time running into Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza from Plaid.
What was your favorite discovery at CHA this year?
CATHIE: “I was pretty smitten with how many bloggers were walking the floor. I think they are an important part of the craft community and I believe that they inspire with project ideas, designer profiles and innovative products.”
Were there any real surprises about the show this year?
CATHIE: “That it was in my home town of Los Angeles! I stayed in a hotel about 8 miles from my home. Sounds nutty? With LA traffic it was easier to stay close to the convention center, and I got to hang till all hours with my crafty friends.”