I had the most amazing start for my crafting year 2015 spending the first two weeks in Anaheim at CHA 2015. This was the second time I had the pleasure to visit that amazing crafting show - I hope that this is already becoming an annual habit! lol!
With Minna as my travel companion we left Helsinki on the new years day, and took the plane from Helsinki to New York City. There are no direct connections from Helsinki to Los Angeles, and we thought that it would be a great idea to stay in NYC a few days instead of just quickly changing planes at the J.F.Kennedy airport. And that's what we did! We ended up spending three days in that amazing city - a city that had changed quite a bit since my last visit late 1990's.
Even though our NYC visit was short we still managed to do and see quite a bit: We did some sightseeing (Empire State building was a definite 'must') and shopping, ate delicious food in great restaurants (April Bloomfield's restaurant 'Spotted Pig' was amazing, definitely worth the visit!), watched a breathtaking Broadway musical 'Pippin', saw the amazing Henri Matisse 'Cut-Outs' exhibition at MoMa (thank you Nathalie for a great day!), and viewed NYC from a different point of view taking part in a 4 hour gourmet walk 'The Melting Pot'. Oh, those were four days well spent!
On Monday, January 5, we continued our trip by taking the plane from NYC to Los Angeles. In LA our only task was to get our rental car and drive directly to Anaheim, get to our hotel, have some quick late dinner, and get ready for Prima Art Venture (!!!) classes the next morning.
On Thursday, January 9th we spent the entire day in Disneyland that was located only a short walk away from our hotel. Last year we only saw the Disneyland fence on the other side of the street from the hotel room window, but did not manage to arrange a spare day to visit the park. This time we had decided already some months ago that we'll go there. I'm so happy we did! The best thing was that we were in the middle of the low season which meant not that many people and not too long waiting and queuing times for the rides. The sad thing of course was that I was having a blast in Disneyland while my family and especially my kids were at home. I know they would have loved it there; there was so much to see and do for all ages. Maybe someday we'll have the chance to go there together, I'm really hoping so!
Well, a long day at Disneyland changed our minds. We gave up ("the kids need their souvenirs, right?" , and walked back to our hotel wearing Minnie ears. And did not feel a bit strange doing so!! lol!
On Friday the doors were opened at CHA show. We had a busy schedule as our day was packed with workshops. After quick breakfast and hurrying to the convention center early in the morning we got the news that our morning class was cancelled. It sure would have been nice to hear this bit earlier!
Last year my favourite CHA classes were by Ranger - not just due to the fact that I love their products, but the classes were designed and led very well. This year it was a big disappointment that their classes were available for retailers only. Sure you can understand that the retailers are the key players keeping the industry alive, but then again they need talented bloggers/crafters, who are eager to learn something new in order to make beautiful projects, showcase the new products and inspire the other crafters. I really don't think they/we should be neglected!!
Printmaking Unleashed (Fri., January 9, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM) with Traci Bautista
Mixed Media Layer Conveyer (Fri., January 9, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM) with Seth Apter
Girly Grunge Mixed Media Album (Fri., January 9, 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM) with Donna Salazar
Art Anthology Technique Journal (Fri., January 9, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM) by Art Anthology
Antiquated Appliques (Sun., January 11, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM) with Andy Skinner
In addition to workshops CHA offers a wide selection of lectures for show participants. We decided to attend two one-hour lectures in social media; 'Making the Most of Instagram' and 'Creative Blogging'.
The class with the most new ideas to take home was the monoprinting class by Traci Bautista. We created our own stamps and stencils, and learned a variety of techniques for which we did not use any expensive nor special supplies. So much fun! After the class each participant got a copy of her brand new book, Printmaking Unleashed. How about that!!
At CHA there were so many beautiful projects that truly inspired me. I loved going from booth to booth just looking at these amazing pieces of art. In addition there was a special area for showcasing a few selected artists - like an art exhibition in a crafting show! Among these artists I was very happy to see projects by two of my personal favourites and friends; Jamie Dougherty and France Papillon. You rock, girls!!
Here are some samples of amazing projects I saw:
|Art Journal by Heather Marie Kindt|
|Art Journal by Heather Marie Kindt|
In addition to the great products, inspiring ideas and beautiful pieces of art, the very best thing about CHA are the people you meet. The show is a get together for all crafters around the world, and meeting old and new friends, having a chance to meet friends you've only met online, and having the chance to talk to key influencers in the industry is by far the best thing.
|Nathalie Kalbach |
giving a demo at Stampendous booth
Founder and owner of
The Crafter's Workshop
|Minna and I with Becky Higgins|
|Me and Tim Holtz|
This year our group of Finnish participants had grown, and it was so much fun to spend time with Sanna (I consider her as Finnish even though she's living in Austria) and Nanna. Looking forward to meeting you girls again soon!
|From left to right: me, Nanna, Minna and Sanna|
CHA Mega Show is an amazing event, and especially the January event in Anaheim continues to be a popular meeting place for manufacturers, designers, retailers and bloggers. However, I still got the impression that the event was bit smaller than year ago and that the booths were less crowded than last January. Many people were commenting that the event was too close to Christmas and year change, which increases the flight and hotel prices. In addition I got the feeling that all the key players were going to attend Creativeworld in Frankfurt Germany just two weeks after CHA (Jan 31-Feb 3, 2015). Crafting industry is slowing down in US with many shops and magazines closing, and clearly the attention is now shifting towards to Europe, where the number of paper crafting hobbyists is still growing. I would also expect that in the future huge crafting shows will be arranged in Asian countries.
Next January the CHA Mega Show will celebrate its 75th anniversary. It remains to be seen if the anniversary year will have a positive impact on the number of CHA visitors. Maybe some re-thinking of the workshops (more variety for experienced crafters) would also be in place?