It has been crazy in my household for a number of reasons in the past six weeks, but despite the sogginess, the sickness and the altogether busyness, I was able to squeeze in visits to two very different, but fun local events.
First, I attended the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, which took place in Cleveland March 24-26. The Expo has also already taken place in Atlanta, Chicago, Lakeland, FL, and Worcester, MA. This fall, it will take place in Chantilly, VA, Kansas City, MO, and Minneapolis.
So many wonderful things were on display, even outside of the booth area. There was the “If These Quilts Could Talk” exhibit from the Alliance for American Quilts. The Rust-Tex Collection was simply breathtaking, with its array of rust-dyed fabric creations. Although I encourage you to find this on display in person before it goes away in 2012, Rust-Tex does have the pieces pictured online here.
I was particularly enamored by “The Stuff Dreams are Made of” gallery, curated by the American Sewing Guild’s Janelle Archer. The gowns on display featured such intricate work, reflective of the fantasy worlds they were designed to represent. My favorites had to be the winter wedding dress and autumn bridesmaid gown. Oh, how I wish they allowed photography in the gallery area! If anyone knows where this collection is housed online, please let me know.
In the exhibit hall, I met some great people, including Kim Hansen of Fasturn, Medford, OR. To showcase the Fasturn Fabric Tube Turning System, Kim was teaching an easy make it-take it project to legions of willing expo attendees while her husband, co-owner Dan Tilton, ran the register a few feet away. The Celtic Knot Bracelet was fun to do, and a great way to give Kim a chance to talk about her product as we chose our materials and wove away. My bracelet turned out lovely, but I’d rather show you Kim’s earring, necklace and belt creations, all variations on the same basic weave:
Also having a great show was Lori Mulholland at Stitch A Book, which gives quilters an easy way to show off their skill on the cover of their day planner, cookbook, photo album or other binder-type cover. Mulholland’s site offers not only the patterns and tips for getting the ideal project, but the binders and fillers (calendars, for example) as well. She’s looking for commission-based representatives, by the way!
Last but not least, the patent-pending El-EGG-ant Hooks ergonomic crochet hook from Magique Enterprises not only caught my eye, but made a great birthday gift for my mother-in-law, who has rhumetoid arthritis. I also am forever indebted to the wonderful gentleman running the booth, who tracked me down to hand me back the checkbook I left there! Whoops!
A couple weeks later, I was able to attend the Hower House Victorian Artisan Fair in Akron, OH, with handcrafted items on display and for sale. I enjoyed chatting with Lisa M.M. Hand of Wind Horse Ventures, from Beaverton, OR, and admiring her array of antique and collectible items.
I purchased two lotion and lip balm sets from Little Clover (currently nestled in a couple Easter baskets for two young creative types who will definitely enjoy the bonus bath salts the owner tucked in with my purchase). I also purchased several hand-decoupaged Easter egg ornaments created by Hower House’s own gift shop manager, Liz Vernon.
But by far, my favorite part of the Hower House event was meeting Donna Cardwell in person. Donna is the author of Silk Art Embroidery: A Woman’s History of Ornament & Empowerment. I had her sign my copy as I took in the breathtaking display of pieces she had strewn artfully throughout the sitting room she was given as her “booth.” She told me she had recently finished a speaking tour in Oregon, and even though the book was published in 2008, there continues to be great interest in learning about this nearly lost art.
I hope these brief recaps spark an interest in a new product, technique or program for your business. And if it does, I want to know! Sound off below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.