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The industry as seen by top designers.

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HIA 2004: WOW!

A bonanza of color, themes, and products.

by Tracia Williams and Lynda Musante (February, 2004)

The mood of the show was definitely upbeat, and it was a pleasure to walk the floor to view the wide variety of products and displays created for the show. Many of the general craft vendors had new products, with many of those products supporting their core product lines. Scrapbooking and paper crafting continued dominating portions of the show, as has been the trend for the past couple of years, and many long-term exhibitors also included paper-related product lines.

Since HIA is predominantly a craft supply show and not a finished gift show, the colors and commentary discussed below are based on product offerings of paint, paper, and yarn colors, and overall color themes of displays we saw while walking the show.

Colors.

We saw soft yellows with lavender, rose, and periwinkle. Tropical colors, too – aqua, sea blues, sunny yellows, bright orange, and soft fuchsia.There were warm reds such as brick, sienna, and merlot tones. Nature colors: soft mocha, olive, sage, wheat, butterscotch, and pumpkin. There were two-color combinations in many booths with black and white, as well as traditional toile color combinations. We saw lots of papers and fabrics featuring stripes and patterns in these color families.

Motifs.

Motifs we saw at gift shows carried over to the HIA show. Butterflies, dragonflies, and bugs are still popular. Flowers: both funky and fun looks, as well as grandma’s garden flowers such as lilacs, roses, and daisies were on paper, fabric, stickers, and more.

Girly-themed motifs such as hats, shoes, purses, and other accessories were showcased in many product categories. Vintage images such as the heirloom look of sepia-toned photos or black & white images, old maps, advertisements, and such were found throughout the show.

A trend we noted in the gift industry was also seen throughout the show floor: sentiments and warm words appeared on everything from rubber stamps to stencils. Words and verses were seen on wood, metal, fabric, signs, and more.

Stripes and repeating images were found in many booths on paper, painted objects, home decor, and more. In many cases, the stripes were very tone-on-tone, with an elegant shading.

Product Trends/Themes.

Embellishments: The beads, charms, and embellishments categories continue to be extremely strong, and these products are still showing up on just about any craft/paper craft project there is. With the growing acceptance of altered art, more embellishments were seen on traditional craft surfaces such as wood, metal, and glass. The Beadery’s make-it/take-it featured the company's new, high-quality beads and the seats were full, full, full. No-hole beads continue to grow in popularity and were seen on many projects that didn’t include paper!

Metal: Tags, plates, frames, charms, screen, and die-cut shapes were in abundance in the paper craft section. Architectural elements were popular too; in keeping with the metal theme, EK Success showcased a new line of Architectural Elements (a stylish collection for the paper crafter). Walnut Hollow featured a collection of wood architectural elements for crafting of all sorts, and, FloraCraft had a non-metal, pottery-based line of architectural elements for craft projects and home dec.

Paper: Arnold Grummer featured a full line of products for creating paper and paper casting Deco Art introduced a new product called Paper Perfect, a unique paint that features paper fibers in a special formula to create the look of handmade paper on surfaces. Specialty paints for paper crafting were seen in many booths – Deco Art, Delta and Plaid all released paint products for the paper crafter.

Fashion: Knitted scarves were on display in all of the yarn booths. Purse making: Novelty purses were extremely popular and seen in many booths. Several vendors featured wood and fabric purses for decorating along with a wide assortment of handles and hardware to accompany them. Fabric isn’t just for sewing anymore. When one of us noticed K & Company’s new fabric paper, there was a big "WOW!" They showed upholstery fabric that was stiffened and cut to a 12"x12" size, which is suitable for scrapbooking or any paper crafting, and the designs are beautiful. Delta also featured FabriCraft, which is an adhesive-backed fabric that has a multitude of uses. Fabric developed for computer inkjet printers was on display in several booths showing high-quality images printed, then used for memory quilting, on purses, and on wearables.

Vintage: The vintage, stained/aged look is still growing in popularity with vendors such as 7 Gypsies expanding their line AND their booth size (they were a single booth in the new section last year!); Me and My Big Ideas’ Scrappy Chic line, and Ranger’s new Distress Inks created by designer Tim Holtz were just some of the examples of this very popular look.

We are a part of an art group called Arts Angels (www.8angels4art.com). There are eight artists in the group who share ideas, swap art projects, and send out good thought and inspiration to our group members. It was our pleasure to see our new book Altered Books 103, Little Decos, Miniature Books and More featured in the Design Originals booth. This book is also a good example of the vintage, "moldy oldie" look that is so popular.

Dimension: Adding texture and dimension to EVERYTHING was a big trend in the products seen at the show. In the Delta booth dimension was added to walls and furniture using a new paint called Texture Magic. Just when you thought you had seen every imaginable style of dimensional/multi-layered adhesive-backed designer sticker, several booths offered incredible collections of these hot sellers. Slide frames were everywhere, as well as beads, buttons, game pieces, letter tiles, and other small goodies to glue onto any hard surface. Sulyn Industries featured a new line of alphabet tile beads. Deco Art unveiled a new dimensional paint for adding dimensional writing and embedding/adhering things like letter beads and micro-beads. Taking a project to the second and third dimension is definitely the rage!

Stamping.

This category continues to grow with new collage-style motifs and florals being popular. Many stamp vendors also offered a multitude of themed accessories and embellishments to accent their special stamps, and were demonstrating new, interesting techniques. We were sad when more than one stamp vendor shared great frustration over the inappropriate use of their images without permission. Regardless, it's great to see stampers, scrappers, and mixed media artists all using a mix of products within these three categories. The lines between them seem to be getting less distinct as scrappers embrace stamps, scrappers embrace mixed media, and so on.

With the merger of the HIA and ACCI into CHA just about complete, we anticipate the Summer Show being bigger and better than ever!

If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or comments, please send us an email! Contact Tracia Williams, Tracia & Co. at traciaw@earthlink.net or Lynda Musante, Nifty Development Corp., at lsmusante@niftydev.com.

(Note: To read previous Designing Perspectives columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)

xxx

 

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