Reports on shows, trends, and more
Craft, Hobby and Stitch Int. (ICHF)
Paper, paper ... and home dec.
by Julie McGuffee (March 7, 2005)
After spending three and a half days running from hall to hall at
the CHA show in Atlanta, the ICHF show (formerly Stitches) was a
refreshing change. It was obviously nowhere near the size of CHA,
but when one considers that England can be placed in Texas six times
over, size is relevant. Roundabouts, snow, rain, and a
two-and-a-half hour drive from Gatwick (in a car with a stick shift)
notwithstanding, I was glad I went and happy to report that general
crafts are still very much alive and well in England and Europe!
Scrapbooking is growing in popularity and yet another magazine, Scrapbook
Magic, will make its debut this Spring, but card making is still
number one when it comes to paper crafts. Rubber stamped designs on
cards are still popular, but I saw more cards designed with
dimensional embellishments. According to the German distributor I
spoke to, Germans are not interested in scrapbooking at all, they
have their own "new and exciting" hobby (see below).
I had a nice conversation with Alan and Barry, the dynamic duo
who host the craft segments on Idea World and Create and
Craft TV show. I saw excerpts from their show and they are
certainly bringing lots of fun to crafts. No wonder people watch
them every day. It made me remember the "old days" when
crafting was a lot more fun here, too.
Itís been a couple of years since I last visited, but the show
has grown tremendously. More than 300 exhibitors packed two halls
and 20% of them were new. The majority of companies were from the
British Isles, but 22 of them came from overseas. There were 45
workshops each day providing 150 hours of education and they were
FREE. How nice. The only prerequisite to attend was an advance
Unlike CHA, the show doesnít divide its exhibitors into
sections, so when you walk the show you get to see everything and
everyone. Knitting, sewing, and the needle arts are still strong,
and many of the needle art companies continue to carry card kits in
their lines, and small needlework designs that can be placed into an
I caught a segment on BBC news the morning I left about a group
of people who were knitting on London Bridge. They are also trying
to bring knitting out of the home to show the younger generations
that it isnít something that only grandmothers do. The yarns are
wonderful, but considering that Bradford in Yorkshire was the centre
of the woolen industry for many years, I expected nothing less.
(Bradford was my hometown and all my family members were connected
with the woolen industry in one way or another.)
Beading and jewelry making are strong and there was a good
representation of crafts for children. There is strong recognition
that children are their future customers.
Paper and cards were everywhere. Card blanks continue to be in
abundance and every type of paper imaginable, from clear and
metallic holographic papers to the most beautiful stitched and
glittery papers I have seen.
The variety was amazing. Itís no wonder that card crafting is
so popular; the papers just beg to be purchased and used to decorate
just about anything. Iím sure that some of these will find their
way onto scrapbook pages too, but I can see them being used more for
collage work and other areas of paper crafting. To me, scrapbooking
is still about the photograph and the memories it evokes. I wouldnít
want it to have the photos/memories compete with these particular
The gold and silver peel-off stickers were in abundance. I have
loved these for years and was thrilled to find more U.S. companies
carrying them now that the patent has expired.
Sheets of Paper Tole (3-D) artwork (being called dťcoupage
by some) was featured in a number of stands. There was a wide
variety of designs including licensed designs Ė Mickey Mouse (of
course) and the artwork of Berta Hummel to name a few.
Yes, itís been around a long, long time; I did it in the Ď70ís
and Backstreet Designs always had a great selection of designs. It
was so time consuming to complete back then, but now the majority of
the sheets are die cut so these embellished, dimensional designs can
be completed in minutes! Theyíll be great for embellishing
scrapbook pages and many other paper crafting projects.
Rayher, a German company, had a line of the most exquisite
paper-cut designs for paper crafting, but also showed how to use
them in home dec. Kars showcased a number of European paper crafting
techniques including Lucido and Harmonica folding which Iím sure
will eventually find their way to the U.S.
U.S. companies are well represented in the UK by a number of
distributors. Provo Craft had its own stand as well as Fiskars and
Ellison, and EK Success products were represented by Kuretake.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that a number of manufacturers
were handing out their catalogs on CDís, and some companies were
selling CDís of their paper designs instead of having printed
sheets available. Alan and Barry have their own CD of mosaic paper
designs, which were really quite cool, and another exhibitor was
also selling her original tea bag folding papers on CD.
A new hobby.
Now back to Germany and the exciting new hobby. As I mentioned
earlier, many of the embellishments for paper crafts were also being
shown on home dec items at Rayher. I definitely got the impression
that home dec is quite strong in Germany, especially when I heard
that this latest hobby is decorating pre-stretched canvas. The
canvas is painted and embellished with dimensional accents:
Polystyrene, fabric, papers, and more. Sounds a lot like collage on
a larger scale for the home. It might be worth a tryÖ..
There were no restrictions on photography at the show, so I have
quite a number of digital photographs of a variety of stands (mostly
paper) and the New Product area. I will be putting these on a CD
together with a copy of this report. If you would like a CD and/or
additional information please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with ICHF in the subject line.
(Note: Julie McGuffee is originally from England. She
hosts the Scrapbook Memories TV series on PBS and has been
professionally involved in the industry for more than 15 years. In
1996 she and fellow designer, Jean Kievlan, formed their own design
services and consulting company, Kievlan-McGuffee Design Services,
(Note: To read previous Scene & Heard reports, click
on the headlines in the right-hand column.)