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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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Shows: Stationery, Painting, and Japan

The SDP convention, the N.Y. Stationery show, and the Japan Hobby show. company.

by Shea Szachara, Ellie Joos, and Warren Gruenig (June 6, 2005)

Society of Decorative Painters Report.

(by Shea Szachara, Options- Plus)

With a focus on decorative painting for the past 25 years of my crafting career, this was my 24th Society of Decorative Painters Conference. Decorative painting saw phenomenal growth in the 1980s. Now the major growth is found in reaching beyond the shores of the U.S. where multitudes of enthusiastic painters are joining SDP. At this year’s conference in Tampa, more than 42 countries were represented in the opening ceremony. Now known as "The Parade of Flags," many of the flag bearers wore their native dress as they crossed the stage at the opening of the annual meeting, pausing to deliver greetings in their native tongue. It was once again a thrilling highlight for the nearly 1,400 registrants present. More than 1,800 attended the convention.

The annual meeting also including enthusiastic support for the new children’s program, the Junior Artist Club (J.A.C.). The program, featuring the character J.A.C SPLATTER, gives kids the opportunity to explore the decorative painting. It offers a quarterly newsletter, projects created just for members, and a bi-annual kit filled with new products and ideas.

The theme of reaching children continued with an all-day make-it/take-it area dedicated to children’s projects. Tampa area youth painted flowerpots, frames, tops, and other treasures to help expand their minds and explore their creativity. More than 100 children attended the program and J.A.C. SPLATTER completed the day with many guest appearances throughout the show floor.

During the meeting the following officers were elected to the SDP Board: Darla Forman, VP/President-Elect; Linda Biedermann, Secretary; Lina Hoffman, Jo Lutness, Cheri Rol and Judy Westegaard, Board Member-at-Large; and Erika Amman, Mary Gibilisco and Carole Tamms, Nominating Committee. Ann Johnson is the new President.

The meeting included a report on SDP's support of a PBS series with Sue Scheewe, the new children's programs, and other new industry initiatives.

Mike Saubert is no longer the SDP Executive Director. For executive matters pertaining to the Society, call President Ann Johnson at 630-665-0108 or email amjpaints@juno.com. For administrative matters, call Cristy Keeton at the SDP office: 316-269-9300 or email sdp@decorativepainters.org.

There were 394 entries from 15 countries in the SDP Certification Program. Twenty-two achieved the title of Certified Decorative Artist and 11 passed one of the Master Artist skills test covering three different painting styles. Seven of these earned the prestigious title of Master Decorative Artist.

As always classes were available with more than 120 leading designers, authors, and teachers offering 185 classes and 40 special event venues. Some classes doubled and tripled over as attendees vied for space with the most popular teachers. The course offerings included instruction on color theory and an "Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp."

Vendors on the exhibit hall floor said business was brisk on the first two days, but Friday and Saturday of the Memorial Holiday weekend were extremely slow. Many voiced the opinion that SDP needs to seriously consider moving any future dates to another month that does not involve two holidays plus graduations across the country. The next conference will be held in Nashville.

The Decorative Arts Collection and Museum once again pulled off a coup. Jayne McNeny, the new Development Director, managed to have a Miata convertible donated to the DAC by the Davis-Moore Dealership of Wichita, KS. Members of two painting chapters, the River City Decorative Painters and the Kansas Wheathearts, volunteered their time to paint the DAC Art Car with motifs from within the Museum’s collection of decorative art. This spring it was unveiled at Wichita’s River Festival Parade where more than 75,000 parade goers saw it for the first time. As the center attraction of the DAC area in the exhibit hall, it drew hundreds of photograph-takers. Their enthusiasm resulted in many becoming supporting members in the "Friends of the DAC" program.

The Decorative Arts Collection Award (DACA) is a juried art contest with purchase awards. The winning entries become a part of the permanent collection of the DAC Museum. This year’s winners were from four countries:

The Joan Johnson Award of Excellence – $1,500 – was sponsored by Delta Technical Coatings and went to Naomi Shimanuki from Japan for "Back Stairs Mirror."

First Place – $1,000 – sponsored by Daler-Rowney, went to Ana Bernabe from Argentina for "Seahorse Box."

Second Place – $600 – sponsored by Sun-K, went to June Varey from Australia for "Mermaids."

Third Place – $300 – sponsored by Stan Brown Arts and Crafts, went to Priscilla Baldwin from the U.S. for "A Richness of Roses."

The Art Car and winning entries can soon be viewed at www.decorativeartscollection.org.

(Note: Shea Szachara is an award-winning consultant, author, educator, and designer who has been involved in the creative industries for more than twenty-five years. She may be reached at 607-722-5518 or sszachara@stny.rr.com. SDP also contributed to this report.)

New York Stationery Show.

(by Ellie Joos)

In reviewing my report from last year’s show, it was interesting to see how a number of the trends are continuing and getting stronger. This year’s show presented "more of the same" especially in the Retro/60’s/70’s, and Femininity/girlfriend trends, scrapbooking, and novelty gift ideas. With 100,000 retail outlets selling cards (23% of business done in craft and fabric stores according to a vendor survey by Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine) and more than 3,000 card publishing companies, there are many opportunities for other vendors to sell products in this $7.5 billion industry. (Source: Greeting Card Association)

Trends. I had only one day to cover the show, but here are the key themes I saw:

1. Design Focused/Retro – bright colors continue, brown with pink, turq, coral.

2. Dots, stripes, geometrics, stylized florals and paisley, often in coordinating product lines.

3. Femininity/Girlfriend – fashion motifs, shoes, lingerie, sayings, Red Hat.

4. Photography – animals, wildlife, florals.

5. Handmade/handcrafted – continuing with embellishments, charms, beads, ribbons.

6. Personalization – initials and names.

7. Bags – the most exciting decorated bags with die cut shapes, embellishments, great patterns.

8. Vintage – colors and motifs and reproductions.

Other trends: Tween/kid’s products – great packaging, activity sets ... Jewelry – including kits for do-it-yourself ... Pet products ... Baby – novelty products and gift ideas.

Some new products that I thought were especially nice:

Inklings from Wild Planet Toys: This company traditionally exhibits at Toy Fair and came to this show for their first time with this product. These self-inking stamps make perfect photo images and are available in animals, toys, and seasonal motifs and are fabulous.

ChalkTalk: Oilcloth tablecloths with colorful borders that can be written on, wiped off and used again. Great for entertaining and teaching tools with children.

Girlfriend Cookies and Candies from Girlfriend Confections: Delicious treats in attractive, purse-shaped packages.

Select-a-Greeting holiday cards from Rock Scissors Paper: Card and sticker sets that customers can use to customize their cards in terrific designs and colors. This company is right on with retro-designed cards and colors.

Whimsy Trims from Party Partners: Fancy felt ribbon and posey embellishments in great colors. This company also has great party decorating items, many inspired by vintage reproductions from their archives.

Hand Sewn greeting cards from first time exhibitor Mish and Indy. Dramatic and whimsical hand sewn cards using soy inks and recycled papers, perfect for specialty stores.

Gift wrap/cards from Trimorphos: Brightly colored, exciting, and bold.

Personalized stationery from Design-her Gals, another new company with a design system for creating your own contemporary note cards, invitations, etc in sassy illustrations resembling the sender. Great interactive website (www.designhergals.com) and portion of proceeds is donated to Gal to Gal Foundation.

Photo Bracelet – from Memory Maker, introduced last year but becoming more popular.

Girl on the Go from StylePress by Bonnie: Note cards, invitations, etc., with fashionable, stylish motifs, and a portion of proceeds support breast cancer research organizations.

One of the other new features of this show was a clever and fun "fashion show" of garments made from cards and exhibited on the show floor. This show was upbeat , with most exhibitors reporting brisk sales and expecting increased business in the after-show followup.

(Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a marketing, pr, and product development firm. To read Ellie's reports on other industry-related shows, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To contact Ellie call 908-459-9269 or email eleapple@hotmail.com.)

The Japan Hobby Show.

(by Warren Gruenig, Posh Impressions)

(Note: Warren accompanied his wife, Dee, to the recent Japan Hobby Show.)

Dee was sent by CHA as the sole representative to take scrapbooking to the Japanese at the Japan Hobby Show, something she considered a substantial honor; being no fool, she asked bi-lingual, scrapbook-talented Yuko Neal to accompany her. Dee was one of four to give an introductory speech (the only one in English) and then to help cut the ribbon opening the show. The protocol is all very formal there.

Then a popular television show, we are told the equivalent of NBC's Today Show, did a 4 1/2 minute spot for the show and Dee was given 2 1/2 minutes of that time. She was lucky, because the tv producers gave her the photos of the show's male and female anchors to make into a scrapbook page. Though she knew that it is a no-no, she put the woman's picture over the man's and when it aired, the screen became split with the man kiddingly complaining that her pic was over his; then she came into a split screen with him saying something like "you big goof; that is where it should be." They bantered for some time with the producer in it, too. Meanwhile Dee just smiled, pointed and said the only two Japanese words she knew. It all worked.

I have no idea how many attend our largest CHA shows, but there were an astounding 100,000 attendees (30,000, 30,000 and 40,000 for the 3 days) in a room no larger than a football field. I took a photo of the final 15 minutes of the last day and the aisles were still so jammed that it looked like a Japanese subway arriving at the platform at 5 PM with everyone getting off at once. It was a very successful show that set an attendance record, according to the show's general director. I have a copy of the tv program and a photo of the crowds.

I counted only eight non-Japanese in attendance. One of them was Bill Gardner doing a spot for Craftrends magazine. Also, Bill and I were wearing brown sport coats without ties. Every male at the show seemed to be wearing a navy blue or black suit with conservative tie. Bill said he has learned that Americans don't have to bow as much as we first believed, but I did learn to present your business card with both hands, with reverence, and remember to look at the other guy's card when given it.

It is a beautiful, clean, well run country with very nice people. It was a wonderful time. Dee sends her best to you.

(Note: To read previous reports of other shows and events, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To comment, email CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)



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