The 2018 January Association for Creative Industries (AFCI) tradeshow in Phoenix (known as Creativation and now hosted by NAMTA) was loaded with craft and hobby inspiration.
It was so much fun! Lots of ideas for new craft kits, creative new people to collaborate with, and so many opportunities. Prioritization is going to be the struggle.
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Trends that stood out include:
1. The Cactus and the Succulent: This trend is still alive and well -- a happy thing for us, considering our deep love for these desert plants. There were cacti as part of displays, cactus and succulent rubber stamps, stencils, cards, paper crafts like quilling, embroidery, felt projects...the list goes on.
Check out the 3 Birds paper quilling project below, featuring, what else? Cacti!
2. Lettering: There was SO MUCH fancy lettering. Lots of signage that looked hand illustrated, lots of classes showing how to do it, lots of craft projects featuring painting your own signs, lots of stencils to help you fake hand lettering -- it was everywhere.
Hampton Art's Jillibean brand was showing lots of cute mixed media pieces made on their weathered wood boards using stencils, paint, felt and paper accents.
3. Fabric Paint: Lots and lots and LOTS of fabric paint with new textures and finishes, especially from Plaid and DecoArt, but this trend was noticeable even among smaller brand booths.
The bags below were painted with DecoArt paints. Their Americana Multi Surface paints work on leather and fabric, and their SoSoft line works beautifully on fabric projects (it really is so soft, and it doesn't require heat curing). You can see the hand lettering trend on these as well.
Plaid showed lots of brand new fabric paint options, like the heart project shown below.
4. Embroidery: This was interesting as it wasn't just embroidery kits (certainly there were those) -- but rather there was quite a bit of embroidery being used alongside fabric paint on clothing and shoes and home decor projects.
Here's an example of several new Bucilla Fashion Embroidery projects.
And here are some denim fabric painted jeans that were displayed in the same area.
5. Stencils: What stood out here wasn't the fact that there were stencils, but the application of them. Rather than being confined to paper and scrapbooking projects, stencils were shown being used extensively with fabric for clothing and the home. Loving this.
6. Glitter: While craft shows always have lots of glitter, it seemed like there was more of it this year in different forms. There were many new options where the glitter is incorporated directly into paint or glue. This way it doesn't cause the usual mess, but you get all of the bling.
Below is a line of glitter fabric paint from Plaid that is shown with stencils.
Plaid was also demonstrating an art project with their new multi-surface Glitterific FolkArt paint, which contains multiple sizes of colorful glitter in a clear base.
7. Marbling: Many marbled projects were on display, including those that used liquid pouring mediums.
The below shows a poured art project that can be accomplished with a medium like this one from Liquitex.
8. Watercolor: Watercolor effects were really popular, certainly with paper projects -- but once again this showed up in home decor projects. Plaid even had an experimental line of game-changing acrylic watercolor fabric paint.
Here's a photo of the potential new acrylic watercolor paints and some projects made with it. Pretty cool, huh?
9. Fancy Baking: The baking section was even larger this year, and big craft distribution companies like Notions had even larger selections of specialty cooking and baking products available to order. It's nice to see the kitchen arts being embraced more fully by the creative world. Stencils and glitter and watercolor and marbling and even the cactus were all showing up in cookie and cake decorating, too.
The below shows a cactus made out of Satin Ice fondant icing. (See, more cacti, even in frosting...!)
Overall, what stood out was the emphasis on driving art & craft into one's lifestyle in a fresh and modern way. For example, there were many shoe and clothing projects showing how to make your look your own by customizing your shoes, jackets, jeans and skirts.
Stenciled and embroidered purses and bags and home decor like pillows, wall art and even lamps were featured. Certainly this was true with knitting and fiber projects, but what seemed fresh was all the clothing and art. BOHO style abounded and many of the looks could have been in the pages of InStyle or Vogue.
Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza were at the show giving a sneak peak of their new line with Bucilla called Micromé Mini Macrame. Really adorable kits that let you make one home decor project or two personal accessory projects (like necklaces). Super BOHO and super cute.
On a personal note, I got to meet Cathie & Steve and it was quite A MOMENT for me! Back when I was a corporate librarian and working lots of hours in the technology world, I would record their Creative Juice show and watch it with almost religious fervor. In fact, it was through their program that I first learned about this very tradeshow (it was called the Craft & Hobby Show, or CHA, then), and I dreamed about attending someday and working in a more creative field. So, it was rather a full-circle thing that felt pretty amazing.
Back here at Global Backyard in Seattle, Matt and I are excited about everything I saw and learned, and we feel great about what we've got on the planning board. We think it's on target with where the market is headed and can't wait to get our newest creations out there in the world. Stay tuned!