#SocialEngagement,  In Your Store

March is National Craft Month: Craft Tradeshow Recaps

Craft has a rich history; it’s not all Live, Laugh, Love and bedazzled fanny packs. In our post last year, we pointed out trends to follow like pyrography and the art of wabi-sabi. This year, we’re kicking off National Craft Month with a recap of the sights and scenes our team found most inspiring at The Association For Creative Industries’ trade show Creativation.

Heather Blaikie, Director of Merchandising & Product, is in heaven!

Craft Recap: Creativation 2020

MacPherson’s Category Manager Jeanine Davids and Director of Merchandising & Product Heather Blaikie attended Creativation in Phoenix, AZ in late January to discover trends, connect with partners and collect information for some exciting initiatives in 2020. “Creativation had some gems and is worth attending,” Heather says. The trade show echoes what’s hot online and what we see out in the world, but with the added bonus of in-person interaction and the opportunity to test out products yourself. They were inspired by what they discovered; in anticipation of National Craft Month but also in celebration of craft itself and all the category has to offer, we wanted to share a recap with our community.

Cosplay’s Special (Crafty) Effects

One of the gems at Creativation was the focus on Cosplay. The cosplay community is as dynamic, diverse and far-reaching as pop culture, spanning the literature, film and entertainment industry in general. Pick any well-loved character, whether from a sci-fi novel, manga series, 90s video game or historical period of time. No doubt someone has created a custom-made costume, complete with props, hand-painted surfaces and custom detailing.

The art supply industry is the natural home for the cosplay community: we have the products, techniques and know-how to help people create realistic, vivid, creative costumes. Make sure to check out how your store can reach this growing demographic in an article we posted two Halloweens ago!

Both Plaid and DecoArt showed NEON Blacklight reactive paint.

Plaid made a big FX Cosplay statement at the show. They had outstanding costumes, artist demos, and a collection of paints, stencils and brushes. Apparently people use a ton of Mod Podge in cosplay, which led them to develop this product line! The paint is applicable to EVA (commonly used craft foam) without damaging the foam like solvent based glues and paints. DecoArt also showed an EVA friendly Cosplay paint, also named FX. They also featured new trend collections: suede, glass paint, as well as newer collections including holographic, soft fabric paint and stencils on a handy ring. 

Glitter, All Grown Up

While glitter has always been popular, Heather and Jeanine indicated that glitter is becoming a more sophisticated medium. They observed products, demos and techniques inspired by card-making and paper craft. Additional developments included new glitter mediums that can be used for various fine art applications and creative forms of application inspired by the cosmetic industry. They also discovered a Nuvo glitter marker by Tonic Studios that even passed the “JD”, (or “Jeanine Davids”) test: juicy, vibrant with even sparkles.

Sustainable hemp, bamboo and recycled cotton rope and twine are used to create art, home decor and fashion accessories. Hemptique had one of the best selection of fibers that are great for macrame.

Maker World

There is a heightened, industry-wide awareness around makers: people who specialize in creating objects, whether functional or decorative, through an applied practice that utilizes specific techniques, traditions or approaches to materials. Fiber arts had a big presence at the show: the Hemptique booth was brimming with kits for makers of all levels of experience, offering an artistic way to get into the macrame and string art trends without getting into yarn. Their products are made of hemp and recycled cotton, quality sustainable materials.

The Philosophy Behind Craft

With makers of all kinds branching out and claiming space in the art world, we are noticing trends that appeal to that growing community: creative projects that incorporate the look of stained glass or quilted patterns. National Craft Month is the perfect time to tap into this!

While it is important to connect with partners in the industry at shows like Creativation and clue your customers into hot trends, craft is so much more than trends. Defined as the skill of making something with one’s hands, craft ranges from pottery and the fiber arts to glass-blowing and woodworking. And while you may not carry all the supplies in your store for customers to take up these activities, craft as a discipline offers some crucial lessons, both philosophical and practical. The emotional intimacy of art journaling, the freedom of mixed media explorations and the surprising outcomes of collage can help unstick a creative block. The dexterity and patience required for knitting, whittling or weaving can rewire old habits.
A single phrase like “creative consumer” can hardly encompass the diversity of makers, artists, crafters and experimenters far and wide.

However they identify and wherever they are based, creatives use a wide range of supplies. This diversity is a wonderful opportunity for us as an industry! Look forward to more craft-related resources at our Dealer Workshop in June, where we will have a booth with a curated selection of supplies for the crafters, makers and artists who frequent your store, complete with a hands-on demonstration and suggestions for signage and cross-merchandising.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: