I just spent the weekend at the TNNA (The National Needle Arts) trade show in Columbus, Ohio and while eye-opening and intimidating at times, it was time well spent!
I began each morning with an 8am educational segment. Saturday’s was a two hour session with Boon Sheridan, on the topic of “No Stress Social Media”. Boon knew his stuff and could make a techy nerd look cool- he was very informative, very knowledgeable and very helpful! We had attendees in all ages, occupations (yarn shop owners to designers and pattern makers) and abilities. I walked out reassured that I wasn’t “out to pasture” yet with my level of technology and social media savviness. Boon also gave me ideas to strengthen the business foundation I already had in place. I left feeling inspired and refocused.
Sunday morning I spent two hours with Tammy Browning- Smith, an attorney specializing in copyright law surrounding the creative business owner, is a session deemed, “Protecting Your Creativity”. As silly as this sounds…her educational session changed me! She knew her stuff, had great experience to share across all creative genres (knitting, needlepoint, pattern designers, etc.). She was very generous with her time and very willing to answer questions on a specific level, well after the class had ended! She opened my eyes to best practices that I need to initiate and follow in my own art business.
Twice a year TNNA hosts major industry-wide trade shows to showcase the latest in the needle arts, including knitting, needlepoint, crochet, and embroidery. While I am not a knitter, I am a needlepoint designer and stitcher, I had enough eye candy in two days to make my head spin and my eyes glaze over. I’m sure I resembled a hypnotized cartoon character, black and white spinning eyes and all!
As I first entered the exhibit hall, the show seemed more focused on knitting, with endless yarn companies, pattern designers and knitting accessories companies, all promoting their latest colors, styles and trends for Fall. Rows and rows of yarn skeins and hanks hung from every conceivable display! (I think the convention center purposely kicked up the AC so that I would gravitate to the endless displays of gorgeously knitted sweaters, shawls and scarves)!
But alas, I was there for my personal journey in needlepoint and therefore sought out the needlepoint section! I was thrilled to see the needlepoint designers that I stalk (ahem, I mean follow) online, there in full force! New canvas designs under bright lights, I was in heaven! I was especially inspired by a new designer, Pepperberry Designs, who admittedly did not have enough inventory to cover the walls of her booth, as did her competitors, but she had beautifully hand painted designs and a great attitude! She explained to me that she came from a graphic design background and decided last minute to exhibit at this year’s show, and judging by the shop owners visiting her booth, she was having a successful inaugural showcase.
While I walked away from the weekend, overwhelmed from the eye candy gorge, head racing with new ideas and thoughts, I also came to realize that we are fortunate to have TNNA, still in existence and still serving these skill sets. Knitting, needlepoint, crochet, embroidery and even lace making are truly NOT lost arts, but are seeing a resurgence thanks to dedicated individuals who give their time in designing, teaching and mentoring. If you are the least bit interested in the needle arts, dabble in it at all, I encourage you to become a member and enjoy the benefits! Thanks TNNA!