This past weekend, I attended the Stamp and Scrapbook Expo with my sister. It was interesting in that it was held in the same location as Stitches Midwest – the Renaissance Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois – where I had been two weeks earlier.
Although the events had similarities, there were also notable differences. Even though I have not done much scrap-booking in the last few years, I am still intrigued with all types of paper-crafting. This event isn’t related to travel or knitting, I decided it was worth covering.
Attending the Event
My sister does some scrap-booking, though now, most of it is digital. She still does paper crafting – mostly in the form of card making. I’ve always admired her cards and I love seeing what the new types of equipment and supplies can do.
When my sister expressed an interest in going to the a scrap-booking event, I said I’d go along. I told her to pick one of the many events offered around the country. Keeping her budget in mind – especially since this was the first event she was attending – she chose the Stamp and Scrapbook Expo in nearby Schaumburg.
I drove to my sister’s house on Thursday evening. We drove to the event at the convention center on Friday and Saturday, returning back to her house each evening.
When I first started looking at the event, I wasn’t sure I’d be interested in taking any classes. There were a couple that involved using markers and colored pencils that looked interesting. I could use the skills I learned when I sketch (which I don’t do as often as I’d like).
When I checked with my sister, I found she had chosen the same three classes I did, plus one or two more. We decided to take the three classes together. I did some knitting while she took a fourth class.
The classes were good – I learned quite a bit. We were able to try out different brands of markers and colored pencils and learned special techniques with using each one. After we were finished with all the classes, we knew which supplies we wanted to add to our Christmas lists.
We both loved the Copic markers – they were fantastic! I have a good set of watercolor colored pencils (Derwent) but I’d also like a set of regular colored pencils – Prismacolor Premier would be my choice.
When we weren’t in classes, my sister and I could be found perusing the marketplace. We were amazed at the large variety of products available. I am familiar with basic card-making, but I was surprised at the many new ways to embellish them. I saw 3-D flowers, a large variety of brads, and fused foil. New techniques with paint and markers were demonstrated at several booths.
In addition to cards, paper, and embellishments, booths sold the latest equipment used in the craft. There was a booth selling the Scrapbooker magazine and a few booths with supplies for Wandering Planners. For all the supplies and equipment, several booths offered organizational systems.
Make and Takes
There were numerous “make and takes” available in the marketplace. Vendors were showcasing their products by letting consumers try them. Each participant would sit and make a project with the instructor’s guidance. They were then allowed to take the project home. The vendor hoped that the participants would purchase supplies to make additional projects.
My sister and I planned to participate in a couple make and takes. Some of the more involved ones required a fee, but there were several that were free. We found short waiting lines at nearly all the make and takes, so we would move on and plan to return. We ended up only doing one make and take during the time we were there. We colored a picture using Copic markers that was then turned into a small gift card. The instructor, Jammie, was great!
There was a special event every evening, but my sister and I had opted to go back to her house and do our crafts there. We were able to see the crop area and talk to some of the crafters.
On Thursday afternoon and evening, there was a “Mega Make and Take” session from 3 pm until midnight. For $49, several mini classes were held – one after the other – and participants were able to take home the projects they created. If I were to go again, I’d consider participating.
On Friday and Saturday, from 8 am until 11 pm, there was a giant crop party. For $39 per person, individuals or groups could rent table space and spend the entire day working on their crafts. If supplies were needed, the marketplace was on the other side of the room. When I first started scrap-booking, my sisters and I attended a few similar, smaller events sponsored by local stores.
As we walked around the show on Friday, my sister commented that many of the women were older – she felt like she was one of the youngest ones there. We wondered why that was the case. There were a few younger women and girls in attendance on Saturday, although still not the majority.
I wondered if the demographic was older because younger women are participating more in digital scrapbooking. They might also be more eco-conscious or anti-clutter and feel that paper crafting doesn’t fit their lifestyle.
As we enjoyed lunch with women we had just met, I asked what their thoughts were about the subject. Imagine my surprise when the first response was that young women aren’t paper-crafting – they are knitting. (I hadn’t showed them the knitting project I had in my bag).
On another note, there seemed to be very few men at the Expo this past weekend. There were some at Stitches, but they were definitely in the minority.
I’m not sure that creative young people are knitting instead of paper-crafting. From my experience at the two events in Schaumburg two weeks apart, though, I can say that there were plenty of younger women at Stitches.
What do you think? Do you knit? Do you scrapbook or do paper crafts? Do you have a different creative hobby?
Do you see your creative hobby enjoyed by younger women? Is it enjoyed by men? What does the future hold for your craft or hobby?