Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Quilt Market - Houston 2014
International Quilt Market was in Houston, Texas this past weekend and I thought I'd take a moment to talk about it. Quilt Market is an industry trade show that happens twice a year and is not open to the public. It is where fabric, thread, notions, machine, batting and publishing companies come to exhibit their new products and sell to shop owners and other buyers. It's all business and very big business indeed.
Of course, everything that I'm about to tell you is from my perspective but what I hope to do is give you a feel of what it's like. For years and years I have sat at home during Quilt Market and trolled Flickr (oh man! remember the good ole days of Flickr?) and Instagram scouring the photos for details of new fabric lines, new notions and books and wishing that I could be there in person to meet the industry people. I met up with these girls (L-R @csduhon -- Carlie(top) @pukanunu -- Melissa(bottom) and @instaamy --Amy. Find them on Instagram as they have some things brewing behind the scenes and you'll want to know all about it.) and it was the first time at Quilt Market for all of us so we got to experience it for the first time together.
I was there as a guest of my publisher Martingale to give a presentation (called a Schoolhouse) about my book Imagine Quilts. Schoolhouses occur all day Friday and generally are in 30 minute increments. I brought eight quilts from my book with me and Martingale brought the additional three from the book with them to my schoolhouse. After a brief introduction by Jennifer Keltner, I got to talk about my book and show the quilts from it.
And apparently sing opera. To a room of smiling, friendly faces which made the 30 minutes pass in a flash.
Schoolhouses go on all day Friday and I was lucky to attend many of them. It was a great opportunity to hear about products, see them first hand and form a bit of a relationship with those behind the products. Walking from schoolhouse to schoolhouse also allows for conversation, introductions and networking. Lots of business cards, buttons and promotional materials are swapped on Friday for sure.
Saturday is the beginning of the "market" portion wherein all the booths are open for attendees to look at, touch and feel and meet with sales representatives for buying. The enormity of the trade floor cannot be understated. It's actually hard to describe just how big it is. If you've been on Instagram and searched the hashtag #quiltmarket then you've seen bird's eye views of the trade floor. None of those pictures captures the whole view because it's just too big to be seen through a camera lens. I spent several hours wandering the floor on Saturday and in no way shape or form saw everything there was to see.
I didn't get to see it all because I spent my time connecting IN PERSON with people I've been working with or come to know online for years. Like Chen (@mushyhed) and Jacey (@jaceynotjc) who were totally on board with silly faces instead of smiles.
Or Caroline Hulse (@sewcaroline) , Pat Bravo (@patbravo), Maureen Cracknell (@maureencracknell) and Carlie. Here we are pictured at Sample Spree which takes place Friday night from 8-10pm. Sample Spree is where vendors sell to the public fabric and notions that either have been recently released or soon to be released. This allows shop owners to get their hands on fabric, patterns and notions in order to make shop samples to be ready for display by the time the fabric is shipped and available in their shops. The line to get into Sample Spree starts forming several hours in advance and the energy of those waiting is electric. When the doors open at 8pm, the crowd lets out a celebratory hoot and the people flood into the ballroom. It was crazy up in there!
I arrived in Houston on Thursday and flew home late Saturday night. It was jam packed and has left me with a feeling of inspiration and renewed excitement to do this thing that I so very much love to do. I want to quilt all the things. And I want to teach everyone how to quilt all the things. And I want to use an endless supply of beautiful fabrics in beautiful colors, designs and substrates.
But, before I do all that, I've got to go grocery shopping, clean the house and do the laundry. My glamours everyday life awaits.