Connecting Is My Favorite Part of CHA
The Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) is a professional organization where creative arts and hobby professionals come together to learn, connect, innovate and succeed. Their largest event each year is the CHA Mega Show (January 7-12, 2016, Anaheim, CA). In the past, they also had a smaller Summer Show.
Sure, I participate in CHA to learn about new products and techniques, to connect with manufacturers, to create and maintain business relationships within the industry and to help take my business to the next level. But my favorite part of CHA is connecting with other crafters and artists. Many of whom have become my friends. Here are a few of the best friendships I’ve made through CHA.
If you’re lucky, you’ll meet someone who “gets you.” Someone you’re so comfortable with you can share you deepest thoughts and feelings. Someone who never judges. Someone who always has your back. Someone who makes you laugh. Someone you can wear your PJs in front of – all day long. Someone you can collaborate with. Someone who lifts you up. Someone who gives so much you wonder if you could ever give as much back. Someone where distance doesn’t matter. I’ve met that someone – and it’s Terri Sproul. She’s convinced me to submit work to magazines and they ended up publishing my work. She introduced me to the world of Design Teams and coached me on several of them. We’ve laughed so hard we couldn’t talk. We partner whenever we have the chance. We talk practically daily. We share a room and are almost inseparable at CHA. She’s my best friend. And I have CHA to thank for that.
My first CHA event was the Summer Show in 2010. I remember how excited I was to be attending. I was in the conference hall when I spotted that famous red-haired crafting rock star, Suze Weinberg. I read her book, The Art of Stamping, so many times that the pages were falling out. Her techniques were amazing and I could “feel” her personality in her writing. There she was…grabbing an ice cream cone at the concession stand. I couldn’t hold myself back. I had to meet her. I walked up to her and told her I was her biggest fan. She smiled, we chatted, she introduced me to many other rock star crafters and I was hooked. Since then, I look forward to crossing paths with Suze, chat with her on Facebook and am happy to call her my friend and someone who taught me just about everything there is to know about stamping and Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE). Here’s her blog post from July 29, 2010 – the day we met.
Nathalie Kalbach & Birgit Koopsen
We sat together in a session. Birgit to my far left and Nathalie immediately next to me. It was about how to get your work published in a magazine. I think. I can’t remember. What I do remember is meeting these two. They were hungry. They didn’t have time to grab food between sessions. I’m Italian. I travel with food. I dug in to my knapsack and found an apple, some snack bars – I can’t remember what else. We were having a picnic. We were a bit rowdy. The instructor was not happy. Since then we’ve had the tradition of eating one breakfast together at the Hilton buffet every year at the Mega Show. Nathalie is a rock star. A successful artist, a teacher, the founder of Creative Jumpstart, designer of her own line of stencils. Birgit and Nathalie have been friends for years and Birgit is a rock star as well. Birgit doesn’t always make it from Europe to CHA, but when she does, I know we’ll have all three of us at the breakfast table.
Too Many To List
As I write this post, I’m reminded of all the wonderful people I’ve met at CHA. More names than I could possibly list in this blog post. Here are some of my favorite shots from past CHA events. Me and my crafty friends.
- Leave a comment on this blog post (mandatory) answering the question – “What is your favorite “can’t live without” craft supply or tool?“
- Tweet about the giveaway (tweet text includes #CHAshow hashtag; can tweet daily for extra entries)
- Answer a multiple-choice poll about how often you “cre8time” for crafting (double entry value)
I can’t wait to hear about your favorite supply!