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Houston Quilt Festival…part two

So here’s part two, and I’ll be quick about it and move on.

It was a relief to have the shibori workshop behind me and Friday night a group of us went out to eat dinner at a Mexican restaurant called The Last Concert. ” White Building with red trim, X-mas lights and no sign. Knock on the door to get in.” If you don’t knock- you don’t get in! It was Halloween night and everyone there was in costume which made it fun and festive even though we were all dead tired. Some live music was gearing up in the back but we sat in the front so we could visit a bit and had the company of Jennifer, Virginia, Carol, & Marcia. Carol is another one of those people whom I had never met in person before the show. She is the person behind The Ribbon Store in Las Vegas, and one of the very first people to order my shibori ribbon! It was a delight to meet her finally and find out she was selling at the show and helping out her friend Marcia of Tinsel Trading (New York). Marcia brought some lovely things from the store in NY and was busy learning what quilters were interested in buying from her. I’ve never been to Tinsel Trading (only longed to go) but it was interesting hearing stories about the store and about her grandfather who started the business.
Go look at the website and read about how the business was created. We all had a great time and headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep!
Saturday in the booth went by very quickly!
A steady stream of customers all day and again I enjoyed meeting many people that up until now I have only “known” online. Since I was on my own at the show, I was unable to get out and see the exhibits or do much looking around at booths. I did however, manage to buy a couple of patterns for some handbags and one for a loose style jacket I’d like to make with some silk shibori (we’ll see how far I get with that thought). Virginia also bought one and reported to me two days after arriving home that she already had one made and was planning on improvements for a second! Some people! I’ll be sure to check in with her before I start mine for any tips she may have!
I did buy a pair of cordless scissors that can cut really nice curves in the silk. It was definitely an impulse buy but I have some ideas for using them.

Saturday night was not Jennifer’s night! We decided to do a run through the Central Market again for dinner on the way back home to the hotel but Jennifer wasn’t feeling well so she went straight back to the room. Unfortunately, during show that day a woman had become ill and actually threw up in her booth! Now that beats all! We all have crazy “show stories” to tell but this was a new one. Of course, Jennifer did the obvious trying to help the woman but the outcome was that she was up hanging her own head over the toilet bowl all night. So in the morning, we left Jen in the room and headed out to the show. I canceled my last Make & Take since Virginia was running Jen’s booth alone and couldn’t get away to watch mine. No biggie. Sunday was pack out and after that was accomplished (a VERY long day!) we retired back to the hotel. Thank goodness for Central Market where we AGAIN had dinner.

So, if you ever wondered what it’s like to do a trade show there you have it. Lots of work, good people, mishaps and fun all rolled in together. This is not a biz for weenies. Lots of planning, organization and work. AND the ability to change things up on a moment’s notice!
So here we are the next morning with Jennifer feeling better and gassing up for the drive back to Atlanta- had to take a picture of the gas prices- unbelievable to those of us in the Los Angeles area.
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So that’s about it. Virgina & I had a couple of hours to kill so we hit up the local woman’s assistance league thrift shop, bought a great wool jacket with a pocket (for a shibori pocket square) fo $3, went for lunch at a great Vietnamese restaurant downtown and shot out to the airport where I flew back to Long Beach!
Fast forward to now, two weeks later and everything has been unpacked, Joggles has their new order, The Quilted Quail now carries shibori ribbon, Duet and others are receiving a steady stream of silk shibori flower broaches, and the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles will receive a new shipment in a couple of days.

The ash has stopped falling, at least for now, and I have to go clean up the outdoor studio area before anything else can get done today.
Studio time for the next couple of weeks…until Thanksgiving and family time.
mata-ne!

Houston Quilt Festival report…long post-part 1

feet-up
Finally. I’m back, unpacked, and working in the studio again. Waiting for my shipment from the George Brown Convention Center to arrive (more unpacking). The show was great. For so many reasons. First, there was a decent turnout. Maybe not as many as in recent years but still respectable/impressive numbers of quilters turned out for festival. It is a little hard for me to judge the numbers by looking into the isles as my booth was located on a corner on the main isle (widest isle in the show which connected the quilt exhibit area to the food pavilion). Quilts Inc. usually publishes the actual numbers on their website. I’m used to being on a smaller isle which can give the illusion of more people- no complaints about that!
I had the opportunity to introduce many many more quilters to my shibori ribbon as well as see some of the things customers from last year made with the ribbon. Thanks to those of you who took the time to come by and show me the wearables you created and images you took of the quilts created which included the ribbon.
The make & take went fine- thanks to Virginia who manned the booth in my absence. There were quite a few in the class and all completed their shibori ribbon flower pins and proudly wore them around the show. Thanks to all of you for that as countless people visited the booth curious about the ribbon, many purchasing a kit or two to make their own. Here’s a pic of several of the gals from the class-
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Now speaking of Virginia…..she was a lifesaver! Not only did she (and Duke-the standard poodle) pick me up and take me back to the airport, stand in for me at the booth on occasion, drive me all around Houston, make sure I arrived at the GBCC at 8 AM for my workshop, remind us to turn the clocks ahead, give us a lesson in cosmetology, bring us coffee, lunch and more, she wore this fantastic hat of her creation (one of many) which you can see here:
virginia-and-the-hat
We have plans for some shibori hats….can’t wait to dye up some silk for that!

DAY 1
Set up went smoothly, again, thanks to Virginia who carted me and my 5 large boxes (that were shipped in via DHL and arrived as scheduled at the hotel) to the GBCC in addition to my limit of two large suitcases. Mental note: add an additional $80 RT to my expenses for checking luggage. My small carry-on held my clothes and sundries for the entire week! I spent Wednesday setting up my booth and we were open for business at 5 pm for Preview Night. Although there was a pretty good crowd the sales were modest (as usual) as people wanted to get “the lay of the land” and see where they were going to spend their money over the next 4 days. Wise decision as there were certainly lots of ways to spend it! After this very long day we finally left the hall about 10:30 pm. I can’t even remember if we got anything to eat that night or not….
DAY 2
Up early to get into the hall and ready to open! Had the first Make & Take at 11 and then worked the booth all day until 7 PM. Here’s a photo of the booth I snapped at the end of preview night- the ribbon bins were looking a little shabby by then. Thank goodness I thought to bring my ball winder as I was continually re-rolling the ribbons throughout the show. Normally I would have had the ribbons in their clear boxes but in an effort to save space I eliminated the boxes. Will have to rethink that next time…
the-booth-festival-2008
I didn’t really get very many photos as I was just too darned busy all the time to do it! I’ll add some of these to my flickr page and add some notes over there…..
It was a real kick to meet so many people who came up and introduced themselves to me as flickr contacts and bloggers! Fun too, to watch people look at the shibori in person when all they have ever seen are the photos online. Even though the photos aren’t bad, it’s not the same as seeing and touching in person. I think that’s one reason I will always continue to do shows. I do like to get out of the studio and see the customer face to face. It drives me to create something FOR the customer. As a maker, if I want to stay in business, I MUST make things my customers want to buy and meeting them face to face is important for me. I learned a lot about what I will be making in the next six months by doing this show.
I really don’t like posting photos of myself, but here’s one taken by a passing quilter when she saw me snap the previous pic and insisted I needed one with me in it…
me-booth

Day one down and three to go….
We left the building around 8:00 PM and headed back across town to our hotel located in the Galleria area. Cheaper hotel located further from downtown but since we had cars it was no problem. Not to mention we had to drive by Central Market each night ………….
cm-tomatoes
…….where we stocked up on healthy food and snacks for lunches at the show and chose from an awesome expanse of gourmet salads, soups, and entrees at the deli section. (I bought some of those gorgeous tomatoes to snack on in the booth) If you ever get to Houston, a stop at the Central Market is a must. Here’s a few more pics-
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the breads and bakery goods will take your brath away!
cm-bread
I don’t think I have ever seen as much variety (not to mention volume) of cheeses in one place!
(of course-had to get a bottle of wine to go with!)
DAY 2 (Halloween)
Up early and Virginia drove me in to get to the GBCC early to set up for my workshop starting at 9AM.
I was a little anxious and excited at the same time. The class was sold out and I had already met several of the students who came by the booth the previous day to say hi and tell me they were in the class. After an introduction by Maggie Backman of the Silk Experience we got started on the class. Each class has a “teacher’s pet” who helps out by taking roll, passing out materials and anything else that is needed. She was a real godsend and darned if I can remember her name right now…but thank you thank you thank you!! She received a shibori presento that didn’t begin to convey my thanks.
We practiced various stitching on different kinds of silk fabrics which were then dyed using the Colorhue dyes. We worked with 8mm habotai, organza, broadcloth, 3mm gauze, & silk satin. Even though this was a stitch resisted workshop, we covered several other methods as quilters are interested in combining techniques. Here are some of the results- again no time for many photos- I took these as we were cleaning up…
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various stitched effects
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the organza was really interesting as it can be layered over another hand dye creating a very interesting effect.
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another organza sample
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loved the simplicity of this too..

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Everyone took away numerous samples of silk suitable for inclusion in one type of project or another as well as an enthusiasm for silk and the Colorhue dyes – not to mention shibori itself!

The students in each class fill out a critique survey at the end of the workshop and I was glad to see that everyone was satisfied and gave good marks on the presentation. Several were kind enough to leave additional comments on areas to improve on which were much appreciated and very helpful. Many of these students are professionals in one field or another and have taken numerous workshops related to textiles so your input was very valuable! Thank you!

At this point it was only 12 noon and there was still a whole day of selling ahead down on the show floor which seemed like it was about a mile away from where the classes took place so off I went to the show floor to sell my wares….
I can see that I will have to make this a two part post so stay tuned………
mata ne!