Here are 8 reasons you might consider attending a scrapbooking show if you're a beader or jewelry-maker:
1. Nice Scrapbookers
Crafters are some of the nicest people I know and scrapbookers are no exception. Last year, a complete stranger gave me a coupon from the newspaper so I could attend the show at a discount price. This year, I watched one of the first customers give her free tote bag to the lady behind her who just missed out on the giveaway. Don't worry about fitting in. You're with other people who like to make stuff. These are your peeps even if they know more about adhesives and hole punchers than you'll ever learn in your lifetime.
2. New Techniques
With all the mixed media jewelry available today, I'm always on the lookout for new techniques. At this show, I experimented with eyelets. (See the flower on the "Live Well" card? It's attached to the card with a metal eyelet.) I might not immediately be able to apply all the techniques to my bead-and-jewelry world, but sometimes these new techniques will trigger other new ideas.
Make-n-take projects are something that the scrapbooking world does so much better than the bead and jewelry world. The idea is that you can sit down and make a quick project using new materials and techniques. Some projects are free, but others are a small fee, usually $1-2. It's great to be able to take a break and it really helps you appreciate some of the tools and products that you might otherwise just breeze by.
4. New Tools
In addition to new techniques, there are loads of unique tools at scrapbooking shows. A great example of a crossover tool is the Crop-a-Dile that Jess Italia Lincoln at Vintaj has used with some of her metal pieces, such as this metal photo project that used the tool to punch holes and set eyelets. (It was not the same tool I used for the card above.)
5. Tiny Boxes, Tins, Bags, Cards & Tags
If you're looking for creative ways to package your jewelry, a scrapbooking show is full of ideas. Last year, I found a bunch of cute tins and a tiny purse-shaped box. You'll also find lots of ideas for handmade cards or tags to include with any jewelry gifts you make.
6. Rubber Stamps
Rubber stamps are great for cards, but they're also a way to personalize your tags or packaging. I often use rubber stamps for the outside of my mailing envelopes to liven up otherwise dull packaging.
7. Pretty Papers
In addition to making cards, scrapbooking paper can make lovely backgrounds for jewelry photos. Look for lighter designs that won't detract from your jewelry.
8. No Competition
Since I was probably the only non-scrapbooker in attendance, I had a different take on the available materials. Often there was no competition for the items I was interested in. The ribbon pictured here is a great example. It's tough to find such narrow (1/8") ribbon for jewelry, but I found a whole basket that was being ignored by the crowds.
I had a similar experience at a booth selling little bags of buttons for $1.
The scrapbookers weren't interested, but I parked myself in front of
the button box for a good ten minutes and found quite a few unique buttons that
I could use in my projects.
There was also one popular booth selling jewelry at the show. For those of you who sell jewelry, when was the last time you were the only booth selling jewelry to a continuous stream of customers?
Have you ever attended a show that really wasn't up your alley, but found it helpful anyway? Maybe a writing conference for a difference genre or a craft show outside your normal area of expertise? Was it worthwhile? Did you learn anything?