Report on the Houston Quilt Market -- Amazing!!! as well as a very exciting opportunity to promote "Needle Felting Magic" -- my book on machine needle felting.
I returned from the Houston Quilt Market inspired and with a new appreciation of all the effort that goes into producing such an event. My daughter, Jenni, and I arranged to meet at the Houston Airport baggage claim on Thursday, October 25, and if it hadn't been for the wonderful driver she hired to pick us up, we would never have found each other. My flight arrived a little under an hour before Jenni's and it took a really long time to get my luggage as three large planes had arrived at the same time. I wondered why I couldn't find her flight from Savannah on the monitor and thought it was just too early -- well, thank goodness the driver knew that I was in a different building all together! We didn't know what to expect at the Market, only that I was to do a Schoolhouse Presentation on Friday, demonstrations at the Martingale booth on Saturday morning/afternoon and again at the Checker's booth (their largest distributor) the next day.
First, there are Greyhound buses that run between the hotels and the convention center every 15 minutes which makes it very convenienct to go back and forth as well as meet other attendees from all over the world. For those who not are familiar with this event, the first week is the "Market" and is only for buyers, shop owners, the trade (fabric lines, embellishments such as buttons, buckles, patterns and other enhancements) as well as publishers and authors (and now that includes me!) and the second week is the Festival which is open to the public. We were only there for the Market. On Friday we had to go pick up our name tags at the Exhibition booth and then on to the Martingale booth for the tag holders -- mine came complete with an official "Author" pin !!! Although my book is an introductory book, that is what the publisher wanted -- it is meant to show just how easy and how much fun it is to create projects that look difficult. That afternoon we sat in on another quilt designer's presentation just to understand how it all works. Well, it works like clockwork! When it is your turn, you begin and end on time -- I had all of 15 minutes to convince store owners and buyers why they needed my book, what materials they could sell and the importance of displaying fabulous samples and offering classes. My helpers were some marketing gals from Martingale (they are the best!) and my sweet cheerleader daughter Jennifer who is such an inspiration as well as help to me. The room held 100 people and my session was standing room only -- I was pleasantly surprised to find my local quilt shop owner Jackie, from Patches in Mount Airy, in the audience! Imagine!!! Also sitting in the front row, was Sheila Rauen, from Tennessee, who is a fabulous artists, designer, author (and soulmate) -- I didn't know it at the time but after she came to one of my demos, we ended up spending a lot of time together (lunch AND dinner to be exact) as we just "clicked" !!! Now I have a fabulous new very, very talented friend. We are keeping our fingers crossed that not only Jennifer but that Andrea my other dear helpmate and first born ;-) will join in on the fun for 2008! Just how that fun will evolve, is yet to be determined !!!