The CHA Designer Section Trends Committee Report


By Linda Swingle
CHA Trends Committee Lead

The CHA Designer Section Trends Report provides a close-up and intricate perspective of current trends in arts and crafts.

Trends Committee members are professional designers with extensive experience and ties to manufacturers. Through CHA’s global network, our members provide vital information regarding the overall direction of the industry. Additional resources used to compile the Trends Report include multiple social media platforms, digital publications, printed publications, and good old-fashion reporting techniques, like interviews with select companies, industry associates and leaders.

Our dedicated columnists submit bi-annual reports featuring what’s trending now as well as creative ingenuity that is coming down the pike. As trends develop, the landscape of the craft industry develops with them. Artistic license drives sales. In turn, manufacturers develop supplies tailored to trends while keeping traditional supplies available. It is an interesting perspective, as I do not believe one can exist entirely without the other. Viva! The evolution of creative trends is born!

As craft and art techniques continually intersect, rules no longer pertain to the creative process. Mixing various materials with unique or accepted techniques paves the road to new trends. This is especially true as professional crafters and artisans express ideas to various publications and posting through social media.

Our 2015 Designer Section Trends Report covers the following categories:

General Crafts

Mixed Media

Children’s Crafts

Needle Arts

Home Décor

Paper Crafts

Jewelry Arts

Wearable Arts

By providing avenues of interest through various product categories, our Committee will expand its research and findings for future CHA Designer Section Trends Committee Reports. Anticipated growth will enhance our studies while providing opportunity for members to expand and grow their businesses through professional association and recognition.

The success of the Designer Section Trends Report is due to contributions by our volunteers. The level of appreciation and respect for our Committee members is beyond words. It is a win-win creative situation as we grow and develop skills on a personal and professional level!

For more information, or to join our committee, please refer to postings in the August CHA Member News, through our CHA Designer Section Facebook group or message Linda Swingle on Facebook.  

“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet John Petersen of IMAGINE CRAFTS!


jpetersenWe are getting to know some of our Paper Arts+ workshop teachers in this “Meet the Teachers” blog post series. Through the series, you will learn about their art and inspiration, the value in attending their workshops, and what you can expect to learn. This week we’re featuring John Petersen of IMAGINE CRAFTS!

The DIY with IMAGINE Crafts workshop will have projects that can be used as quick make-n-takes or classes in your store. The versatility of these projects will allow you to incorporate them into paper and mixed media projects, as well as stand-alone pieces for home decor and more.

Tell us a little about yourself.
As a child, I had obsessions with paper and everything that could be done with it: lettering, painting, collaging, and even bookmaking. My degree is in photography, yet my passion for paper arts led me to a variety of different fields, including printing and design. In high school, I began to make journals from old books in which I kept sketches, ideas, and clippings of my day to day adventures. Naturally, that led me to the altered arts (and three shelves of books!).

Along the way I picked up a few more obsessions, including calligraphy, beading and rubber stamping. All of these creative endeavors are evident in my current fusion of mixed media works, which combine paper arts with jewelry.

Currently, I lead the education and product development teams for IMAGINE Crafts, featuring Tsukineko. I am also on the design team for Authentique Paper, “The ICE Prince” with the ICE Resin creative team, and an educator for Prima Marketing.

What do you love most about the creative industry?
I am continually amazed at what other artists create, and how they share those ideas with others to help the industry evolve. The possibilities of this industry are endless, just like the artists who can grow and support the community.

What do you love most about teaching workshops? 
My teaching philosophy has been the same over the years – I am here to give you the tools to be creative. My role as an instructor is to educate on how to use those tools to let your creative voice speak and express itself. My only goal in teaching is for students to leave a class with the knowledge to grow as an artist.

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the Paper Arts+ Show? 
There is no other experience like attending a live class. No matter what your skill level, as a student you will always leave a class having learned a new technique or another way of using a product. Even if I have taken numerous beginner classes in the past, I still sign up because I know that it is usually in those classes that I will learn the one tip that’s priceless.

What are the top takeaways that attendees will learn by taking your workshop? 

1. At least one new way of how to use a product that they’re already familiar with
2. How to translate product knowledge into building a sale
3. Passion for being creative

When you’re not teaching, what can we find you doing?
I’m naturally curious about learning, whether it’s in my studio discovering new
techniques or experimenting with some crazy new recipe that I found on Pinterest. In the sunny months, you’ll likely find me outside either doing yard work or enjoying the view of Mount Rainier from my deck, dreaming up my newest creation!

The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is open! Register for imaginethe DIY with IMAGINE Crafts workshop today!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will feature Bonnie Krebs and Kate Swanson of
Art Impressions!

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 1


We “hop” you got plenty of rest over the weekend because it’s time to win some prizes!

That’s right; nobody has a “case of the Mondays” this week because today we’re kicking off the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop.

All week we’ll be featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with.

There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration opens this Wednesday, May 20.

Now that we’ve gotten the formalities out of the way, let’s get started!

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to read how CHA Designer Michele Emerson Roberts used product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Graphic 45.

Second Stop:
How did CHA Designer Keri Sallee use product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Art Impressions? CLICK HERE to find out!

The fun continue tomorrow with:

CHA Designer: Carmen Flores Tanis 
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Pink and Main

CHA Designer:  Susan M. Brown
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Little B LLC

CHA Designer: Rita Barakat 
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Bo Bunny

For the full schedule, click here.

This Thursday “Hangout” with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

CHA DS Media Committee Hangout square 300 by Carol Heppner

Sharpen your social media skills as you

“Hangout” with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

The Media Committee of the CHA Designer Section invites you to a very special Google Hangout, this Thursday, January 22 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM ET with guests Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

Join hosts Nancy Keslin, Marjolaine Walker and Carol Heppner as they discuss the new book “The Art of Social Media – Power Tips for Power Users” with authors Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

Whether you are a designer or other member of the craft industry, social media is an important factor for determining your success or failure. Guy and Peg are top social media professionals. Their new book provides clear and expert advice in using the different social media platforms.

Guy Kawasaki is a former chief evangelist for Apple and presently holds that job title at Canva. Guy is one of the pioneers of business social-media. He is author of over a dozen books and empowers companies with his writing, speaking engagements and advice.

Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist who works with Guy. She is also the director of digital marketing for Kreussler Inc. Peg is editor-in-chief of “12 Most” which is a dynamic community of influential, globally-renowned writers & business experts publishing amazing content. She is also founder of the popular Twitter chat #MyBookClub which featured the brightest authors on social media.

Join us for an hour of great conversation this Thursday as we “Hangout” with Guy and Peg.

Hire CHA Designers for New Product Development and More!

The Craft & Hobby Association’s (CHA) Designer Section is a particularly busy group. Their tag line is “creativity is our business™” and it shows. CHA Designer Members are experts in their own craft mediums and experienced professionals in all aspects of marketing. The CHA Designer Section has created a directory that provides information about the Designer Section to help the industry search for professional creative services offered by our Designer Section Members. The directory includes graphic listings from over 70 current CHA designers that profile their work, and index of over 250 designers listed by company and geographical location which will assist manufacturers, suppliers and industry professionals seeking qualified designers to create, educate and promote their products.

Among other things, CHA Designers help promote new products, design or create new products and bring new products to market. The following Designers have found recent success developing products for industry manufactures.

Eileen Hull

01 ColorBlends Collection of colors

Last January at the CHA MEGA Show in Anaheim, a new product called ColorBox Blends™ was released which CHA Designer, Eileen Hull launched with Clearsnap. Prior to Christmas, Eileen was purchasing stocking stuffers for her kids when she noticed shoe polishers 3/$1. She purchased the shoe polishers for her kids in the military and couldn’t help but notice their unique design – they had a barrel and sponge attached at the other end to apply the polish with. She instantly knew it would make a great ink applicator!

She wrote a proposal and presented it to Clearsnap at the CHA 2013 MEGA Show. After some research and discussion, a contract was signed and at CHA in January, 2014, ColorBox Blends™ were launched!

ColorBox Blends are the ink pad, applicator and reinker all in one! The easy to use ColorBox Blends™ are available in ten unique colors of Crafter’s Ink and can be used on multiple surfaces including fabric, wood, paper, and matboard. They are permanent when heatset and are great for distressing edges, inking stencils, building backgrounds, using with embossing folders for a letterpress effect and using with stamps. Best of all there is no messing with an applicator or ink pad lid, the applicator is all you need keeping your hands clean!

Check out a sample project here and visit Eileen’s blog for more ideas on how to use this versatile new product.

Nathalie Kalbach

Recently, CHA Designer Member, Nathalie Kalbach launced a new line of stamps for Stampendous!® designed to create the look of textural backgrounds on a flat surface. Nathalie has always loved to use stamps in her Mixed Media and Scrapbooking projects in untraditional ways to create texture and layers.  Early on she dreamed of a line of stamps that could do exactly that but not take away from the focal point of her projects.

004 Wired Stamp Set Nat K

003 Grunge Stamp Set Nat K








Unfortunately the first company that Nathalie worked with went out of business and her designs never made it to market. Lucky enough, she discovered Stampendous!® and developed a good business relationship with them.  After some discussions about stamp designs and a number of business meetings, a contract was signed. Nathalie’s first three n*Studio Stamps for Stampendous!® were launched during the CHA 2014 MEGA Show.

The Cling Rubber Stamp sets include three stamps and a reusable stencil template. You can use them with ink and acrylic paint, they are very durable and perfect to use in art journals, cards, on scrapbooking layouts, for print making, on canvases or with any Mixed Media project. You can find some samples linked here or visit Nathalie’s blog for more inspiration.

Download the CHA Designer Section Directory today and use it as a resource all year long.

 cha designer logo

The Christmas Love Campaign

By The CHA Designer Section Committee 
cha designer logo

‘Creativity is our Business’ is the slogan of The CHA Designer Section.  CHA Designer Members are the connecting piece between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts providing professional services that markets, educates and inspires consumers.  The CHA Designer Members are a group of giving and caring individuals as well.  One of the many crusades and campaigns that Designer Members lead is Susan Weckesser’s yearly endeavour of the Christmas Love Campaign.

Susan tells us about why she created the campaign six years ago:   Susan Weck

“My father had recently passed away and I wanted to do something meaningful in his memory.  Two of the most important memories of my father was the message to follow my dreams and that he was always helping other people.  I approached Canadian Scrapbooker magazine and pitched an idea that became a theme for an article and grew to become so much more.  In the article the call went out to all crafters, scrapbookers, artists, quilters, with the message of ‘create for kindness.”

Susan believes in the power of CHA’s Designer Members working together for the better of the community and drew upon their skills for a media campaign as an effective link to many of the manufacturers in the craft and hobby industry. When Susan Weckesser called upon the ‘wider’ crafting community to come together to make a difference, she received support from manufacturers to designers and creative professionals of all skill levels and positions in the craft and hobby community.

While it seems as though Christmas is many months away, for creative souls it is never too early to begin.  Susan explained that the concept for anyone to join in the campaign is simple.  All you have to do is to create something – anything – then give it to a random stranger or neighbor, just to spread some love.  Susan said, “After six years I am SO thrilled to say that the campaign has been amazing; a real success!  It is worldwide and through the campaign we have raised donations for the Cancer Society, helped Alberta flood victims, and sent packages of art & craft supplies to people rebuilding their lives.

We have had many wonderful designers contribute to the blog and Christmas Love Campaign  Claudine Hellmuth, Mark Montano, Kelly Marie Alvarez and many more amazing artists.  Please feel free to add a hot link in the comments section to share your own Christmas Love projects.

Christmas Love has been blessed with sponsorship from many of the manufacturers.
Ranger Ink provided inks and aprons to campaign participants and Westcott Brand sent supplies to a lady who needed help after the Alberta Floods.  The past year sponsor lineup included: American Crafts, May Arts Ribbon,  Fancy Pants Designs, Interweave, FW Media, , Clearsnap, Core’dinations, Canvas Corp., Lawn Fawn, Scrapbooks andCards Today, Big Picture ClassesProject Life – Becky Higgins and Unity Stamp Co just to name a few.

Social Media is a huge part of the Christmas Love Campaign, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Cameo and instagram are wonderful ways to connect with people, share things going on with the campaign or how individuals have joined in.

Our hashtags for the Christmas Love Campaign are:

#craftuplove    #tagsoflove    #christmaslovecampaign

The Susan K. Weckesser Inc. Christmas Love Campaign runs every year from November to January. Sponsors and designers are always welcome to sign up to be part of the program, please send an email to: Remember sometimes all it takes is one kind gesture to make the difference in someone’s life! “

We asked some of the designers who participated to share with us a little about their contributions. Please feel free to add more links in the comments section on this post of your own contributions.

kenKen Oliver: I was really happy when Susan asked me to contribute to the Christmas Love Campaign. After learning that she’d lost her father to cancer, I wanted to help her memorialize her dad, and wanted to share our holiday tradition of handmade gifts.I created hand soldered ornaments using photos and images of my grandparents and then gave them to my parents and brothers as Christmas gifts. 


AmyAmy Anderson: I joined in the campaign because I really love Susan.  She has such an awesome spirit and always spreads the love!  I thought her series idea was brilliant, especially during that time of year.

I participated by sharing some things I was thankful for in addition to some of my favorite Mod Podge Christmas ornament projects. I had a great time writing that blog post because it’s not typically what I write.  A little variety is fun!

behappyMargot Potter: I joined the Christmas Love Campaign because I truly believe that small kindnesses have big impact.

Susan asked us to contribute something creative that reflected the message of Simple Acts of Creative Kindness, so I wrote a short essay on the rapid disappearance of common courtesy in our technological age and the importance of moving out of ourselves enough to be kind to others.

The CHA Designer Members are the bond between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts, professional crafters and artists, and creative DIYers of many levels.  CHA Designer Section members provide professional services in a range of marketing fields, social media, developing tutorials and editorials that support delivering product knowledge and inspiration to create.  or ‘Creativity is our Business’.

To connect with CHA Designer Section Committee Members click here.

CHA Designers Team Up to Produce Free Digital Craft Industry Magazine

By Carol Heppner,

We rarely discuss one of the great advantages of being a CHA member and the wonderful relationships that form when attending the trade shows.   If you volunteer and support our organization, relationships deepen and initiate opportunities.

Such is the case with Ann Butler and me.  Ann and I were on Google + catching up on some CHA Designer-Section business when our discussion turned to our individual companies.   As craft-design business owners, we are constantly working with manufacturers and seeking to have the manufacturers’ products published.

During this conversation, Ann uttered those fateful words, “I wish we could develop our own publication.”   I looked at Ann and said, “We can.”   After a minute of thinking about it, Ann responded with, “But it has to be free to the reader.”   It was during these first few minutes that Bella Crafts Quarterly was born and our business model started to develop.


We knew that we wanted to bring quality projects and topical craft-industry columns to readers who craft for business and for pleasure.   We wanted to inspire readers to craft, which would help the entire craft industry.   To that end, and in keeping with our belief, the first project in all our quarterly issues is always a project showing readers that they can reconnect with crafting by making the project within minutes.

Creating a quarterly publication, while still running our individual companies, would be no easy feat and we would need help.  An undertaking this size needed individuals who are hard working, talented and craft-industry savvy.   Having worked with Lisa Rojas and Theresa Cifali on previous projects, they immediately came to mind as fitting the bill.

Although the four of us have our individual companies, we joined forces to work on this project.  Each designer brings unique skills that allow us to produce a bella-creative-teamquality publication to inspire crafters of all levels.  What is uniquely special is how well we work together.   In a competitive business world, where companies are looking to be one-step in front of their competition, it is rare that companies can come together and create a joint product.  Our ability to work well together may come from the many volunteer projects on which we worked for the CHA Designer Section.  Volunteering to help make CHA a better organization helps develop business relationships that are rewarding.

So, what is Bella Crafts Quarterly™?  It is the #1, free downloadable craft magazine published by four of the craft-industry’s top professional craft designers.  We create quality projects and are the bridge between manufacturers and the crafting public.  Our preview Halloween issue of Bella Crafts Quarterly™ ranked #8 on Magcloud’s Top 15 Popular Magazine

What will you find in Bella Crafts Quarterly™?

  • Artist to Artist – Interviews with our industry’s creative professionals
  • Blog Star – Creative bloggers share their experiences
  • Craft Projects – Craft projects designed to inspire
  • – A quick craft project to help crafters reconnect with crafting
  • Photo Talk™ – Taking your photographs to the next level
  • Lessons with Lisa™ – Crafting advice to make a difference in the crafter’s life
  • Live Links – Our digital versions contain live links to send readers to products used in projects
  • Socially Sensible™ – Social Media advice to help your business
  • Sponsored Craft Projects – Craft projects brought to you by the industry’s manufacturers
  • Trending Thoughts – Trend and topical advice from CHA professional craft designers

winter-journey-cover-smallBella Crafts Quarterly™ is can be downloaded free on our website, and you can read it free online at  The print version is also available through Magcloud for a fee.

We are able to provide the free digital version of Bella Crafts Quarterly™ to readers by project sponsorship from manufacturers.  If you are Manufacturer and like more information, contact us at

Wishing you very successful CHA 2013 Winter Show.

~ Carol

Become an official CHA Blog Guest Blogger!

The CHA Blog is currently seeking guest bloggers and blog posts. Any CHA member can submit a post! Basically, a blog post consists of either a video or photo of an event or experience and a short blurb. We want you to tell your story: what current trends do we need to know about? What is the one thing you look forward to the most at CHA shows? What crafty community service project are you involved with? If you’re interested, please submit your post idea, blog post, name and contact information to

All guest blog posts are the sole responsibility of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), its staff members, sponsors or exhibitors. The inclusion of a link or reference does not imply the endorsement of the linked site by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA).