So I met the famous American fabric designer, Amy Butler, here in Germany! How did that happen? Well, let me tell you:
Allison contacted me to see if I was interested in attending the Internationale Handarbeit & Hobby Fachmesse in Köln (the International Craft and Hobby Trade Show in Cologne) last Friday. We last met up when my husband and I stayed at her place last summer, so we were due for another little adventure and this peek into the more industrial side of German crafting promised to be interesting (and it was!).
A word on the photos: indoor photos with fluorescent lights -and about a million other little lights in the booths- made taking decent pictures impossible, so bear with me here! Also, Photoshop was making me cross-eyed this time, so some of the text in the collages is pixelated, which probably bothers me more than you, but oh well.
We had a total blast and it was really fun to have a girl's day outing together. Allison has a shop, Stillwater Designs, where she sells her lovely jewelry and handbag creations, but her specialty is imported American designer fabric from the likes of Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, Kate Spain, etc. This was a business trip for her, so our time at the Messe was sprinkled with buyer meetings with sales reps and so on. I think she was worried I would be bored, but it was SO interesting to see this aspect of running a shop! I loved tagging along! Below you can see some of the booths and a shot of Allison contemplating which fabric to purchase. I loved getting some sneak peeks of to-be-created and to-be-delivered fabric lines from certain designers! SO COOL!
I liked this little ribbon booth; I wish I could remember the company name! (UPDATE: they are from Baenderei Kafka) There was ribbon for sale, but not a lot. There easily could have been a greater selection of ribbon at this fair, ah well.
Tilda) on German crafting blogs than I do on American ones...or? It's either really pastel or really colorful (auf Deutsch = Bunt) in a red/blue sort of way. In general, American fabric seems to embrace a much greater variety of colors and motifs, but below you'll see some of the pastel German displays I spotted. And yes, I think the octopus is cool...except for it's angry eyes! Why must it have angry eyes?? (Was ist los mit dem bösen Augen?!)
Kokka's Japanese fabric booth was incredible! I love Japanese fabrics and it was so fun to see things from the Enchino collection and many others. Their fabric is definitely oriented towards a bold, modern and more colorful feel.
Coats booth where they had a huge section featuring Rowan/Westminster Fabrics including Kaffe Fassett and a huge Amy Butler selection....and Amy Butler herself! See how colorful and diverse these American fabrics are? American fabric designers really do have their own flavor and it's so fun to see how the different countries have their own sort of style. I love how Amy Butler's oilcloth (Waschtuch) collection was featured with several darling bags and raincoats on the mannequins! How fun would it be to have one of those raincoats??
gumdrop pillows/poufs and quilts were also spectacular, but the real treat was getting to meet Amy herself. I've often read that she's really friendly, but we were so impressed to see just how humble, sincere, and down-to-earth she really was!
We talked about tons of things, from tips on sewing with patterns (Schnittmuster), how your business and creativity can and should evolve over time, what her favorite collection is (it's always the one she's working on), and then I was begging her to create a line of ribbon.... =) She's thinking about it. =) We also heard about new fabric materials that she'll be working with in the coming months, so Amy Butler voile, corduroy, and other treats are in the works!
I could go on and on about our pleasant and interesting conversations with Amy, but honestly, I had a truly fabulous time hanging out with Allison! It was so fun to spend time with another American with whom I have so much in common. It was so fun to geek out over fabric and laugh over some crazy displays. We both thoroughly enjoyed dinner out at a Mexican restaurant by the Messe train station ...good Mexican food is nearly impossible to find in Germany, just like finding good Italian ice cream is nearly impossible in the US!
What about you? Anything catch your eye from the trade show? Are there certain crafting trends you notice where you live?
PS- to see more pictures from the show, check out Allison's post!