Monday, March 18, 2013

Trends and Thoughts at the NY International Gift Show

This will be my final entry (about time, right?) about my shopping experience at the show.
As I wrap up my  walk through the "Handmade" section, I must say I am on sensory overload

But here are my impressions of what I noticed:  Clothing in beautifully dyed cottons; embroidered,
bedazzled...The fabulous and unexpected pairings of color and patterns....beaded,fringed, trimmed....

I am in love with this "bohemian" look! ( Uh-Oh, my "inner hippie" is starting to show!) Handbags, Hats and other accessories are  abundant here.  So much fun!

Moving on to the rest of the show- seems like miles and miles of booths, all with gorgeous displays of everything gift-related; including tableware, linens, decorative accessories, books, games, jewelry and art.

I saw silk flowers that look so real you have to touch them before you realize you've been fooled.
I especially love the "calla lilies"  (latex, I think).  A dozen or so thick, long stems with blooms in creamy white, deepening in the center to a pale green.

So elegant, so simple arranged in a glass bowl.
I never get tired of this look.

The section  with all the paper goods is chock full of amazing patterns and colors.  Greeting cards, gift wrap, bags, ribbons and tags are adorned with seasonal themes.  Spring and summer are featured, along with Fall and Christmas offerings.  It's really cool to see licensed art on some of these products by artists I am familiar with.

Here's where my personal interest as an artist/designer comes in:  It is my goal to do the same with my designs.  In fact, I have been putting together "collections" for the past few months, with the hope of getting the attention of manufacturers.  Just think, we see ART on everything from paper plates and napkins to fabrics and wall paper.  (and scrapbook paper, cards, gift wrap, vases, wall decor, the list is endless!)

Here are examples of art on products by Kelly Rae Roberts and Tara Reed.

Here are three (3) of my designs (chosen at random to give you a "sneak-peek") 

These discoveries are fun and inspiring, but the main reason I attend this show every year is to see new trends and to find good sources for my Interior Decorating Business.  (Designs by Meller).
You might be surprised to see how trends in style or color carry through from personal products and accessories, paper goods, wall art and lighting.

 What did I learn?  The classics are still strong, and the trend toward brighter, fresher colors (orange is big), along with earthy and organic colors prevails.  Grunge, Graffiti, Collage and more "simplistic" art continue to fascinate me, and are obviously very popular.  Vintage and Retro are still a strong presence.  

I was pleased to see more small or "Indie" companies, with the owner/designer present at their display. (As opposed to a team of "sales reps").

 I think the artist, even me, has a chance to be part of the gift market,  which is very exciting!

The plan is to show you more of my designs over the next few weeks, and, I promise, more photos, less rambling.

Until then, may you have a creative and fun week.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Continuing with my "Adventures" at the NY Intl. Gift Fair

I am now settled in at the "Preferred Buyers" Lounge, where I can hang up my coat, grab a cup of tea, and munch on my croissant.  (Almond this morning, Chocolate for tomorrow's treat).

And now it's time to browse the seemingly endless aisles, brimming with beautiful displays of almost
every type of product that you can imagine that relates to the retail gift industry.

I begin in  the "Handmade in America" section (of course!), and I am totally inspired!  It would take many, many pages of writing to give you lots of descriptive details, but here are couple of highlights:

Cute little "onesies", bibs, etc. with the funniest captions on them!  They are the creations of
Sara Kety. and I just LOVE her sense of humor  For example:

"Stop Texting and Change Me!"

"I am Cranky.  Is there anNapp for that?"

I would love to show you pictures of this adorable line, but they were not available to me.
I will provide the link, however, so you can see them for yourself.  I understand that they
are sold at Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.  Here is the link to her website:

Another favorite designer/owner, Susan Kolowich, has a a product line called "French Graffiti."
I guess I am especially drawn to beautifully designed products that make me smile (or totally
crack up!), because Susan's linen towels, wine totes, paper napkins and more have very cool designs that have "graffiti-style" captions and a very vintage look.
                                                           This caption "They read about the perils of they gave up reading" is an example of the sensibilities and creative savvy of this designer. My photos are not great, but I encourage you to go to her website and see the entire collection.

Next I am "wowed" by Diana Indgjerd ("Dee").  Her company, 
"In Small Packages" is aptly named; she creates tiny little bits of vintage art on mah-jong or "Scrabble" tiles!  It's jewelry, of course....miniature art vignettes- birds, text, etc, finished with a resin coating.  Sweet!

Then I spot "Art Bird".  It's tag line, "Outerwear for Your Internet" says it all.
I especially liked the I Pad cover that says "Once upon a time there were books," featuring a charming mermaid.

Guess you've noticed a trend in picking my favorites; Vintage and Graffiti always
beckon me to look a little closer at the unique and original offerings.  And if it is humorous, even better.  The CEO of this company, Roy Fox, calls himself "Chairman of the Bird",  Too funny!

Then there's "Cookie and the Dude" (Owner/Designer is Helen Fawcett)  She creates turbans, headbands, tissue holders, earrings and more using bright, perky fabrics.  Really cute stuff!

I had the opportunity to meet a great jewelry artist, Randall Johnson.  His collection is called
"Je Suis Fraiche", and his style is, well, vintage and antique. (surprise, right?) You will also see a "jazz-art-deco" influence, as well as "tribal african" in his work.
He uses vintage components, antiqued brass, european beads, natural fibers and cameos to create amazing, one-of-a-kind bracelets and pendants.
At the time of this show Randall did not yet have a website, but he wants to make a blog (which I encouraged him to do).  I found some of his work on Amazon.
I hope that he can take some time as he creates his beautiful jewelry  (his studio is tucked away in the Catskill Mountains in New York state) to execute more of an on-line presence.

IN MY NEXT POST, I will share with you TRENDS I noticed,and how attending this show relates to my own art/design goals.  In the meantime,  I hope you will check out these "Made in the USA" artists/entrepreneurs.