Reported by Sara McKenzie
Annually, Heirloom produces on average 15 rubber stamp festivals, from east coast to west coast, and in-between. You can see the entire list of shows by clicking here. They are two-day, weekend affairs, with workshops, make ‘n takes and demonstrations throughout both days. Many of the shows also have fee classes on the Friday immediately preceding the show, and an evening session of make ‘n takes on Friday night. The price is right too: $6 in advance for a two day pass, or $8 at the door on Saturday, for a two day pass. Sunday only is $6. You simply cannot beat this admission price!!
At the West Springfield show, which is one of their largest, there were 43 exhibitors, and the attendance was expected to be over 22oo crafters!! I was there on Saturday, so the final attendance numbers were not yet known – but Sheila and Dave indicated that they always bring along more tickets than were used at past year’s show, and they had already sold them out and were into the extras.
Below: Darlene Domel, of Stampland, busily demonstrated her masterful
techniques of stamping, masking and stippling to create beautiful rubber art.
Most of the exhibitors at West Springfield return year after year, and not only to the Massachusetts show. Many also participate in shows across the country. The exhibitors in Springfield included nationally known brands such as Denami Design, Endless Creations, Marco’s Paper, and Stampland; smaller brands such as Stamp Zia (a favorite of mine!!), Impression Obsession, Invoke Arts, and Stampsmith. They also may include local stores, and even a booth for a direct marketing company such as Stampin’ Up! or Close-to-My-Heart. The exhibitors are listed in advance for each show; you can see the entire list of exhibitors at West Springfield here.
Below: a piece of lovely art representative of what can be created with Stampscapes stamps.
There is always a huge variety of merchandise for sale, as well. There are not only rubber stamps, but also embellishments galore, basic stamping supplies, tools, cardstock and decorative paper (of course!), brass stencils, embossing powder and glitter. And so on, and so on…. The majority of exhibitors have an extensive display of samples of artwork and are happy to allow crafters to take pictures for future inspiration. Below is an example of one, which inspired me to not only buy a few things, but to want to pull out all of my supplies as soon as I got home: it’s embossing using brass stencils and stencil paste.
Below is one of my favorite specialty shops: Vintage Charmings. The owner lives in France, and purchases all manner of vintage French ephemera and other ‘charming’ items for us to use in our crafting. And she makes a point of NOT purchasing anything in Paris, so the prices are very reasonable.
As I mentioned at the outset, Dave and Sheila Carlson of Heirloom Products very generously spent an hour with me on Saturday afternoon, sharing their experience in putting on these shows as well as LOTS of great stories! They are long-time friends with the owner, Pat Larson, and have been working with Heirloom for 7 years, producing the shows across the county. Sheila was originally a Stampin’ Up! addict, so rubber stamp festival management was a natural direction for her to go in. And Dave clearly loves people and loves to have a good time, so he is also a natural for this job.
In each city, they hire lots of local help: 2 people to help Heirloom, and another ~25 who are hired by individual vendors. These folks spend anywhere from a few hours to an entire day in exchange for modest wages and free admission to the show. When I asked what made an Heirloom show special, they thought for a moment and then said, unequivocally, that it is all about making people happy. And this certainly seems to be the case: between the exhibitors who return year after year, to the attendees who stop on their way out to share what it is they purchased, the Carlsons are achieving their goal!
wedding anniversary at the Rubber Stamp Festival on Saturday, June 5.
This year I was unable to get away for any of the fee classes offered on Friday. But I have been many times in past years, and have never been disappointed. In West Springfield, they have been 1-2 hours in duration each, with 6-8 total classes offered during the day, and sometimes into the evening. So you can really get your jollies crafting the entire weekend!
If you are within driving distance of any of the locales for an Heirloom show, you should go. You won’t be disappointed. And for readers of Craft Critique: a discount for the remaining shows in 2010!! Just contact the main Heirloom office at (541)-574-8000 (Pacific time) by JULY 31, 2010, tell them you are a Craft Critique reader, and you get a two-fer: two admission tickets for the price of one! Thanks, Heirloom!!