Atlanta Gift Market – Trends and Friends!

I just returned from the the Atlanta Gift Market, which is always a favorite trip of mine! There is always so much visually stimulating eye candy, swirls of color, and great times meeting up with friends.

The trends I saw this time in still bold colors, were bags. Bags, bags, bags, everywhere – tote bags and purses. The gift showrooms all had some kind of bag as well as jewelry and most likely some kind of clothing like a top or scarf. As far as motifs, the owl was still who-who-ing away.

ArtBizJam teachers

As artists, we have so much fun getting together and networking, and it’s vital to our business. (Who says you can’t have fun while working!) Since all of us teachers at ArtBizJam were at Market, Paula Joerling, who lives a couple of blocks from Market, had us all over (picture above – Anne Brown (Anne is the Director of Product Development of Studio M at Magnet Works), Lori Siebert, Paula and myself). We had a blast planning and talking about the ArtBizJam retreat that we are hosting in September. We also came up with lots of surprises for the retreat to make it even more fun and memorable.

ArtBizJam is an artist retreat being held in the coastal town of Destin, Florida, September 18-22, 2013. The focus will be on maximazing your business growth, creative time, as well as lots of fun, networking and great food. Please check out the ArtBizJam website to read all the details. Spaces are limited so please sign up soon if you plan to be a part of this “happening” so that you don’t miss out!

ArtBizJam Experience


The above image was created for us as a surprise by artist Robin Davis who is just as excited about ArtBizJam as we are and wanted to show all that you will experience at ArtBizJam! She captured it perfectly!

Have a color filled day!



Look Around and Observe the Patterns

Sometimes (or most of the time) we are so focused on what we are doing or thinking that we don’t look around us. By just stopping to observe our surroundings, there is so much pattern, detail and color that we normally don’t notice.

While in Atlanta for the Gift Market this month, I looked down the escalators in Building 1 and snapped a photo because it looked interesting from my viewpoint.

Escalators in Atlanta Gift Market Building 2

This photo was taken on the 14th floor. The 6th floor is at the bottom of the escalator shaft.  After attending Gift Market many times and going round and round and round on the escalators from 6th floor to 18th floor, I never noticed the pattern seen from looking down the center of the shaft.

Atlanta Gift Market floor Building 3

Walking in Building 3 of the Mart, I looked across the center  from around the 7th or 8th floor and saw this pattern formed by the elevator shaft and escalators.  I wish I had taken a picture looking down from a higher floor, but thought this looked very balanced.

View of Building 3 Atlanta Market

This is another view of the pattern formed by the open floors in Building 3 looking from the escalators. The curvature of the floors from this angle gives a different look and pattern.

Marriott Marquis Atlanta pattern of floors

After I took the pictures of the floor patterns in Market, I was in a mental mode of observing other patterns.  As I walked through the lobby of the Marriott Marquis on the way to the Hilton where I was staying, I looked up and saw this dynamic view of the floors and arrangement. It was really beautiful to see, especially since the floor vertical arrangement is not symmetrical. Previously being mentally focused on other things, it took several trips through the Marriott before I looked up and noticed it.

Atlanta Hilton Floor Repeat pattern

I noticed that the Hilton also has a pattern by looking up.  This is looking up from the 14th floor, but there were almost solid floors looking up and down so the view wasn’t as dramatic.  This view is interesting with the elevator shaft going up through the opening.  It looks like a higher view would have a better view pattern formed by open floors.

So, take a moment to look up, look down and all around you to really observe things you might be missing. Its so easy to be tunnel visioned in your thoughts or conversations.


Atlanta Gift Market was buzzing!

I just returned from a few days at the Atlanta Gift Market and was thrilled with how exciting, upbeat and busy market was. Market was really busy all 4 days that I was there and I consider it a good sign for the gift industry.

Its always fabulous to walk market and see all the new products (many of which are designed by my artist friends). And its always fun to meet up with these friends. I can’t take pictures of the product displayed throughout market but its fun to take pictures of friends.

Robin Davis and Phyllis Dobbs at Atlanta Gift Market

I went to several artist’s signings, where they were autographing some of their products. Robin Davis adorable new line Blessings with Wings is with Carson.

Lori Siebert and Phyllis Dobbs at Atlanta Gift Market

Lori Siebert was autographing her new products with Carson as well. I have to tell you that Lori was wearing the most fabulous and colorful boots (much like her art). I did try to take a picture of them but it turned out really blurry but take my word, they were great.

Bob and Greg Giordano at signing in Atlanta

The fabulous Giordano brothers, Greg on the left and Bob on the right were both autographing some of their many flags at the Custom Decor showroom. I’m doing a pretty wimpy job of holding the flag.

Artists meeting up in the License and Design at Atlanta Gift Market

My agent, Jewel Branding and Licensing, was exhibiting in the License and Design section that is held at the January markets. On Thursday, after the License and Design was set up, several of us met for an impromptu photo op – Robin Pickens, Brenda Pinnick, myself, Shelly Comiskey, Karen Embry and Sue Zipkin.

Artist meet up at the Westin at Atlanta Gift Market

And for a period to get together and talk a bit, there was an artists gathering at the Westin on Friday afternoon.  You may see several of your favorite artists here – Teri Conrad, Paula Joerling, Joyce Shelton, BJ Lantz, Gina Wilder, Jane Maday, Sharon Himes, Robin Davis, Beth Yarbrough, Beth Logan, Audrey Jeanne Roberts, Karen Embry, and on the front row, Cherish Flieder, Janet Wecker Frisch, Shelly Comiskey, myself, Sue Zipkin, and Robin Pickens. Getting us all together for this photo was like herding cats and several got away. (Thanks to Shelly for this photo as mine didn’t turn out!)

Large red and white football helment

As I was walking through Building 3 of the market, I saw this giant red and white helmet. I’m assuming it was due (or  I’m attributing it) to Alabama’s win of the BSC bowl last week. There was definitely a lot of Alabama items showing throughout the showrooms.

I’m back in full work mode, but will be leaving next week for Anaheim for the Craft and Hobby show (CHA). Check back as I can show lots of product from this show.


Atlanta Gift Market – New Products and A Cool Perspective!

Its been a whirlwind the past two weeks, attending two trade shows literally back to back.  Attending the Atlanta Gift Market is always a treat with so many new products and fabulous colors capturing my attention as well as meeting up with friends. The market was abuzz with buyers making their selections from the new products.  I saw a lot of retro, but it was an equal mix with contemporary and whimsy.  I thought the color turquoise was dominant throughout market, while a friend thought pink stood out. (Me – I’m still with turquoise!)

Speaking of new products, I found one of my products, Our Henhouse garden flag, debuting in Evergreen’s showroom. (The picture is a little grainy and the flag colors are way off due to the lighting, so I am showing another picture of the flag so you can see the correct colors.)

Our Henhouse Rooster Garden Flag designed by Phyllis Dobbs for Evergreen Enterprises

Rooster garden flag Evergreen Enterprises by Phyllis Dobbs

I met up with several artist friends one afternoon for drinks and talking.  By the time that our conversation toned down and we remembered to take a picture, several had already left.

Artists gathering at Atlanta Gift Market

Shown left to right are Karen Embry, Cherish Flielder, Sharon Himes, Jane Maday, myself, Brenda Pinnick and Stella Violano. Please visit their blogs to see their fabulous art and a possible sneak peak of new products featuring their art.

Strangely, although it was the middle of the summer, the weather turned cool during market with cool evening breezes.  Not so, with the next show, CHA (Craft and Hobby), which was in Chicago during the middle of a heat wave.  Please check back as I saw many fun products that I was allowed to take pictures of.

Stay cool!


Atlanta Gift Market – An inspiration for good things to come!

Starting a new year off is exciting but it always seems like the first of the year is very hectic, in part due to a partial slow down in work due to holidays combined with preparation for the January shows. I’ve been working hard on new art for my agent to present at the Atlanta Gift Market held last week. In addition, I finished a book proposal for a new Quilt book that has been accepted and is on my agenda to complete in the next few months. Also on schedule this year are new fabric collections – I can’t wait until I can show you these!

Getting to Atlanta this year was pretty much a nightmare for everyone due to the ice on the roads and airports closing and delaying flights.  I had to drive on very icy roads between Birmingham and Atlanta, and really scary roads in downtown Atlanta. But everyone made it in and the market was extremely busy with buyers – a great sign.

There were tons of artists signings during the show, including one by Mary Engelbreit. Here’s a picture of us with her signing one of her beautiful ornaments by Ne ‘Qwa Art. Mary’s fabrics are with Cranston Printworks (VIP, VIP Exclusive, Quilting Treasures)  the same fabric company that my fabrics are with. I’ve been working with her fabrics designing quilts for free project sheets for the company website. I will let you know when the project sheets are published to the site. (Thanks Amy for taking the picture!)

You know what they say about all work and no play!  A bunch of artists met up after the end of a long day to socialize and network. Shown on the front row (L to R) Debbie Cole, myself, Robin Davis, and Aaron Christensen. Back row – Terri Conrad, Jane Maday, Karen Embry, Beth Logan, Tammy Browning-Smith, Sue Zipkin, Chad Barrett, Beth Yarbrough, Paula Joeling, Robin Pickens (behind Aaron), Lynn, Brenda Pinnick and Suzanne Whitaker. A very delightful and dynamic group!

Thanks Jane Maday for loaning me the photo since I left my camera in the room (dumb move on my part!). Also to Sue Zipkin for sending me a photo.

I am now back in my studio working away and excited about lots of new things on the horizon.

Stay warm!


Hot’lanta – trip to the Atlanta Gift Market

It was a hot time in Atlanta as crowds arrived to attend the Atlanta Gift Market.  Mix in some humidity and it was sweltering, but it didn’t dampen our spirits while at the show.  I wish I knew how many miles I walked while there.  My poor feet wished I had not covered as much ground.

After days filled with meetings, it was fun to meet up with friends.  A highlight of my trip was a party held at the studio of Paula Joerling and Tom Haney.  Both Paula and Tom are so talented and have the most fabulous studio walking distance from market. Please check out their delightful blogs.

Tom is a master of creating kinetic sculpture art.  Here are 2 photos (which doesn’t do them justice since you can’t see the kinetic aspects.  Tom’s studio was filled with these wonderful pieces as well as tons of components.

Here’s a group photo of some of us in the studio – Elizabeth Tipton, Tom Haney, Robin Davis, Paula Joerling, Chad Barrett, me in front, Chad’s sister, and Janet Wecker Frisch.

While walking market, I saw one of the products that I designed, a garden flag for Evergreen Enterprises, Chick Power. More products will be out soon based on Chick Power.

Meanwhile, back to more gathering of friends.  A bunch of us met at the Westin to get together and basically talk and talk along with a few hugs. Pictured are Jane Maday, Terri Conrad, Martha Collins, Joyce Shelton, myself, Sue Zipkin and seated in front, BJ Lantz, and Carol Eldridge.

And, I was walking by the C.R. Gibson showroom while Jim Shore was there for a personal appearance and signing.

I have finally recouperated and am in the middle of getting work out.  Just in time to attend the CHA show in Chicago next week.  I’m looking forward to seeing several of you there!

Stay cool and out of the heat!

Christmas in January – with Mary Engelbreit

Its always fun to meet someone who you really admire.  At the Atlanta Gift Market last month, I had the good fortune to meet Mary Engelbreit in the showroom of Katherine’s Collections.  Mary was there for a personal appearance.  I have always been a fan of Mary’s as well as appreciate her as a trail-blazer for art licensing.

The past couple of months have been the most hectic of all.  Preparing for two major trade show events in January required hours and hours of work.  Attending the shows, Atlanta Gift Market and CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) were almost like vacations because while they were technically work, I could lay down my paint brush and ignore my computer for a few days.  Plus, its always such fun to meet up with friends.

The day before the CHA show in Anaheim, Brenda Pinnick and I went to Laguna Beach for some much deserved R&R.  We shopped and had a great lunch while watching the Laguna Beach surf (which was very high due to the recent rains).



Although the shows are over, work continues with work from the shows as well as the work that was still in progress before the shows.

And, I am happy to say that I just finished a new fabric collection and am really excited about it.

I hope you are all staying warm in all this cold and snowy weather.









Atlanta and the Atlanta Gift Market

I have been trying to catch up all week from a whirlwind trip to Atlanta for the Gift Market.  I always return home tired but inspired – tired from the constant walking because the market is so huge and inspired from meetings, visiting with friends and the excitement that just comes from market.

It was encouraging to see that the buyers there were buying, although more cautiously. A lot of the showrooms were really busy, especially for gifts over home decor items.  Also, lower price items were selling better than the really high price items.

I had some great meetings with discussions on new products using my art to debut at the January show.  Meanwhile I was thrilled to see some of my new products that I have been working on the past few months.   Most of the products were still in sample form, but here is one, a “Chick Power” garden flag for Evergreen that is available in 2 sizes.

I can’t wait to show you my other products but will have to wait until they are completely finished and in catalogs.

Is always fun to catch up with friends, plus make some new ones.  I had a fun evening with a dinner with several friends at Azio’s (one of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta). From left to right – yours truly – me, Joyce Shelton, Barbara Barnett, Brenda Pinnick, BJ Lantz, and Carol Eldridge.  I guess you can figure out what happens when 6 women get together – lot of talk and more talk, and most important – lots of laughing.

I wish you each a fabulous weekend.


CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) trade show with some of my favorite highlights.

I can’t believe it is already February.  January was an extremely busy month with me in overdrive preparing for and exhibiting in two License and Design shows.  The first was in Atlanta at the Gift Market where I had a combined booth with 5 other artists under the name of Atlanta Art Licensing. The second exhibit was in Anaheim at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) trade show where I shared a booth with my good friend, the talented Brenda Pinnick. At CHA, I also exhibited in the Designer Showcase which had a fantastic viewing by manufacturers, editors and publishers looking for new designs.   Now both shows are behind me but I have tons of following up to do and am excited with the contacts I made.

The good news from both shows, while the attendance was down, the mood was pretty upbeat.  While being cautious in buying, the buyers that were there were buying.  The vendors that I heard about were pleased with their sales. 

There was an abundance of new products at the shows so store shelves will have new items to entice you.  Colors remain bright to reflect optimism, with yellow (Mimosa) being the hot new color.  Think warmth and sunshine and to bright days ahead.

At CHA, Leatrice Eiseman, Director of the Pantone Color Institute gave a seminar on color trends that was outstanding.  For you color junkies, she has a blog that I recommend you put in your favorites.

Scrapblog sponsored a fun event that I attended.  There, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Drew Emborsky, The Crochet Dude and Steve Piacenza of the DIY Network’s Creative Juice.

Deborah Norvillewas the Keynote Speaker at CHA and gave one of the best and most inspirational talks that I’ve heard.  She has been a crafter her entire life and focused on knitting and sewing.  It was a delight to hear that she sewed all her bridemaids’ dresses as well as her on-air clothes when she started in television. 

Since I was exhibiting, I did not get a chance to get out of my booth much to walk the show and to check out  new products. And I missed several seminars I had planned to attend.  But I did get to catch up with a lot of friends, as well as meet face-to-face new twitter and facebook friends.

Now back to my desk and drawing table — which are piled high and a scary sight!


A weekend in Atlanta – good friends and good food mix well with a business trip!

I just returned from a terrific weekend as a house guest of my talented and gracious friend Brenda Pinnick.  I went to Atlanta for the gift market in addition to some brainstorming time with Brenda.  Brenda and her husband are wonderful hosts (and their kitties are just as gracious and friendly).

We attended the gift market, meeting up with artist friends Stella Violanto and Andy Mathis .  Andy exhibited at the market with his booth serving as our meeting point.  Unfortunately, he was located very close to the cash and carry section.  I’m afraid that we “cashed and carried” too much, but hey, I’m only human and who can pass up all the fun jewelry.

Brenda, Stella and I walked the market for trends and connections for our art licensing businesses.  We all went to dinner together at one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Atlanta, Azio, where we were able to catch up with our chatting since there was no “cash and carry” nearby to distract us.

Brenda and I stayed up late, trilled with the time to do some more talking and brainstorming, which was aided by a couple glasses of wine.  I also had a tour of Brenda’s studio, which was very organized and inspirational and filled with her gorgeous fine art paints (she is one very talented artist).

It was such a fun weekend and now its Monday, and back to earth and my own studio. 

My heart goes out to all of you in Texas and the gulf affected by Ike. 

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